|2X, 29"er gearing|
The thing is, what is 29"er gearing? I don't have any clue, since the comments I read are all over the place as to what folks think that is. Some want super low gearing. Some want triple crank sets for the widest range of gearing, and still others are saying a 1X set up is all they will ever need.
What about me? Well, I never have liked the front dérailleur. I will say that Shimano's and SRAM's latest have gone a long way in impressing me though. I also will say that a lot of what I ride can be done on a 2X set up hear on my local trails. That doesn't mean I think it is perfect at all.
Probably the coolest set up I have ridden is the new DynaSys 10 speed. The thing that makes it work is not what you would expect at all though. Shimano actually identified something I wish was focused on more than it is, or seems to be.
Road riders have identified an advantage in close ratio cassettes, and actually, that's been the case for that discipline for a long time now. However; in the case of mountain bikes, it wasn't possible to have a close ratio and a wide range of gearing with only 15 speeds, so jumps between gearing were big. This persisted throughout the modern mountain bike's development up until recently.
Shimano realized that tightening up the jumps between cogs meant less loss of momentum and less rider fatigue due to a lower cadence when shifting to higher gears and a cadence that was too fast when switching to lower gears. They fine tuned DynaSys to help eliminate this, and to my mind that was the major selling point to me for the new 10 speed group.
I found there was less shifting between cogs up front, and when you did, you only had to readjust one, maybe two clicks in the rear to accommodate your cadence. I found the tighter ratios in the middle of the rear cassette to be gold for me on longer, grinding climbs when you could find a gear that was "just right".
Is DynaSys my perfect set up then? No, it is not, but to my mind the way Shimano is thinking about mountain bike gearing is making sense to me more and more. I just wish that Shimano would give the riders that low, low gear some are wanting, but Shimano has never really been about low, low gears either. I don't expect to see a change there.
Maybe an "ala carte" system similar to Surly's "Mr. Whirly" cranks, but without the weirdness that crank set has would be the ticket. Then make a cassette with user customizable ratios and we'd have everyone covered. But whatever the "perfect 29"er gearing" is, I'm sure it won't be available anytime soon. That is something you can take to the bank!