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I want to get a new transmission group for my bike and I'm quite confused, so I'd really apreciate some help from the community. Here's some context:

I own, since last October, a Giant Escape 2 (https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/escape-2-2016) which I use for my daily 22km commuting (11km from home to work and 11km back) plus daily errants and the eventual lay-back ride with my GF or friends. It has a 3x8 Shimano M191-Altus group. My regular route has several elevation changes and a couple of steep climbs along the way. According to Runtastic Road Bike, I have about 74m of elevation up and 50m of elevation down and I have realised that I mainly use the middle cog on the front crankset, going from the 3rd (on full stops and uphill) to the 5th gear, and the large cog of the frontal set when going faster, applying the 6th and 7th gear. I have an average speed of 20Km/h.

So, for my question, I'm wondering if I could do better with a 1x11 or 2x10 transmission set, since there's one frontal cog which I've literally never used in the 2500k that I've rode this bike. Or is it me that I'm not using it properly? If you think I should replace my transmission, which one would you recommend? Considering that I don't want to spend any body part on the upgrade =)

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my amateurish-bad-english-nonsensical question and a big kudos to those who will reply it!

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    Why swap out a working transmission that is less than 1 year old? – paparazzo Jul 1 '17 at 12:48
  • I've had steep commutes of similar or slightly longer distances on a hybrid with very similar gears. They were ideal. – Chris H Jul 1 '17 at 13:41
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    If it is about going faster, further or longer, then there are much better things to sink money in that upgrading to 1x. If buying new, I would go 1x, but the benefits it offers are way over hyped. Cycling the the new Golf for cashed up middle aged execs, and 1x is a visible upgrade that forces them to buy a new bike to keep up with their cashed up middle aged executive mates. There is a load of profit to be made encouraging people to upgrade perfectly good bikes, hence the marketing effort. – mattnz Jul 1 '17 at 22:27
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    Exactly what do you mean by "could do better" ? Do you want to go faster all the time? or climb faster? Or have fewer maintenance tasks? – Criggie Jul 1 '17 at 22:33
  • It's hard to recommend anything without a clear idea of what you're hoping to achieve. Your English is fine, by the way. – David Richerby Jul 2 '17 at 14:00
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New you can't do it for less than $200 unless it is off brand (not Shimano or SRAM)

Shimano does not offer 1x11 in the lower end groups.

It would be like 1/2 the value of your bike.

Not using the smallest up front is not a big deal. I would just keep what you have.

You can remove the smallest and adjust the range if you want to.

Or you could swap to double crank. Not sure if you can still use the same shifter or front derailleur.

Not seeing many used 1x11 yet. Maybe look for a used 1x9. I don't think there are any true (narrow wide) 1x8.

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  • The triple chainring on a bike in that sort of price-range is probably riveted together, so it probably isn't possible to remove the unused small ring. But, as you say, leaving it there is fine. – David Richerby Jul 2 '17 at 13:58
  • Picture does not look like rivets and you can drill them out. – paparazzo Jul 2 '17 at 23:25
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You own a bike that works fine. As your riding experience grows, you start to notice things that could be better or improved.

Save these thoughts up, and when you are ready to buy a bike consider what meets those requirements.


I did 3000 km on a scrappy old MTB, but felt it was limiting. So I obtained a terrible road bike, fixed it and put in 200 km while utterly smashing many of my strava PRs. Since my main goals were fitness and speed, adding a road bike made a lot more sense than changing my MTB.

And if you did change the current bike, it would be less suitable for the steep climbs and headwinds.

Summary: add a decent quality used road bike to the stable.

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You know the saying "Less is more"? And Yngwie Malmsteen's response "How can that be? More is more!". With 1x11 you can have both at the same time.

More seriously, if using a single chainring works for you, there's no real need to change things. If you have money burning in your pockets or think that a gear upgrade would be nice, 1x11 saves some weight and looks new and shiny for some time. It might even save some maintenance.

Even though the smallest cog in the front is mostly useless, switching to a double doesn't benefit you much. You'll still have the complexity and weight of front derailleur.

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