|SRAM XX1 Crank (Image courtesy of SRAM)|
Leaving aside the many concerns over "unnecessary technology" or issues with proprietary parts, I happen to think XX1 is a bold stroke. Front derailleurs are difficult beasts. Especially so on mountain bikes. Getting a system whose aim is to rid the mountain bike of this component is appealing to my dislike of those dratted things.
Now- I do not think all front derailleurs are evil. Just the ones that don't work all that well, which is a lot of them. "Momentum suckers", now that is a name I could apply to a front derailleur. "Noise makers" is another. Maybe that's why I like single speeds so much.
|Here's one that works pretty good...|
That said, many upper end front mechs work just great. The 2X ones especially so. Why, I can pop off shifts with these like nothing else, but at what price? Oh my! Yes- you have to not only have a great front mech, but the cranks and chain rings to go with that. Things can get pricey real quick-like.
Your average drive train doesn't work quite so snappy up front, and when you add in nice little gremlins like Dirt, Gravel Dust, and the really nasty one, Mud- well you can get all kinds of Mayhem going on with those!
So, while proprietary free hubs, wheels, derailleurs, and all that maybe are not that great, the idea of a chain guide-less 1X system is very appealing to me. Simple, better shifting, a wide range of gearing, and with the new derailleur cage arresting technology for rear mechs, the chain doesn't slap your stays and doesn't whip the chain off your front ring either.
I've been running a 1 X 10 set up on By-Tor the Titanium Mukluk, and I like it a lot, but the range of the gearing is not as wide as I would like. Plus, I have to use a chain guide and my chain slaps the chain stays,making racket.
I will say that the final complaint there was a universally accepted trait of mtb drive trains for eons, but have you ridden a bike with the new rear derailleurs featuring the cage arresting technology? It is amazing. The amount of noise you don't hear is very apparent. Why didn't they come up with this before? I highly recommend you try one of these newer derailleurs out. Well worth the paece and quiet, and chain retention!
But I've gone off point- The death of the front derailleur may be at hand for some like myself, but trust me- There are a lot of folks that won't ride a bicycle without a front derailleur and three- count 'em- three front rings! They demand "all those gears" because of the hills, and even if your compact double shifts better and has as wide a range, they ain't given up their triples, much less ever thinking about a 1X set up. May as well shoot them now as to consider that one.
So, Long Live Front Derailleurs! (Now where is that single speed.........)