10 Speed Mountain Biking: Have you converted yet?

by Robb Sutton

SRAM 10 Speed CassetteLike it or not…10 speed mountain biking is the future. With Shimano and SRAM rolling out their new lineups in 10 speed only, it is only a matter of time before the extra gear is gracing your current or future mountain bike.

For those of you that are looking to upgrade in the future…or already have, you are looking at new shifters, rear derailleur, cassette and chain rings in your pursuit to click away at a 10 speed cassette. The prime time to upgrade would be when your current 9 speed drivetrain wears out (it is best to replace cassette, chain and chainrings at the same time as they wear into each other), but UGI can also get the best of you and force you to throw out the old 9 speed mountain biking components earlier than planned.

Now that the more affordable options are available (relatively has bike parts are getting increasingly expensive), have you upgraded to 10 speed mountain biking yet?

[polldaddy poll=5002385]



eDub August 11, 2011 - 10:27 am

I rode 2×10 for a couple hours at one of the best East Coast trails (Patapsco) during a SRAM demo and wasn’t impressed at all. More than a few of us had issues with the chain coming off. Also, my gear ratios on a 94/58 triple 38/32/20 with 11-34t cassette are much better than any of the 2×10 SRAM offerings (I tend to stay in the middle ring the vast majority of the time). 2×10 might be a bit lighter but the negatives outweigh: flimsy/finicky chain, less robust gear combinations and more $$$ to throw away perfectly good stuff… not for me!

Eric Keahey July 17, 2011 - 10:12 am

I upgraded to x0 2×10 when my 4 year old Shimano BB failed (it has been swimming one too many times I suppose). I had been itching to replace my cranks for some time and the cassette was worn as well so I figured ‘what the heck?’ The shifting is great, and on the rolling cross country I spend most of my time on, I don’t miss a 22t granny at all. (interestingly, we have just decided on a move to Colorado, we’ll see how that goes)

I did not realize the issues mentioned above about not being able to use a powerlink – that’s a bit of a downside. The Rohloff is a great idea, I probably would have gone with it if I didn’t have a very nice wheelset that was just re-tensioned/trued.

Paul Bell June 14, 2011 - 12:28 pm

I have been toying with a Rohloff hub and I will probably go this route before switching everything over to 10 speed.
I think with all the wear and tear and the number of replacement parts I have had over the last couple years it would be a cheaper option.
I do like the idea of 1 by X so the more rear cogs the better πŸ™‚


John May 12, 2011 - 8:34 pm

It’s Marketing 101. I tend to call it the “law of diminishing returns”. Grannygear says it well…http://www.thecyclistsite.com/from-granny-with-love/

Just ride your bike!

Bracken May 12, 2011 - 8:43 am

With 10-speed, I went to *fewer* gears. I was running 2×9, but with the wide range from an 11-36 10-speed cassette, I went to 1×10. I’m loving it. Sure, you give up a bit of range, but on the upside, you can run a simple guide like the Straitline Silent Guide, and never worry about dropping your chain.

Howard May 12, 2011 - 7:06 am

Some thoughts on this debate;
2 of my bikes run Shimano 9 speed dual control shifters. There is not a 10 speed equivalent.
2 of my bikes run SRAM 9 speed grip shifters. There is not a 10 speed equivalent.

Personally I need the full range of a triple so 3×9 or 3×10 will be the go for me for some time to come. The exception being my AM bike which has 2×9 and no big ring.

With 3×10 you at best get one gear extra over 3×9 ie running a 36 tooth cassette or you get one extra gear between 11 and 34. Hardly worth the effort and expense of changing over for. Also you can get 9 speed 36 tooth cassettes now anyway.

For those who can handle the reduced range of gearing that comes with 2×10 versus 3×9 then go for it and enjoy riding the wheels off your bike. PS I run a 30/42/52 triple on my road bike too.

Wandering Justin May 9, 2011 - 11:21 am

I will cling to 9 as long as possible. I love being able to pop the chain off for a good cleaning. Sure, you can kind of do that with 10, but you need a new master link. Not so with the old 9s.

Rob L May 5, 2011 - 7:46 am

They came on my new Trek last fall, and I have to say I really like it in general, I’m running 3×10 now with a standard triple up front, my next upgrade after new wheels this summer will be switching to a 2x front with a 24 and 36 gearing versus the stock triple.

would i upgrade my 5 year old giant. Nope.

Skadamo May 4, 2011 - 3:20 pm

When my 9 spd wears our 9 speed will hopefully be dirt cheap. 9 speed for life! Or at least until supply runs out. πŸ˜‰

West May 3, 2011 - 7:56 pm

I’m wait for 10 speed twist shifters.

Art May 4, 2011 - 9:22 am

Ten speed twisters exist, link below. But I’m not jumping to switch either. I have heard rumor of a 10speed 9-36 cassette and that would interest me.


notitots May 3, 2011 - 3:11 pm

i’m sure there’s an appropriate Eddy Merckx quote for this.

James May 3, 2011 - 11:51 am

I still prefer 9 speed on my cyclocross bike, so I definitely won’t be upgrading the MTB for a while.

Daniel May 3, 2011 - 11:35 am

I like the idea but havent actually used one yet. I do plan to go that route eventually however there isn’t anything wrong with the components I currently have so will run them until there is- or until a new bike enters the picture. It will happen eventually Im sure.

Randy Harris May 3, 2011 - 6:37 am

Some of us would say that 10 is no upgrade from 1.

hoboroadie June 1, 2011 - 11:25 pm

If I can’t score a quality 2×8 drivetrain, I reckon my extreme downhill may end up being 1 speed. Not fixed, of course, I haven’t done that since the 70s.

rick p May 2, 2011 - 11:50 am

Rather than spending the money on upgrading. I am going to use the money for gas to the trailheads (unfortunately I am not withing riding distance of most mtb trails). I don’t see the need to upgrade every time something new comes out.

But the real issue here is probably that I am just jealous of those who can afford the newest gear whenever it comes out.


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