1x Gravel Drivetrains

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As I mentioned in my previous article I had upgraded the drivetrain on my KHS Grit 110. I held off on writing a review until I had put the new components through a rigorous testing period. It has been just over 5 weeks and I have logged a few hundred kilometers and so I now feel like I have enough time on the new setup as well as troubleshot all the major problems.

1x Drivetrain Weight Cost/Savings

The first component in the list is the one being replaced. The second component is the new one. Weight for both components are listed. The cost is for the new replacement component.


Shimano Claris right shifter – 237g // Shimano 105 right shifter – 225g ($104.99)

  • Weight savings -12g

Shimano Claris derailleur (8sp) – 266g // Shimano SLX derailleur (11sp) – 324g ($59.00)

  • Weight savings +58g

Shimano Claris Front Derailleur – 135g

  • Weight savings -135g

Shimano Claris chainrings – 311g // Wolftooth PowerTrac Elliptical chainring – 83g ($104.90)

  • Weight savings -228g

Shimano 8 speed chain – 314g // Box 11 speed chain – 245g ($22.49)

  • Weight savings -69g

8 speed cassette – 275g // 11 speed cassette – 410g ($62.99)

  • Weight Savings +135g

Tanpan  – 18g ($44.95)

  • Weight Savings +18g

Total Weight Savings: 444g // Total Weight Gain: 211g // Total Cost: $399.32

  • Grand Total Weight Savings = 233 grams (<8oz)

Or $1.71 for each gram saved… yikes

That is not rust on the chain but rather my bright jersey reflecting off of the nickel coating. Nice!

Problems

I had several major issues with the upgrade.

  • Getting the Tanpan setup took quite a bit of trial and error. Also not having a tiny screwdriver made it a much more difficult process. Wolftooth should really sell the necessary tools for a few extra dollars. Is a size 0 Philips head screwdriver something you ever use to fix a bike? Not really. It would have made way more sense if the minuscule stopper screw was an Allen bolt… Also their install instructions are for the older model Tanpan and there is not a single install video on YouTube… Hmm maybe I should start a YouTube channel?
  • I had some problems sorting out the proper chain length – I followed several YouTube and blog tutorials to calculate the correct chain length. However, the chain looked WAY too short and the drivetrain was VERY noisy. Eventually I followed the advise of those on the Trainer Road forum and added four (4) more chain links, which fixed the noise issue and the drivetrain/derailleur position looked a lot better.


  • When the clutch was activated on the SLX derailleur shifting in the three biggest gears was slow and erratic. I disassembled the clutch mechanism and it looked really dry so I added some more grease and backed off the set screw 1/2 a turn or so. The shifting problems went away.
  • With the front derailleur cable housing no longer present in the down tube there is more room for the other cables, which means a very irritating rattle now emanates from the bike. I have yet to figure out how to make it stop despite several protracted efforts to fix it.

Observations

The custom wheels I built for the bike last summer cost me $750 (including parts shipping and shop build cost). So, so far the KHS Grit 110 has cost me ~$2,275.00 ($986 bike + $750 wheels + $399 drivetrain + $140 suspension seat post due to arrive this month). The cost is still less than the 2019 KHS Grit 440 and the 440 does not come with a 1x drivetrain and the wheels are not as nice as my custom ones (IMHO).

I opted for the WolfTooth PowerTrac Elliptical 40T 110BCD chainring. I have always wanted to try an elliptical chainring. So far I have been very impressed. I feel like I can put out higher overall power, have more torque, and my legs do not get tired as fast. Is it the elliptical chainring or am I just faster after shaving over half a pound off the bike’s overall weight? I do not know, perhaps I should get a Best Bike Split account…

For the cassette I went with an 11-40 ratio (11 speed). So I have a nice 1:1 ratio for the granny gear. Having the easier granny gear has been great on the short but uber steep hills in my neck of the woods.

Since I purchased the bike on April 26, 2018 I have ridden her 3,190.8 km. I have been very happy with the bike and the upgrades I have chosen to make. I am particularly excited for my new RedShift suspension post that is purportedly coming later this month. As an aside I would be remiss not to mention that the KHS Grit 110 has unseated several Strava KOM/podium finishes from bikes that cost three to five times as much. It is a very capable bike.

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