Looking at purchasing a new bike with a 1x10 gearing setup. I am concerned that with my current or future level of fitness, I may need slower gearing on the bike.

What is the easiest (and cheapest) way to get easier gearing on the bike? Options:

  • Change the crankset
  • Change the chainring
  • Change the casset

This is the bike in question:

enter image description here

  • I don't really think you have all that much room. 1 x whatevers generally run quite a large range in the back to begin with (on the market you have things like 11-42+; this is a 11-36), and you may not have that much room to play with in the front (looks like 30t, but you can look at what chainrings are available). And its not clear you can easily setup that frame for a double (getting the derailleur on, chainline, etc).
    – Batman
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 0:52
  • 1
    If you want lower gearing then why 1x ?
    – paparazzo
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 1:24
  • @Paparazzi - Basically every hardtail being released this year is a 1x10 or 1x11 Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 1:58
  • 2
    then talk to your LBS and find the right bike to buy, which sounds like a 2x or even an old-school triple.. Modifying a new bike is awful expensive. Smaller wheels also effectively lower the gearing, but good luck finding a decent new 26" these days - all the cool kids want bigger wheels.
    – Criggie
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 2:09

1 Answer 1


I recently looked at my 3x10 setup, with the view of going 1x. I decided to stay 3x10 as the 1x10 is a can of worms. The only other practical option was to convert the whole lot to 1x11. With 32->11-36, on the flat 32-11 I spin out a little, but am not strong enough to push 32-36 up the local hills.

What to do will significantly be dictated by the specs and components already installed on the bike in question (In this case Shimano), but ultimately, 1x10 is never going to make a great bike for less strong riders. The 10x (from Shimano, and I also think SRAM, some correct me if i am wrong) is not made for larger than 36 tooth rear cluster. The 11-36 range is not enough for many riders in hilly terrain.

Lower gearing comes from a bigger rear cog, smaller chain ring or smaller wheels. In this case, you are looking at 27.5", smaller wheels are not going to make any real difference.

You can extend max cog size of the standard Shimano 10x derailleurs (Not sure about the M610 - I think it has to be the XT derailleur) - e.g. 'goat link' and 'radcage', and buy cassettes (sunrace) or expansion cogs to take you 10X to 42 or 46 teeth. Ultimately is not what I would choose to do on a new bike as they are all various degrees of a hack with various degrees of success.

This leaves a chainring. This bike comes with 30 - you may be able to go down to 26 with direct mount cranks, but I looks like this comes with 104bcd meaning 30 is as small as you can go without a new crank set. You don't want to small unless you don't mind going slow, or know how to spin... 28/11 is a fairly low top gear.

Ultimately I suggest if you have any doubts that go to a 2x10 or a 1x11 (Shimano has recently announced a SLX 1x11).

  • 2
    "1x10 is never going to make a great bike for less strong riders" To me this sounds a lot like what I see in the road bike scene. Regular weekend warriors using the 53-39 or 50-34 makes little sense if you can only maintain 150 watts. The triple is basically non existent on road bikes even though I'm sure a lot of the more casual riders would appreciate the added range at the expense of a little extra weight. If you simply must only have 2 chain rings, something like 46-30 would offer the lower gearing while still providing a top gear that most casual riders wouldn't spin out.
    – Kibbee
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 12:48

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