We see it in mountain biking. We see it in cyclocross. Is triathlon next?

We are taking abolut the single chainring. And, yes it is possible that the single chainring will be making a jump to triathlon and TT bikes.

At the Challenge Championships this past weekend, numerous pros removed the ‘extra’ chainring. The course in Samorin is perfect for this kind of set up, as it is deadly flat, designed for speed.

Jordan Rapp’s bike with SRAM’s 1X system. He rode a 54-tooth chainring and used an 11-30 cassette.

So what are you getting out of removing that ‘extra’ chain ring.

  1. It is reliable. You don’t have to work about dropped chains. Depending on your gear configuration, you also don’t have to work about crossing your gears. This also makes for a more efficient and creating a quiet ride.
  2. A quiet drivetrain makes for a quiet ride. A quiet ride makes for an efficient ride. The SRAM 1X system allows for perfect matching between the chainring at the front and the cassette. This allows for smooth ride experienced with a 1X system.
  3. It is aero. And, for triathletes, everything comes down to being aero and going fast. With a single chain ring you lose excess parts that sit in the wind. Imagine you are taking out the front derailleur, mount, cable and the inner chainring. Also you’re removing weight, weight that you don’t need on a flat course.
  4. You have less equipment to maintain. Compared to the 2X system, there are fewer parts, which means less stuff to maintain.
  5. It looks sweet- it is new and futuristic. As the saying goes, “look fast, go fast.” Imagine racking your bike in transition at your next triathlon, say, the Rose City event which is dead flat, with this cool chainring. You will get some wild looks before, during and after the race while you crush the field on the bike.

With point 5), there are some obvious limitations: the most obvious being you won’t want to use this set up for hilly, challenging courses like Ironman 70.3 Muskoka (coming up in July). Though there are the exceptional athletes that can grind a massive gear and run up hills afterwards, those are few and far between. Reserve this set up for those pancake flat courses.

Back in 2015, Kevin Mackinnon of TMC did a feature on the 1X SRAM system. Follow the link for a more in-depth review of this new and futuristic setup.

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