Converting 2×10 to 1×10

My current full suspension 29er (I also keep a 29er single speed in the stable at all times) is a 2012 Salsa Horsethief. I never thought I could like a bike as much as my Niner Jet 9 that was stolen from my garage a little over a year ago, but with the conversion to 1×10…I might be 95% the way there. Let’s take a look at how it happened.

1×10 – The Parts List

1x10 drivetrain
With several options available for converting your bike to 1×10, I decided to go with the following parts:

I purchased everything at Amazon (links above) since they were cheaper than anywhere else (even eBay). Price was a prime motivator for the chainring especially.

While there are several options for the chainring, I went with the Race Face because it was inexpensive and had solid reviews. Tip: When converting to 1×10, be sure to get steel chainring bolts so you can torque them down nicely without having to worry about stripping them.

I was also very excited to try out the Type 2 “clutch” rear derailleur. I had read some negative reviews about this SRAM model specifically, in several forums, but it turns out that there were a few duds when they first came out and also (largely) people weren’t sizing the chain correctly (more on that in a minute).

What is a Type 2 Clutch Derailleur?

SRAM X9 Type 2 Clutch Rear MechThe SRAM X9 Type 2 rear derailleur features a roller bearing clutch. This clutch controls the chain tension over bumpy terrain. A Type 2 clutch is essential if you plan on running your 1×10 without a chain guide.

Type 2 rear derailleurs also have a “cage lock” which allows you to lock the mech (toward the pedals) so you can easily remove the rear wheel.

They feature a 36T cassette capacity, weight is 250g (medium cage), and snap like an alligator with shifts. Delicious.

1×10 Chainring Selection

When it came to the chainring, I knew I wanted a 32t. As mentioned, I do plenty of single-speed riding, so I didn’t really have to guess when it came to amount of teeth. 32-36t are the most popular options, depending on your trails, leg strength, and your testicular fortitude.

Brand wise, there are sexier options like Wolf Tooth Cycling Drop-Stop chainrings or even the North Shore Billet chainrings, but in the end I chose the Race Face for pricing reasons.

The Race Face narrow wide tooth profiling ensures ultimate chain retention and the stiff 4mm plate thickness and I-beam construction transfer loads without flexing.

1×10 Conversion Steps

1. Remove the chain. 99% of the time, this is easy. However, if you are stuck on the Powerlink removal, see these steps here and then switch to KMC MissingLinks like I did. Never had a problem since.

2. Remove your front shifter

3. Remove your front derailleur

4. Remove all your geared chain rings

5. Install your new singles-speed-specific chainring

6. Install your new rear derailleur with a clutch mechanism (Shimano’s Shadow Plus or SRAM’s Type 2). Note: most people run a medium cage, but I chose to run a short cage. I like the added clearance and believe it to shift crisper.

7. Grab a beer and enjoy not running a chain guide

1x10 meme

This next step is the most important step, and the reason you see so many issues in the forums. Shortening your chain to the correct size is vital.

8. You of course want to now remove links to prevent any chain slap and poor shifting. The normal rule for sizing a chain is “big-big (big chainring and largest cog on the cassette) + two (meaning add two chain links).” This is also WITHOUT running it through the rear derailleur.

For this 1×10 conversion, you want to use the same process, but add FOUR chain links instead of the normal two. If you are on a full suspension frame, you’ll need to let all the air out of your rear shock when performing chain sizing as well.


How Much Weight Do You Save Going 1×10?

Some people might be wondering how much weight savings you can achieve when going 2×10 to 1×10. I was curious myself, especially since the Horsethief is so portly.


The old parts weighed 1.4 lbs and the new parts weighed .65 lbs, so that is a nice 3/4 of a pound savings!

1×10 Before and After Pictures

1×10 Cranks Before and After
1x10 cranks

1×10 Rear Mech Before and After
1x10 rear mech

1×10 The Final Product

1×10 Ride Report

This project exceeded my expectations. On the first ride I bombed down a rocky downhill section that would occasionally throw the chain on the old 2×10 set-up, but no issues whatsoever with the new set-up.

Shifting was improved, but it wasn’t life changing or anything like that. Just crisper shifts.

On a scale of 1-10 I’d give this upgrade a solid 8 on ride improvement and a full 10 on ROI.


How Do You Say SRAM and Other Bike Brand Names


I still remember the anxiety of going to the bike shop my first week of getting into mountain biking and having to ask them if they sold any SRAM X9 shifters as my cheap shifter broke and I had a group ride the next day.

How to Pronounce SRAM

Many people pronounce SRAM as “shram” because that is how they heard it. The correct way of saying SRAM is to just say SRAM as one syllable, without the “h” sound.

