1x vs 2x For Gravel Bikes | The ANSWER! (Is In Gear Ratios)

1x vs 2x For Gravel Bikes | The ANSWER! (Is In Gear Ratios)

Despite the many benefits of a 1x drivetrain, it seems that most gravel cyclists who stick with the trusty 2x drivetrain are simply afraid of the increased jumps between gears. But… How big are those jumps exactly? Are they evenly spaced across the cassette? Will the bigger jumps actually affect your riding? To answer these questions, we have no choice to dive head first into the nerdiest of all bike-related topics… GEAR RATIOS.

In this video, we go down a gear ratio rabbit hole to investigate the exact nature of the differences between 1x and 2x systems using numerical software and data analysis. Geek out with me as we marvel at the pretty graphs and ponder the KEY DISCOVERIES that may ultimately influence your decision to go 1x or 2x on your gravel steed!

Be sure to subscribe before you nod off to what is essentially a lecture on gear ratios. I challenge you to stay awake through the end. This WILL be on the midterm!

Thanks for watching!

0:00 Introduction
2:21 Pros and Cons of 1x
4:53 Who is 2x for?
6:55 Gear Ratio Analysis
8:29 Gear Redundancy on 2x
10:30 Key Discoveries – Jumps Between Gears
13:20 Summary



  1. Craig Ferguson on September 28, 2020 at 3:43 am

    Bollocks 1 x Drive train also has power loss due to extreme angle of chain on lowest and highest gear. Where’s the data showing that.

  2. Ivan_onbikes on September 28, 2020 at 3:48 am

    I ended up going 1x grx but I do wish I could have tried 2x on gravel. just curious. but so far my 1x system has been perfect and I’ve been able to ride everything without an issue.

  3. Aaron Behind Bars on September 28, 2020 at 3:55 am

    Great video! I had this very debate when I was deciding which gravel bike to buy. I have increasingly favored 1x drivetrains on my bikes over the last few years. I find 1x stems better suited for off-road riding or casual street riding. The larger jumps are more noticeable and less desirable when you are going faster and trying to find that optimal cadence as you mentioned in your video. It looks like Shimano tried to eliminate that as much as possible and, like you, I am second guessing my decision to go 2x on my gravel bike.

    I definitely should have studied gear ratios a bit more to better understand how my ride would have been impacted by the ratio gaps. My logic was oversimplified in that I decided that 1×11 would not yield appropriate ratio gaps and that I would need at least a 1×12 to achieve a more appropriate progression of ratios. Perhaps that is somewhat accurate, but after looking at how Shimano does it, I think I would have been just fine because regardless of whether you go 11-40, 11-42, or 11-46, all three have the same progression of 11-13-15-17-19-21-24.

    Then, along comes Campy with their new Ekar 1×13 gravel groupset. Have you seen it? They offer 3 different cassette options:




    Looks like they are taking what Shimano does to the next level with packing the top end of the cassette with very tightly spaced gears.

    Had I gone with a 1x gravel bike, it more than likely would have been equipped with SRAM Apex 1:


    They start ramping up the progression one cog earlier than Shimano with a larger jump from 19-22.

    My Specialized Diverge has a Shimano 11-34 configured as such:


    The 48T big ring on my bikes does have me favoring the 17-19-21-23-27 cogs most which are all 2 tooth ratio gaps. Had I gone 1x SRAM with a 42T ring, I would be favoring the 15-17-19-22-25 cogs. My ratios would be very close to the same with the 1x setup except for when I was on the 22 and 25 where the gaps spread just a tad. Not likely a big deal.

    Sorry this is so long of a comment, but one last thing. After getting my Diverge, I ended up building a super budget gravel bike that I intend to actually ride on the local mountain bike trails. I have it setup with 650B x 47 tubeless tires and a 1×8, 38T ring with an 11-40 cassette. Those are some big jumps (11-13-16-20-24-28-34-40)! The little bit I have ridden it on trails does seem to validate my initial impression that 1x is better suited for slower riding. It is insanely fun and I can’t wait to try it out with the recently installed dropper post!

    Thanks for hopefully reading this and I look forward to more content like this if you decide to make it.

  4. Hung Tran on September 28, 2020 at 4:06 am

    Very thorough discussion between 1x vs 2x. Thanks. I was interested in getting a 1x but I ended up getting a 2x simply because it I got tired of waiting and grabbed the first one available in my size which was a 2x. LOL. Btw, I got the same Diverge Sport with the black color and blueish. Such a fun bike!

  5. André Grosser on September 28, 2020 at 4:10 am

    i tried already both and the main reasons to go for 2x are for me, that you kind of have a hybrid way of driving (you can go fast and do roadbike trips – mostly using the big ring; or go on MTB trails and mostly use the small ring. The second main reason for me ist, that i just dont like the chaincrossing noise and feel on a 1x. It doesnt feel good and it also seems (in my mind) to constantly wearing out my chain and the casette. And if im going uphill a really steep climb, having that feeling and noise in mind ist just not that comfortable for my driving "feel" – if you can say it like that (sorry for my english, i’m german ;D)

  6. Justin Faria on September 28, 2020 at 4:11 am

    Most underrated bike channel on youtube