Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

2×10 – deader than a dodo

Posted by Matt | July 11, 2019 | 9 comments so far

YT Jeffsy near the Sawmill
I’ve recently been on a journey to replace my drivetrain and to say 2×10 is dead is an understatement.

Since taking delivery of my YT Jeffsy 29 in early 2017 I’ve racked up 2000 miles on it. Quite a decent mileage, interspersed with my latest Bird hardtail and my road and gravel bikes. Of course, the drivetrain is now completely shot!

I first noticed the wear on the bottom bracket – a Pressfit BB92 – which although not my preference has in fairness not caused me any trouble up to this point. It’s now in imminent need of replacing, with lots of sideways play.

I thought, OK, should be quite simple to replace. Except a closer look at the drivetrain showed the tell-tale of hooked teeth on the front Race Face 36T chainring and the realisation that really it was time to replace the large chainring, cassette, chain and jockey wheels. As you can imagine this isn’t really what I want to spend money on but it was clearly necessary.

Somewhat naively it turns out, I assumed I would just buy the replacement parts and keep on rolling. Oh how wrong I was!

First of all, you can’t buy Race Face Turbine chainrings in 36T/104BCD for 2×10 drivetrains at all. Chainrings for doubles are all 11 speed and mostly in Cinch spec. The majority of chainrings available are actually for pure 1x systems as well.

So 2×10 is quite clearly deader than a dodo!

After a lot of searching I’ve found a Truvativ 36T/104BCD ring which I hope will fit my Race Face Aeffect crankset. I’ve also gone for a Shimano Hollowtech BB92-compatible bottom bracket which should fit the cranks.

The rest of the drivetrain has also proved harder than I imagined to replace. Aside from the Race Face crankset it’s all M675 Shimano SLX so a bit of careful shopping has turned up a 10-speed 11-36 SLX cassette, HG-X chain and jockey wheels. Shimano seem to support stuff a little longer but…

…basically, there goes £100.

I suppose what has really surprised me in all this is how quickly the MTB drivetrain landscape has changed. I know that back in 2017 it was already unusual for a new bike to turn up with a 2×10 drivetrain, but we’re only talking a couple of years ago.

In the intervening 2 years we’ve had the advent of mainstream 1×11, swiftly replaced by 1×12 at all price points thanks to an aggresive SRAM taking advantage while Shimano sleeps. Fair enough I suppose.

At this time, you would struggle to find a half decent bike that doesn’t run 1×12 in some form and frames are now built with that in mind – no provision for a front derailleur at all.

I understand all the whys around this. It makes things much easier to design around, which in turn has released a lot of performance from modern frames. The drivetrains are durable and simple to use and maintain, so it’s wins all round.

The loser in this has been people like me. People who could get longer out of their existing drivetrains and frames if they could find the parts they need, when they need them. Two years is not long, and I don’t feel it’s unrealistic to expect to be able to find basic parts after that time.

If I’m honest, I do want to go 1×12 at the earliest convenience as well. It’s just that on top of the complete drivetrain cost (circa £400 for a Boost GX Eagle set up) I would need another bottom bracket and also to replace the freehub on my wheels.

I know SX Eagle is out there, and that all 1×12 stuff is interchangeable so I could go that route to save money and the freehub switch, but I’d eventually want to replace every component with GX anyway. Still, [muses] an NX 1×12 Eagle Dub Boost groupset might be possible for £250..? But then I need another £25 for the BB…

I shall just have to suck it up. £100 to keep rolling for now I guess, plus a bit of saving for an eventual replacement with GX running gear when everything wears out, because by then 2×10 will be gone for good.

At that point [rolls eyes] I might be thinking about a whole new frame too…

Filed under Mutterings, Trends in July 2019


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 9 comments on ‘2×10 – deader than a dodo’

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  1. StevenD says:

    You are not going to like this. 2000 miles is nothing; why are you not keeping an eye on chain wear ?, then the chainring and cassette last a lot longer. Also I get much more mileage from jockey wheels and BBs. I expect at least 3500 miles from all of my drive train excepting the chains, and get it, on my Trek which is running 2×9.


    P.S did you consider getting a new crankset instead of buying individual parts ?

    • StevenD says:

      P.P.S My Trek runs all Shimano (except SRAM chains) and I have not had any problems getting parts. Straight 1 1/8″ forks – now that is another matter, but the Trek is my winter steed and pub bike so it does what I need.

    • Matt says:

      Good point about chain wear Steven. I think I’ve done well for 2000 miles and I clean and lube the chain after every ride, but you’re right that I should pay more attention to the wear as it chews up the rest of the drivetrain.

