Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Shimano Dyna-sys 10 speed gears

Posted by Tony | April 20, 2010 | 7 comments so far

Shimano Dyna-Sys 10-speed cassette
So finally Shimano has bitten the bullet and is introducing 10-speed SLX and XT groupsets, following the lead of SRAM (X7, X9, X0 and XX) who have fully committed to the idea of 10-speed drivetrains. Of course this is “progress” but have Shimano missed the point of 10-speed?

A 10-speed Shimano groupset is nothing new. Us riders who cross over to the roadie-darkside have been riding 10-speed groupsets for 10 years or so and many are moving up to 11-speed. So nothing new, no issues and no great technological advances in my mind. However why 3×10?

As a diverse group of riders us Moles ride with numerous drivetrain combos. Single speed, 1×9 (middle ring and bashguard), 8-speed hub gears, 2×9 (granny, middle and bashguard) and of course 3×9. Looking around at the last couple of previous MuddyMoles rides the vast majority of riders have been on 3×9.

Truvativ X0 2x10 double chainset

So what does 10-speed have to offer geared riders? Well in SRAM 2×10 format I can understand the attractions. Two chainrings have a lower Q factor (distance between your pedals – roadies are fairly interested in low Q since it gives you more power) and simpler front shifting which should give better shifting with a smaller cage.

The downside – you “only” have 20 gears and hence not quite the same gear range as 3×9 or 3×10. However how often do you use the granny or the big ring on a ride? It’s not like we are in the Alps. I personally feel a bit unfit if I ever have to use the granny ring and unless you are on the road I rarely use the big ring (although I used it in full anger coming down to the Rookery today). Most of the time we ride in the middle ring and granny is there for bail out situations.

Shimano seem to have missed many of the best points of 10-speed, namely 2×10 and simply added another sprocket to their triple set-ups. This seems to me to be not a lot more than feature creep.

When I need to change my gears I’d be tempted by 2×10 and even can see that it might push riders to 1×10 (after all suspension systems are designed to work in the middle ring). Unless 2×10 ends up with a middle ring thats way bigger than you 3×9 middle, 2×10 seems to offer the best of all gear combos.

Hopefully Shimano will remedy this soon and start offering double chainsets for us MTB’ers.

Filed under 2010, News in April 2010


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  1. DaveW says:

    I agree with all you say Tony.

    30 gears is ridiculous and unecessary – the lowest and highest gears on a 9 speed triple are never needed.

    There may be something to the 10 speed double, but as you infer, if the outer is much larger than the middle on a triple, you will have to change gears at the front much more often to find a suitable gear (rather like on the Hammershmidt setup I tried a few weeks ago).

    This is purely a ploy to try and get us to spend more money and “upgrade” to an inferior solution.

    The parts must be narrower and therefore will wear more quickly, so those that do go the 10 speed route will have to buy consumables more often.

    No sir, I don’t like it.

  2. Dave says:

    This reminds me of the last great drive train shift from 8 speed to 9 speed. Then there was talk of how 8 speed were easier to index, narrower chains wearing out quicker etc., etc.

    As one of those who switched to 1×9, for where I ride, I think that less is more. 1×10 might be interesting though ;o)

  3. tony says:

    I’ve just been checking the SRAM website and choosing your cassette, dual ring chainset will be crucial.

    Available cassettes are 11-32, 12-36,11-23, 11-25, 11-26, 11-28, 12-25, 12-26, 12-27T and chainsets 28-42, 26-39.

    Considering that we ride 32-36 middle chainrings most of the time the 28-42 looks to be mainly for the strongest riders or racers, otherwise you would be constantly jumping between front rings.

    The 26-39, looks better, probably with something like an 11-28.

    Although 36, 12-36 would be a great 1×10.

  4. Matt says:

    I like the idea of 2×10 based around an X7/X9 mix of components but as Tony points out it would be tricky to pick the ideal gears.

    The idea I believe is you can run the full gears across the back whichever front ring you’re in, with similar chain wear to a normal 9 speed triple set up.

    I agree the 26/39 and 11-28 looks promising but would probably find myself playing safe with an 11-32 at the back. Should be OK for most circumstances.

    As for Shimano, smacks of a marketing move to me to head off SRAM. In a year you’ll have the ‘option’ of a double from them too, I wouldn’t be surprised.

    As it stands now they offer the same weight with greater gear overlap but the chance for bike staff to say ‘but it has 30 gears!!’

  5. Andy C says:

    Wrong, Dave W; the lowest gear on a 9-speed triple is regularly used by knackered old gits like myself! (Although I confess to agreeing with most of the comments).

    I’m even thinking of converting my On-One to a 1×9 (or maybe 1×10), as I think a singlespeed would be a leap too far for my knees.

    A 32t front ring and a 12-36t rear sounds like it might work for me. Actually, I could use the SRAM 28t front ring, sounds even better!

  6. tony says:

    As more details of the shimano 10speed system emerge the more I’m left scratching my head.

    So it looks like the first triples will be 24-36-42 but with a 11-36 set of sprockets. Well 36-36 is a pretty low gear and I can’t imagine ever using a 24-36. That’s 2.1mph at 40rpm (Bikerdar’s numbers) and a fair bit slower than walking!

    A 42-32 double would be a good compromise with a 10sp 11-36 but all shimano have done with the extra sprocket is add an un-needed low gear.

  7. Dave says:

    This has nothing to do with what riders need. It’s just about marketing and keeping up with SRAM.

    Egg rings, that’s what we need!

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