Over the last few years, you may have noticed that most mountain bikes today come with only a rear derailleur. The reason being that it decreases weight, helps reduce the number of parts to break, and a 1X11 makes the problem of chain drop a thing of the past. In part because of the addition of a clutch to the rear derailleur, which increases chain tension. If you have a mountain bike with both derailleurs, should you remove front derailleur? The answer shockingly is a NO.
Why Would Someone Remove The Front
The pro to a front derailleur, it does give you more shifting options which is nice for climbing. The cons of a front derailleur, creates poor chainline if not used correctly and causes lots of over lap in gear ratios and poor drivetrain life. More likely to have a chain drop and also that outer ring is sharp and can do some damage to your calf.
Technology Has Come Far
Bike designers have caught on that the cost-benefit of only having a rear derailleur is huge. Less moving parts means less breaking of stuff. And not to delve too deeply into the mechanics, but on average when you move from two gears in the front by ten in the back (2×10) to a 1×11, you only lose one gear off the bottom and your top gear is very similar. This means even the power ratio is almost identical. There are options that may even increase the available ratios.
On The Surface It Might Be OK But It Isn’t
Now that you’re interested in ripping that darn thing off, should you? Absolutely not. There’s a lot of thought that goes into designing mountain bikes. And that includes if it has both or only a rear derailleur. First of all, the frame on a bike with both doesn’t have as much space on the back, meaning you’ll only be able to fit a 1×10 not a 1×11. If it’s an old 26” you might find the gear ratio can move that smaller wheel but if its not you’ll find yourself struggling on climbs. In addition, many of the advantages of having a front one is better suspension performance which may be lost or not factored in to the new chain line placement.
Up Your Bike Not Upgrade
All though there are a few options if you’re totally strapped for cash and can do the work yourself. But by the time you get a local bike shop involved it’s better to just make the upgrade in the bike. Simply put, upgrading to a 1×10 is costly and not always worth it. Instead, use that money and get yourself a used bike with a 1×11 or even a new model. You’ll be glad you did.