1X vs 2X Gravel Bike: Is The Difference That Important?

One essential aspect of gravel bikes is the drivetrain system. Learn more about which you should use if you ride on smooth or bumpy roads.
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Last updatedLast updated: September 14, 2022
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Whether you already have a gravel bike or you are new to the system, every gravel bike rider has had to decide between 1X vs. 2X gravel bike. Also known as single or double chainring (or one/two ring bikes), drive chains are highly important components of gravel bike riding.

Choosing between both drive trains comes down to a lot of factors, including where you ride, how you ride, what kind of gravel bike you ride, and what you encounter most when you ride. Those that live in the city where you always have to hit the brakes at every turn would use a different drive chain from those that ride their bikes on smooth gravel roads where you maintain cruise speeds mile after mile.

So, if you plan on taking your riding to the next level, what to buy a new bike the right way, or you are just interested in learning about bikes, then you have clicked the right article. Ready to learn about 1X and 2X drive chains? Keep reading.

What is a drivetrain?

The drivetrain is a pretty common term used by professional bikers or at least those that know about bike parts and components. And yes, the drivetrain is an important part of bikes because it is the combination of core elements that makes a bike move.

It is the system or the collection of many bike parts consisting of individual bike parts like derailleur, cogs, chain, chainrings, cranks, and pedals. These components are what you need to push and pull the bike during cycling. It is the system behind pedaling up a hill/cliff or descending a steep trail.

Drivetrain became a crucial consideration for gravel bikes when gravel cycling became a popular segment Trusted Source Bikepacking and gravel bikes: new concepts in off-road cycling, or marketing fad? | Cycling | The Guardian A four-day loop around the King Alfred’s Way gave ample time to test the claims of faster speeds and greater off-road ease. www.theguardian.com on both smooth roads and bumpy, steep, rocky trails. While one type is better for those that ride on smooth roads and need to easily switch between gears, the other is better for those that need bigger gear jumps and a wide gear range to climb hills and cliffs easily.

Though other things dictate how easy it is to ride the bike on these roads, a 1X or 2X drivetrain or chainring switches your bike from a regular gravel bike to a mountain bike just like that. So what drivetrain should you go for if you ride on bumpy roads, and which is best for riding on smooth roads? Below are some highlights of which drivetrain is best for different scenarios. Check them out to see if you need a 1X gravel bike or 2X.

Reasons to choose 1X

1X vs 2X Gravel Bike: Is The Difference That Important?

1X gravel bike has a single front chainring, and it is often called a one-by drivetrain.

It is also the drivetrain that is designed for mountain riding. So if your kind of bike is similar to the Royce Union RMT mountain bike, you need a 1X gravel bike. But here are five (5) other things that point out that a 1X gravel bike is the better choice for you.

  1. You are a mountain bike rider: If you plan on riding on rough terrains or you already spend most time riding on chunky and bumpy roads, then this is the best choice for you.
  2. You want a light-weight bike: Cutting down on weight might not always be a good option, but if you need to climb more – you’ll need your bike to have a lighter feel.
  3. You want a less-complicated bike: Similar to having a lighter bike, 1X is best for those that want simplicity on their bikes. Many women also prefer this drivetrain so that fewer bike parts need adjustments.
  4. You want a bike that’s easier to clean and maintain: If you ride your bike on muddy roads or dirt trails, having a single chainring can make cleaning easier. Also, again maintaining the bike is easier and cheaper because you have fewer bike parts to worry about.
  5. You are new to riding: New riders do not need complex bikes. A bike that is easy to understand and operate is better for them. That’s why 1X gravel bikes are recommended for those that are new to riding Trusted Source The Reluctant Rider’s Guide to Biking The cycling world can be intimidating, even for those who grew up in it. But that’s no reason to let your pandemic wheels gather dust. www.nytimes.com .

Reasons to choose 2X

1X vs 2X Gravel Bike: Is The Difference That Important?

2X gravel bikes have double front chainring and are called two-by drivetrains.

It is better for road cycling. So check out the reasons you should pick a 2X bike.

  1. You are a road biker: If you ride your gravel bike like a road bike, then you would need the double drivetrain system to easily switch between gear shifts. It would also help you have better and smoother transitions while pedaling.
  2. If you ride or race on smooth roads, then you need a bike like Tommaso Sterrata Shimano Claris R2000 gravel bike. 2X gravel bikes help you to get wide gear jumps that keep your power steady along the smooth terrain while you race.
  3. You need to climb and descend hills better: If you want to be able to climb anything and everything, then you should choose 2X gravel bikes over 1X drivetrains. The wide gear jumps, again, and its descending gears allows do not allow your bike to spin out while descending stiff terrains.

Final thoughts

Though bikes started with only a 1X drivetrain system, manufacturers over time began to offer 2X options too for better cycling. However, as we have explained in this guide, not everyone can ride a bike with a 1X drivetrain or 2X chainring system. The type you can ride depends on your riding experience, what kind of road you ride on, how light you want your bike to be, its ease of maintenance, cost, efficiency, and so on.

So, which is the winner: 1X vs. 2X gravel bikes? We’d say both. 1X gravel bikes are easier to maintain, understand, and operate, which makes them best for newbies. Some women also prefer this type of bike, while 2X gravel bikes are best for those that want more complexity or need more speed for races. Also, mountain bikes are similar to 1X gravel bike design, and road bikes are similar to 2X bikes.

References

1.
Bikepacking and gravel bikes: new concepts in off-road cycling, or marketing fad? | Cycling | The Guardian
A four-day loop around the King Alfred’s Way gave ample time to test the claims of faster speeds and greater off-road ease.
2.
The Reluctant Rider’s Guide to Biking
The cycling world can be intimidating, even for those who grew up in it. But that’s no reason to let your pandemic wheels gather dust.
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