Catching up to the kids these days, I recently switched my trail bike over to a one-by-11 drivetrain. It’s a sweet time to do the conversion, both SRAM and Shimano have kits that fit onto a 10-speed hub at about a third the price it used to cost to swap just a couple of years ago. And I was lucky enough that a sweet Squamish, British Columbia-based company hooked me up with both a narrow-wide ring and bash guard/chain guide that works on my current cranks to help out the swap. Oneup Components has been building some of the cleverest and most well-thought-out drivetrain solutions since the one-by revolution began.
Now that there’s more compatibility and prices are better, it’s way easier to switch right to an 11-speed cassette than to hybridize your old 10-speed cassette with the system three former Race Face engineers came up with when they started Oneup a only a few years back. So, many are wondering where that leaves the company now. But Oneup extends beyond a single hack, and they have a whole inventory of high-quality, smart, light and strong parts to make your pedalling smooth and efficient without a front derailleur. Plus, you can still one-up your 11-speed cassette through their system, if you want an even bigger granny gear.
The fellas were kind enough to send me their Bash Guide and two rings to test: their 30-tooth Round, which is the smallest I could fit on my crank (with a 104mm bolt-pattern diameter) and a 32-tooth Oval, which is the smallest oval I can fit on my crank.
I went with the 30-tooth Round first. Cleverly the ring is automatically spaced away from your crank’s spider and has threads built into it, so you just use the bolts from your granny ring and can toss all the other hardware.
I wanted the Bash Guide because I do hit that part of my bike a lot, and it comes integrated with a minimalist chain guide. Though many people don’t think you really need a guide with a narrow-wide ring, once your chain wears a bit it does tend to drop from time to time. Using the Bash Guide also allows me to run my chain a little longer and not drop it. Coupled with a clutch derailleur, it makes pedalling a bit smoother to not have to rely entirely on chain tension to keep everything online.
I’ve since done some pretty long pedals, technical trail rides, hill climbs and even a few days of full-on shuttling with my new drivetrain, so it may seem strange to say that I don’t have much to report. But that’s because I don’t ever think about it. The switch was so natural and smooth I barely noticed it and am thoroughly in love with the simplicity and efficiency of it. I haven’t dropped my chain at all (which is new), my shifting is butter smooth, and I can still back pedal in my cassette’s highest ring. My pedalling is ultra quiet, and I’m super glad to have the Bash Guide because I have nailed a bunch rocks right where the ring and chain would have otherwise taken that hit.
Installation was painless. The only thinking involved was how much to space out the Bash Guide, which bolts right to your IS mount. The spacers that came with it were a little too much for my frame, so I used some washers of about half the size.
Overall I dropped half a kilogram off my bike’s weight in the swap. Which means I can get that much fatter now. Beer me!
I’m using a cassette that goes up to 42-teeth. Overall if feels like I have one less gear than I did on my two-by setup, but I never used those two easiest gears anyway, so I don’t feel like I’ve given anything up. This current combo still feels like I have one I’m-really-tired-and-am-gonna-limp-home gear left.
Because the Bash Guide is adjustable to 28-, 30-, and 32-tooth ring sizes, I’m going to try out the 32-tooth Oval next and see what kind of power it delivers. Stay tuned for that review next. And if you’re looking for one-by components, give this great, local company a visit.