Coming into the 2020 riding season I needed to do some serious revision to my daily rider.
A new wheelset was in order as I had just about burned through the life of the OEM wheelset. Plus, the OEM wheelset was a boat anchor.
My drivetrain also required a refresh. Building on prior modifications—carrying over the SRAM GX 10 speed shifter and rear derailleur from my prior ride—I set out to complete the transition to a 1x 10 speed adventure setup.
In a prior season I was forced to go to a 1x setup a little earlier than I had wanted due to a strange accident where my chain skipped off the chainring, bent the front derailleur ninety degrees, cracked a water bottle cage, and generally made a mess of things. My solution at the time was to swap out the double rings on the SRAM Via Centro crankset with a “made in China” narrow wide ring. The BCD on the SRAM Via Centro crankset was odd, so I had to machine some material away on the new chainring to make everything work. Thousands of trouble-free miles ensued.
Over the winter I noticed a crack developing on my crankset near one of the bolt holes. Whoever designed the SRAM Via Centro crankset probably did not intend for it to be used for thousands of miles in a modified single ring setup.
As a 1x convert I knew that whatever replaced my Frankenstein setup was going to be similar in nature. The problem I discovered early on in the process was that my threaded bottom bracket was 73mm wide as opposed to 68mm wide. Why is this a problem? It is not hard to find cranksets for 73mm wide bottom bracket shells. It just happens that most of those cranksets are mountain bike oriented so the chainrings are generally in the low 30 tooth range and the BCD does not make it easy to find a chainring in the 38 to 42 tooth range.
The good folks at Goldfinch Cyclery in Cedar Rapids—my go to source for solving bicycle related problems—came up with a great solution:
The setup is a Race Face Ride crankset with a Race Face Team outboard bearing bottom bracket with an Easton Cinch 42 tooth chainring. The Cinch direct mount system gives me a lot of options for changing the tooth count of my chainrings. After this season I am probably going to install a 40 or 38 tooth chainring. I have found that I rarely use the smallest three cogs on my cassette (11-36 10 speed), but I would like some extra range at the low end to assist in climbing the hills of northeast Iowa. It is the only time I miss having a second front chainring. Wolftooth Components has just what I want.
I was not thrilled to be moving to an outboard bearing crankset as I had a lot of longevity issues with a prior SRAM GPX outboard bearing setup. It seemed to eat bottom brackets by about 1,500 miles without fail. However, I have over 1,000 trouble free miles on this setup and I see no problems developing in the near future.
Maybe I will even give my bike a wash sometime soon. Although I consider the accumulated grime the sign of a good season.