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I currently have a 2015 Kona Rove AL with Shimano Claris 8 speed drivetrain; running double FSA tempo chainset in front. This is the link to Kona’s specifications for the bike: http://2015.konaworld.com/rove_al.cfm

I am wanting to convert this into a 1x drivetrain. Any tips on how and what parts? I figured I would need a clutch rear derailleur, which I was looking at Shimano XT 9 speed as a replacement? I’m just unsure on the cassette size, single chainring size and cranks that I would need. I mostly ride flat trails with just a bit of low grade climbing within the city. Any advice, ideas or experiences shared would be great.

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  • To know what 1x gears to get, I advise to think about what current drivetrain gear ratios you use and don't, you can use gear calc to compare different setups. Also, none of 9 speed RDs have a clutch. You can probably keep the chainset if chainrings are replaceable. – Klaster_1 Jul 9 '18 at 1:44
  • Klaster_1, I currently use all 8 cogs in the back combined with the small chainring up front on all my normal terrain. I don’t even use the large ring. – Millertime77 Jul 9 '18 at 3:00
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    Why not just remove FD and big chainring? – Klaster_1 Jul 9 '18 at 3:52
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    @Klaster_1 even better, just don't use it for a month and see if they miss it. – Criggie Jul 9 '18 at 8:04
  • Product recommendations are off-topic, here. What kind of answers are you looking for? It's not really clear to me. – David Richerby Jul 9 '18 at 17:14
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I think you need to ask yourself why you want a 1x drivetrain. What is that going to do for you that your current system does not?

Presumably you want more rear derailleur gears than your current 8 (why would you want an upgrade otherwise?) That means you will have to get new shifters as well as rear derailleur, cassette and chainring. You can run a single ring on a double crank but you'll end up cross-chaining on either your highest or lowest gears, so a new crank is advisable.

It's likely that the cost of all that, plus having a shop install it for you or buying the special tools required if you do it yourself can be significant compared to the purchase price of the bike.

If you really want to do it you have a few choices:

  • Lower level of dedicated 1x11 system such as SRAM Apex 1. Obviously the best but most costly option. Note, this option may also require a new rear wheel in addition to the items listed above as 11 speed road cassettes generally need 11 speed compatible freehub bodies.

  • 9 or 10 speed mountain derailleur with a 9 or 10 speed road right hand shifter. I believe Shimano mountain and road systems used the same cable pull ratio up to 9 speed. SRAM mountain and road systems use the same pull ratio throughout (at least for older systems).

  • Road 9 or 10 speed rear derailleur and right hand shifter, use a derailleur hanger extension to enable running a larger range cassette. (Road derailleurs usually support a 28, 30 or sometimes 32 tooth max sprocket. You will probably want 34 or larger.) This is a bit of a hack but ensures compatibility between derailleur and shifter at 10 speed. See this recent GCN Tech video for info on this method.

By the way, for road riding you will not need a clutch derailleur as the chain will not be bounced around. You could use a narrow-wide chainring for better chain retention, or just leave the front derailleur in place to keep the chain on the front ring.

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    +1, but... In 2018 I am not a fan of hanger extensions and such like. A lot of time, money and effort has been put in over decades to get the derailleurs working well, then people come along and cobble together something that mostly works most of the time for most people. More than a few years ago if you were on a tight budget, it was not a bad option, but today 1x is available in a wide range of prices, so the compromises are no longer worth it. – mattnz Jul 9 '18 at 8:31
  • @mattnz I agree. I made a edit to clarify. – Argenti Apparatus Jul 9 '18 at 11:14
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    Sounds like the OP is already running a 1x setup if their not using the big chain ring. Pulling the big ring, the front mech and the associated shifting hardware would save a bit of weight, cost nothing, and give the exact same functionality currently experienced. I wouldn't worry too much about cross chaining if the front derailer is removed. Not idea, but you wouldn't get the rub often associated with cross chaining. Of course a 1x8 setup isn't ideal, unless you are riding terrain with very little variation. – kickert Jul 9 '18 at 13:45
  • @BenKickert I was concerned about chain angle and increased wear rather than front derailleur rub - but as you say the OP is doing this anyway. Ditch front der. increases risk of throwing chain. – Argenti Apparatus Jul 9 '18 at 13:51
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    That is valid for sure. I am not familiar with that particular crank, but it may be possible to use spacers to effectively split the difference. Chain throw could be an issue, but less than in mountain biking (although this looks more like a gravel bike). If the OP does keep their setup and simply modifies it, they could shorten the chain to put a bit more tension on it since they aren't using the larger chain ring. – kickert Jul 9 '18 at 14:36

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