How to Pronounce Bontrager

Bontrager is another common bike manufacturer, therefore you’ll want to make sure that you are saying “BON-tray-ger” and not “Bont-rage-err” so little kids don’t laugh at you and throw stones. 🙂

How to Pronounce GIRO and SIDI

As you gear up for those epic rides, there is a good chance that you wear SIDI shoes and/or a GIRO helmet. While both companies will help you look cool, just make sure you say “JEER-o” and not “Jyro” otherwise stick to Fox helmets.

When strapping up those expensive shoes, say to yourself “SEE-dee” and not “sih-dee.”

Lezyne…Another Common Mispronounced Brand

Since you like to bring sexy back with your tools, you surely have some Lezyne tools, pronounced “luh-ZYNE” (rhymes with design) and not “leh-zeene.” Easy for you to say.

Truvativ Pronunciation

Truvativ is another very popular brand of bike components correctly stated as “true-VAY-tiv” and not “true-vah-tiv” as your riding buddy says.

How to Say fi’zi:k Before You Sit On It

fi’zi:k makes great seats, so show them respect by saying “fiz-EEK” and not “fiz-ick” like the class you failed in high school.

Teva and Thule Pronunciations

Two bonus companies to make up for the others you said wrong are Teva, pronounced “TEV-uh” and not “teeva” and Thule pronounced “TOO-lee” and “thoole.”

Not quit talking to yourself and go ride. Class dismissed.

How To Fix Bike Creaking Noise

SilenceNothing takes away from a Zen-like ride more than a creaky/noisy bike. However, figuring out where that creaking sound is coming from can be a challenge. In this post we will talk about the top 12 areas that cause creaking in your bike.

To save time, the first step should be to take the bike around the neighborhood and try to determine when the noise happens. Shift your weight on the bike and notice if the noise happens when you are:

  • Standing
  • Sitting
  • Pedaling
  • Cornering
  • Leaning
  • Braking

Armed with a general idea of when the creaking sound is happening, let’s now cruise through the list of possibilities.

12 Solutions to a Creaky Bike

  1. Quick release (QR) – This should be the first area to check as it is really common. Make sure the wheel is centered and that the QR is tight. Both can cause the bike to creak. Now might be a good time to pull the skewer out, wipe it clean, and apply a light coat of grease.
  2. Stem blots – Dry, crusty bolts or dirt under the face plate of your stem can cause creaking. Take all bolts out, clean them, and apply a light layer of grease. Wipe the bar and faceplate clean (don’t apply grease here) and reinstall and torque to the correct spec. Uneven bolt tension can also be a source of creaking.
  3. Seat rails – If you notice noise only when sitting, there is a good chance that your saddle is the culprit. Unlike stems, where the bolt is usually the guilty party, with seats it is usually contamination between the saddle rails and the clamp. Clean the rails (no grease) and reinstall your seat.
  4. Headset – Remove the stem and fork from the bike and pull the bearings out of the frame. Take a clean rag and wipe the bearing contact services, the bearings, and reassemble with a light coat of grease.
  5. Linkage bolts – If your ride is full squish, loose linkage and frame bolts can be a cause of creaking and/or cause some serious damage to your suspension system. Use a torque wrench and snug all linkage bolts to manufacturers specifications.
  6. Pedals – It is typically assumed (with good reason) that most noise comes from the bottom bracket area. We begin troubleshooting this area with the most overlooked area…pedals. Pull the pedals off, clean the threads of the pedals and cranks, apply a light coat of grease, and reinstall. Don’t be “that guy” that tightens the pedals too much. Pedals just need to be snug there tough guy.
  7. Cranks – We move to the cranks, which obviously catches a lot of dirt and crime. Depending on the type of cranks you have, you will either want to pull the spindle and clean and grease, or you will want to uninstall from the bottom bracket and clean and grease these contact points.
  8. Chainring Bolts – Chainring bolts are ofter overlooked in the creak troubleshooting game. Given the amount of stress the chainrings endure, it is a good idea to clean, grease, and torque these bolts as well.
  9. Bottom bracket – Uninstall the bottom bracket, clean the threads on the frame as well as the threads on the bottom bracket, grease and reinstall. Be sure to also grease the spindle contact area of the inboard portion of external bearings.
  10. Derailleur hanger – Most bike manufacturers install hangers without any grease, so this can be a sneaky area for noise. As with everything else, uninstall, clean, and grease.
  11. Cassette – Grab your cassette with your hands and see if you can rock the cassette at all. If you feel any play, it is time to take apart, clean the hub, grease, and reinstall/torque.
  12. Spokes – Spoke tension can be a cause of creaking. As spokes loosen up (especially with wheels that aren’t hand built) they can cause your bike to creak. Grab and squeeze all of the spokes, near the hub, and if you notice any loose, it is time to tighten them up or to take the wheel to your local bike shop and have them tru the wheel for you.

If none of the above work, throw the bike out and get a better one. You wanted a better bike anyway. Cheers.