3x9 to 1x11 Upgrade

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3x9 to 1x11 Upgrade

Postby trailHED » June 12th, 2019, 6:48 pm

Hi, I've been wanting to do this for a while but was afraid it was going to cost more than what my bike was worth. Now that it's done I want to share what I learned. I have an 08 Cannondale Rush and thought that I would have to replace the rear hub to fit an 11 speed cassette and swap the cranks to make a 30T chainring work. After doing some research I found that neither of these were true. I didn't look at going 1x10 because the largest rear tooth sprocket I found was a 36 and I felt that I needed 11 speeds to come close to the range I had before. I previously replaced the large ring with a bash guard, so I actually was running a 2x9 setup.

My next decision was whether to go with Sram or Shimano. I already had SRAM and prefer the thumb shifters better than the Shimano (thumb to upshift rear derailleur). But I haven't had much luck with SRAM rear derailleurs and recently had my X-9 RD destroyed when it caught the spokes, which was why I decided to upgrade. I chose to go with Shimano SLX because I've always had good luck with their components and it looked like it would be more affordable.

I learned that the width of the 11 speed sprockets is wider than the 7/8/9 standard, but the interface to the hub is the same. This is accomplished by the largest sprocket (42T in my case) being off set inboard. The Shimano 11 spd road cassettes are a different standard because this cannot be accomplished with a smaller 25T sprocket.

I found that Race Face and a few others make a 30T chain ring that fits 104 BCD. This gave me a decent range with the 11-42 cassette. The one I ordered had a slight offset inboard which I wasn't expecting, but it seems to be working well.

I got the SLX RD and it only comes in a medium cage, which accommodates up to 46T. The new not real problem I had setting things up was when I set chain length. I watched a video by park tools that said to add two links to the length needed to fit around the largest sprocket if you have a 1x and full suspension. After having issues with shifting I figured out that the chain was too short and added two more links.

After riding it a few times everything works good and it’s nice not having to shift chainrings. The bonus I found out accidentally is that the SLX shifter lets you use your thumb to push or you index finger to pull for upshifting. The best part is that the full upgrade only cost me $200!
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Re: 3x9 to 1x11 Upgrade

Postby c0nsumer » June 12th, 2019, 7:02 pm

1x is so, so so much nicer. When I first went to it I was worried I'd miss range or stepping, but no. I did NOT miss having a front derailleur at all.
Steve Vigneau
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Unless otherwise stated the content of my posts are my opinion and should not be taken as the official stance of, nor representative of, CRAMBA-IMBA.
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Re: 3x9 to 1x11 Upgrade

Postby b_b » June 12th, 2019, 9:34 pm

Ha I had to tune a friends 3x tonight and kept thinking man this sucks no matter what I do the chain rubs on the front derailleur at one or both ends of the cassette. Yeah keeping shimano style cassette is pretty cost affective. Sunrace also makes 10x and 11x extended range cassettes. You may still also use SRAM derailleur/shifter depends on your preference. Sram seems crisper while shimano seems smoother and I like crisper. I've been running X9 with XT cassette.
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Re: 3x9 to 1x11 Upgrade

Postby bbender785 » June 13th, 2019, 6:30 am

b_b wrote:Sunrace also makes 10x and 11x extended range cassettes. You may still also use SRAM derailleur/shifter depends on your preference.


i've ran the 10 speed Sunrace 11-40 on a couple bikes now with SRAM gear and they've been great. surprisingly priced too.
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