Gear ratios for 1x

Thinking of moving to a 1x setup? Here’s some help on picking your gear sizes, which is actually quite simple, hopefully! 

We did an article on how to do this last year, but the hardest part is selecting what ratios to put on the 1x setup. There have been a few discussions about this on our Facebook group, but a useful chart came out of it that is worth sharing. The bike in question had a 2x setup, with 36/26 chainset and 11-36 cassette at the rear and the owner was looking to move to a 1x setup.

Any 1x setup (except perhaps SRAM’s new Eagle 12 speed) will involve a compromise of range vs a 2x setup, but pick carefully and you’ll probably not notice.

The key to this is an 11-42t cassette at the rear. It gives a nice spread of ratios and the Shimano XT M8000 and SLX M7000 are really good value. With that as a base, the other part is what chainring do you pick, and actually it’s fairly easy, depending on your riding.

If you’ve got a 2x setup like the above, just try riding without your easiest gear and without your hardest gear. Ok, now which one did you miss the most?

  • If it was the easiest, get a 32t upfront
  • If it was the hardest, get a 34t upfront


And if you’re interested, here’s the slightly less simple maths involved. Which incidentally shows that out of 20 gears in a 2x setup, there are 3 nearly identical pairs, so actually your 2x setup is more like 17 useable gears anyway.