1x or 2x gravel

1x or 2x set up for gravel racing?

I’m in the market for a gravel bike. I do not have one and plan to use this purely for racing gravel. I do not see myself bike packing. The gravel near my house is a hoot to ride. primarily fire roads and some 2 track trails. I am racing RPI this year. I can see DK as a possibility in 2021.

I myself prefer the versatility of 2x, With my 1x I always find myself searching for an extra gear on climbs.

Id rather have it and not need it

I raced and trained on 1x this year for the first time. I had every gear I needed. But like Matt said did find myself between a comfortable range often.

If you were going to be racing in a lot of mud, snow, ice and etc it might be beneficial but mostly having a 2x shouldn’t be an issue.

The elite team i race for are swapping out the 1x systems we had this past season for 2xs next season.


Check out the Cervelo Aspero video review I did from our podcast this past Thursday - this build is 1x Shimano GRX:


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Is the Quarq compatible with GRX?

Quarq is mostly SRAM compatible while GRX is Shimano so no, not really

I race/ride on 1x. 42t up front, 11-32 rear. Had it for Steamboat Gravel and if anything, I wish I had maybe an 11-36 rear. I may go 11-42 rear, put on a long cage rear derailleur and call it good. My gravel rig is also my cx bike.

I ride a 46T with a 11-42 (700c) and 11-46 (650b). From time to time I wish I had a different cog available, but you can just go faster.

I raced the RPI stage race with 48 and 46 (different days) on 10-42. Never really felt a need for more range. I have had issues with a dropped chain (a chain keeper is required) and at times the steps are pretty big between the gears when tired. If it matters I paid attention to what the front of the field was using and there was a lot of 2x, Di2 seemed really common.
I have strongly considered a 2x swap but honestly I don’t feel like it is holding me back much and I suspect I would miss the ease of rowing gears across the range without the front shift.
The 10-42 cassette is a huge part of what makes this work. Just a bit better than 11-42 for not getting dropped or spinning too hard when the field takes off downhill (and the RPI downhill from the start is pretty famous/crazy/fast in the A/B groups). The 10t gives you that nice 10% boost on top to run the smaller front ring when needed and claw back some missing top end.

I’m solidly in the 2X camp. The rides and races here in Oregon feature long-ish steep climbs that make the lowest three gears of an 11-32 with a 34t chainring just about perfect to maintain a good cadence, but there are also long and often rolling descents that see me in the 50t using the entire 11-32 cassette. I didn’t care for the jumps between gears on the massive cassettes, so I stuck with the 50/34 x 11-32.


And the range given by a 50/34 is why I can’t see spending the money to move over to a 2x as it is the same range as a 10-42 with a 45 tooth ring. Pick one tooth higher or lower 46/48 depending on the course.

The benefits of a 1x are pretty clear in the MTB world… less good on the road but still really nice when it gets dirty.

Similar to what Jake said… I have been racing 1X for hilly gravel (40/11-28) and Cat3 CX (40/11-28) for a few years. The elites on my team have all switched to 2X, and there was alot of pro’s racing CX at Nationals this year on 2X setups. Seems like 2X is making a comeback.

This season I’m going to run 1X 40/10-33 for CX and gravel.