Anyone who’s been reading my ride reports recently will know I’ve been complaining of back pain. This may, or may not be exacerbated by riding singlespeed for the past few weeks. I don’t think it is, but it may be.
The question that arises is ‘why are you riding singlespeed Matt?!’ Glad you asked. Well it’s because singlespeeds are far less mechanical trouble, especially in winter conditions. Except, er, mine is currently in disgrace with a continually loosening crank arm and a problem with the chain tension resulting in multiple dropped chains.
Actually, one reason for the singlespeeding is that my Orange Five is also out of action, this time from a failed rear dérailleur. After many years running X0 in 9 speed format I successfully switched to a 1×10 X9 set up last year. I love 1×10 and wouldn’t go back, although could do with a wider range cassette on occasion. The problem is that after just a few hundred miles (circa 800), the clutch on the dérailleur has failed. The clutch, which provides the all-important tension to prevent the chain coming off has seized so that I can pedal forward but freewheeling or slight back-pedalling causes the chain to lose tension and come off the front ring.
In hindsight, this has been playing up for a while – in Afan this March I dropped the chain unexpectedly several times. So I’ve decided I need a new dérailleur.
The problem is, SRAM appear to be phasing out the X9 Type 2 dérailleur. In it’s place is the new SRAM GX Type 2.1 rear dérailleur which I’ve just ordered off Tweeks Cycles for a bargain-licious £41. From what I can tell it’s got the new upgraded clutch and has a more direct path for the cable run. This is important since the old one caused my cable to fray and replacing it was when I noticed the precise nature of the clutch problem I’ve outlined. The mech appears a touch on the heavy side – 302g – but it’s hard to make direct comparisons since the old X9 weights were quoted for a different cage length and possibly without the additional weight of the clutch.
If I’m honest, I’m a bit disappointed by the durability I got from the X9. I’ve had X0 for years without serious issue (except when it’s self inflicted) and was hoping for more of the same. Let’s see how the new GX fares – I don’t really like Shimano shifting but reliability trumps everything so if the SRAM has a fatal durability flaw I’ll find it and let you know.