      It doesn’t really change the fact the chain, cassette and big ring need replacing despite it being arguable I could have eked out more life with a couple of chain swaps.

      The BB is shot for sure – not much I can do there, it was probably a cheapo one and it’s Pressfit anyway so no surprises it has failed. Jockey wheels are just something which at £5 are worth replacing anyway.

      Having looked, you can’t easily buy Boost spec 2×10 cranksets so it’s a big ring swap or nothing. I think my options have narrowed to either the cheaper replacement strategy I’ve outlined, or a 1×12 NX switch.

      I’m not sure which direction to take the more I think about it – a future me could port the 1×12 to another frame whereas it’s unlikely the 2×10 would fit anything.

      My main point in all this is to note how quickly the 2×10 option has died across the industry and how dominant SRAM has become. There’s some hope with Shimano’s recently announced 1×12 groupsets, but they will die on their feet if they continue to resist licencing their Micro Spline hubs.

  2. Elliot says:

    I don’t think 2000 miles is bad. While not usually something I keep track of, I’m probably getting similar or slightly less. I did manage to totally destroy one drivetrain in under 2 months back in early 2018. A particularly wet period in which maintenance likely consisted of grinding away in miles and miles of filth, add oil, repeat. Renewing or rotating between several chains, running a steel chainring, meticulous cleaning/lubing and avoiding muddy conditions all help but I usually don’t follow any of that.

    Wouldn’t go sub GX. Recently ‘borrowed’ a new NX mech to take on a trip, you know, just in case. Could not believe Sram sell new mechs with that much play in the jockey wheels, or that it’s expected to shift properly like it. Very heavy parts at NX/SX level too.

    I’ll get the new Shimano 12 speed soon as I want to try Hyperglide+, apparently it’s quite good. Conveniently already using two of the first hub makers licensed for Micro Spline upgrades, DT Swiss and Newmen.

    • Matt says:

      I’ve never even heard of Newmen hubs, I had to Google them to find out. Germanic goodness.

      I’m wondering if a bit of patience is in order. Maybe the best option is this short term refresh and then a look at GX vs SLX? I do keep the chain and rings very clean but will probably consider an extra chain or two when I refresh the gears with 500 mile swaps to even out the wear.

      I am very keen on trying 1×12 SLX myself, but obviously it’s not quite on sale yet. It would be a good option for me but Hunt are not yet licenced for Micro Spline, so that is quite an issue. And I need a bit of discounting to kick in on the groupset too.

      I don’t really understand Shimano’s perspective here at all unless it’s really a factor of manufacturing capacity – no point creating demand you can’t fulfill and they got their fingers properly burned over XTR supply and delivery delays. XT and SLX 1×12 availability also seems to be taking a while.

      Still, very odd to see them leave the market to SRAM for so long and having that proprietary licence on Micro Spline can’t help.

      I assume that the hub guys will bring out freehubs to get round the Shimano licence demands if things don’t change, but until 1×12 is widely available there doesn’t seem much incentive.

  3. Mat-S says:

    To be fair, 11s started rolling out in what, 2012, and it’s just the chainrings that are a problem, right? A Shimano chainring should fit too- a tenner for a 36t at wiggle. Sjs are usually good for finding the less stained drivetrain bits too.

    My last 10s kit (on a Mtb at least) finally wore out this spring. The mech pivots had easily 5mm play in them and weren’t really very good at pushing the chain anymore. What I’ll say is 12s is really, really nice to have. I tried the sunrace mech and shifter, which were nice for the first rides and then broke thanks to what I think is a pretty bad design flaw. Now using a 12s slx mech/shifter and (based on one ride) it’s leagues above the sunrace and even 11s Shimano. This is all on a gx eagle cassette and chain.

    • Matt says:

      Ooh thanks for the tip Matt, didn’t realise a Shimano 36T would fit. That makes things a bit easier to bear.

      I think I’ll re-vive the 10 speed and save my pennies for the Shimano 1×12. If I can’t get a Micro Spline freehub for the Hunts it’s good to know the SRAM GX cassette is happy.

  4. Mat-S says:

    I think it should, rather than know, to be fair. If it’s 104 bcd then that should be from the days of everything working together. No guarantees on how the shift ramps line up but Shimano granny rings aren’t exactly expensive.

    Shimano appears to have actually got heir act together with xt and slx 12 speed. If it stays as good as it is now, my 11 speed may actually get ‘upgraded’ rather than just ‘replaced’ when it wears out.

  5. James says:

    Think I have a Shimano 34/24 set of rings from slx double. 96 spacing.Unused.

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