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Single or double chainring?

Rhalalalala! Broad topic.

I'm not going to try to convince you that one solution is better than another.

In my opinion, it all depends on what you are going to use your bike for and where you are going to put your wheels.

Take Paula for example.

Having been designed as a sporty Gravel, the field of application is extremely wide.

You're going roughly, from adventure/bikepacking use loaded with luggage without worrying too much about the hourly average to all-road/road use in all weathers and all conditions where performance will be a little more at the center of the debate.

We at Massacan like SRAM. It is estimated that it is the group manufacturer that presents the most relevant range currently.

Here's what they think about the subject:

Updated sr gravel graphic v07

“Adventure” use

It is with groups from mountain biking that you will find the developments that will allow you to cross Everest by breathing through your nose.

The era of double chainrings on mountain bikes, or even triple ones, being more than gone, no discussion possible, it will be single chainring.

For this type of use on demanding terrain, nothing better than a single-chainring hybrid road group at the front (the shifters and crankset) and MTB at the rear (the derailleur and cassette).

We call this type of mismatched group a "mullet", yeah like the legendary cut.

Business up front, party in the back

Illustrations below:

Still in single-platform, however, it is aimed at more versatile use, on a smoother journey.

So be careful, with a 40-tooth crankset and a large 44-tooth sprocket, we keep a development that will allow you to go almost anywhere.

This is the configuration that is most successful.

It's a very good compromise for anyone looking for an all-purpose gravel bike.

For us, and I mean for us, the double chainring is not really necessary for this type of use.

The advantages provided by 12 additional transmission ratios do not outweigh the gain in simplicity of a mono configuration.

At these off-tarmac speeds, many of these ratios are redundant.

For road use, however, there will be debate…

Utilisation "ALL-AROUND"

Toujours en mono-plateau, on s'adresse toutefois à une utilisation plus polyvalente, sur trajet plus roulant.

Alors attention hein, avec un pédalier en 40 dents et un grand pignon de 44 dents, on garde un développement qui te permettra de passer à peu près partout.

C'est la configuration qui rencontre le plus de succès.

C'est un très bon compromis pour celui qui cherche un gravel bon à tout faire.

Pour nous, et je dis bien pour nous, le double plateau ne s'impose pas vraiment pour ce type d'utilisation.

Les avantages procurés par 12 rapports de transmission en plus ne surpassent pas le gain de simplicité d'une configuration mono.

A ces vitesses hors tarmac, beaucoup de ces rapports sont redondants.

Pour une utilisation route en revanche, là il va y avoir débat…

“ALL-ROAD” use

Good. Here we are.

This is where the first internal distensions in Massacan will be felt.

There are two teams.

The first is: “Road = double spicy top platter!”

The second is more like: "Dude, stop, mono is enough, you're not a pro cyclist in a World Tour team, calm down".

Well, since I'm in the first team and I'm writing these lines, I'm not going to be shy about promoting my parish.

If we take the single-chainring Gravel groupset most frequently offered on Paula and the SRAM Rival double-chainring groupset offered as an option and put the developments of the two groupsets in a table, we obtain the following:


We will read the table from bottom to top.

It's going to be fine, don't worry!

Drivetrain 1 is the single-chainring group, drivetrain 2 is the double group.

There are several things to note.

On the "easy" speeds you can see that the double has a slight advantage with a 30/36 which will make you spin a little more. But it's light.

The thing is that if you consider the intermediate developments, you can see that the ratios of configuration 2 overlap a lot. This is why I said above that for use on paths the interest was limited.

On the other hand, when it goes faster at the bottom of the cassette, where you end up with 4 sprockets on the mono, you have 8 in the dual configuration.

For me this is very appreciable and you will have half the risk of finding yourself between two gears (one too hard and one too easy) to maintain the cadence and power with which you feel good.

And above all, I'm not going to bother you with another board but we are in a double gravel board group configuration. If you tend towards a more road-type double group the difference will be even more marked.

Now we're talking about Paula. Is this really the main use you plan to make of it?

Wouldn't this type of use be more relevant on, I don't know, an aluminum bike with a nice and dynamic geometry more oriented towards the road and with the possibility of switching to 35 mm tires so as not to stress when on asphalt? stop...

An idea like that eh...


So do you feel pretty bi or not?

Come and discuss it between consenting adults!