Shimano 1x vs 2x | Which Drive Train Is Better for Mountain Biking?

Many riders have ditched their front mech and now rely on just one single chambering and a comprehensive ratio concept, but there is still room for that to buy a drive train. Shimano’s 1x drive train is a great option for many riders, but there is another out-of-reach option, Shimano 2x. 

So, which drive train is better between Shimano 1x vs 2x? Well, the two drive trains are quite similar. However, 1x is easier to operate, as you don’t have to be concerned about which gear you are in or making sure the chain is on the right sprocket.

In this article, we’re going to look at one-by versus buying.

Shimano 1x vs 2x Which Is Better?

Shimano 1x vs 2x: Comparison Table 

The Shimano drivetrain is rated as one of the best in the industry, with its sports-specific first and second gears providing an efficient ride for off-road use. Knowing which drive train will suit you best is important before making your purchase.

CharacteristicsShimano 1xShimano 2x
Drive resistance96.2%95.1%
Gear range147 to 48KPH56 to 57KPH
Weight1947g2338g
Gear steps3RPM90 RPM
Chain longevity4000 to 6800km3000km
Ease of useLess maintenanceMore maintenance

Shimano 1x vs 2x: Key Difference 

The debate over 1x or 2x drive trains is raging on the internet. Many people aren’t too familiar with the difference, but it can significantly affect their riding experience.

Drive Resistance

The drive resistance is the main difference between 1x and 2x when riding a mountain bike on a rough trail. You generally get higher overall resistance when riding with a 1x drive train than when riding with a 2x drive train. 

Gear Range

However, when pedaling at a high intensity, the difference in gear range becomes apparent. Riding with 1x gives you a more comprehensive range of gears than 2x. The gear range of 1x is 147 kph, while that of 2x is 56 to 57 kph.

Weight

Another difference between the two gears is their weight. This becomes more important in changing terrains than in most flat landscapes.

2x being heavier becomes a real issue when riding downhill, where momentum and control are most required. The 2x drive train can be cumbersome, while the 1x is much lighter and easier to manage.

Gear Steps

2x drive trains have more gear steps for more control. However, this isn’t necessarily a good thing. Having so many steps in the gears can make it harder to find the perfect fit.

Chain Longevity

The chain longevity with 2x drive trains is much shorter than 1x. There are also more steps in the length of the chain, making it harder to fit.

Ease Of Use

The 1x drive train has a simple and easy-to-use one-shoe pedal interface, compared to the 2x drive train, which needs more steps in the chain and gears.

Advantage of 1x Drive Train

Enduro racing has gained popularity, and mountain bike technology means that these bikes have become much more capable. From descending two big days out on the trail, they’ve become the one bike. 

So let’s examine the advantages of running a one-by system. 

  • Simplicity is the first without a second chambering. You can ditch the front mech shifter and cable. 
  • There is a weight advantage to this, but more than that, you can rely on your right thumb to do all the shifting for you. 
  • This has the added benefit of not being able to get your dropper post remote under the bar where the front shifter was. 
  • Another advantage of running the one-by system is you’re much less likely to drop your chain off the front. 
  • You can run a mech with a chain stabilizer or a clutch. 
  • Manufacturers have a bit more freedom to design their frames specifically, not have to use a front mech

The Disadvantage of 1x Drive Train

The downside of 1x drive trains is that they require twice as many gear changes at a time. When you are trail riding, this can mean getting your chain in the wrong gear and taking a while to fix it.

  • There’s a massive jump in the cassette, sometimes 3, 4, 5, or even 9, to separate a gear change.
  • It’s hard to keep a consistent cadence when climbing 

Advantage of 2x Drive Train

With the two-by because of that two-by ring up front. You’ve got a more comprehensive selection of gears, meaning that when you are climbing, you can keep that consistency 

  • Shorter chainstays for more maneuverability with less distance between the crank and front wheel.
  • You get dialed to ensure that you keep your legs spinning.
  • Better traction with a wider-than-normal chainring.
  • More drivetrain options due to the dual rings.
  • Better chain retention on the cogs, so it shifts better and is less likely to get stuck when turning fast.
  • You’re going to get a maximum grip, and it’s going to be easier for you to climb up to the top of the trail.

The Disadvantage of 2x Drive Train

Although the 2x drive train system offers many benefits, its disadvantages make it less desirable for mountain biking.

  • Less Torque
  • More wear and tear
  • Difficulty maintaining and adjusting chain tension
  • More power is needed to pedal up steep hills

FAQs

Which is better 1x or 2x?

The 1x drivetrain allows the rider to shift without switching between a front and rear derailleur. It lets you focus on the trail, not your gear shifting. This means you can maximize your mountain bike performance.

Do 1x drivetrains wear faster?

No, they don’t wear out any faster than a 2x. The life expectancy of the chain and cassette will be reduced, but the parts that need to be replaced regularly are the derailleur hanger and the crank. Both can typically handle many years of abuse.

Is 1x ok for the road?

We wouldn’t recommend 1x for road use. With the cage of your front derailleur bouncing against the chain, a 1x setup has more risk for drivetrain damage from impacts.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this blog post has helped you learn more about the advantages of Shimano 1x vs 2x drivetrains. Some bikes are better to use with a 1x, while others may be better suited for a 2x. 

In general, if you plan on going uphill on your bike or are looking to do some urban riding where traffic conditions might force you to stop and start quickly, we recommend that you choose a bike with a 1x drivetrain.

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