Given the imminent arrival of the Shimano Ultegra RX-RD805 clutch derailleur, I'm contemplating jumping into the 1x11 experiment. My question pertains to gearing and general impressions. And yes I've read through many prior posts but can't seem to get a feel of whether it would work for me. I currently ride a 52-36 with a 11-28 and live in an area with some hills. No major climbs but typically a ride will have 3-8% grade with climbs from 1/4-1 mile long. This summer I'm signed up for Syracuse 70.3 and IMLP. My W/kg when I race will be 3.9 (currently 3.8 and trying to lose some winter fat).
So would a 1x11 work for me. In particular will I miss having all those gears, or conversely, are all those gears a waste? It would also seem that if I go this route then a 46t up front and a 11-34 in the rear should work (34 to 124 gear inches vs 36-110). I think I'd lose a little on the top as the 52-11 is 128 gear inches and 52-12 is 114 gear inches. Would this be the appropriate gearing for those two races?
Finally what are your experiences during races. did you curse not having the extra gears or do you just get used to it?
thx in advance.
Personally the best part about DI2 is the perfect front shifting, there is no reason to use 1x in my opinion....and that is coming from somebody who has a 1 x TT and 1 x CX bike. You will have two compromises: (1) larger jumps between gears, (2) likely reduced top end speed. You want to start with the limiter, the climbs. Therefore, like you stated, you need the 11-36 in the rear and likely a 46/48 up front to be comfortable on all climbs. The downside is the loss of pure top end speed if you are looking to push the downhills, but that does not seem to be a primary concern and honestly is a very fringe case.
From a personal standpoint the 11-36 is the best 1x cassette range i have found. The jumps are reasonable and the 36 is a great gear for really steep climbs. I switch my CX bike over to gravel racing mode every spring and run a 46 x 11-36 and have no problems with steep climbs or fast descents. At one point i used a 50 up front for gravel races but found it a little too much on the long climbs (4.7 w/kg FTP as a reference).