Mountain Bike Drivetrain

Mountain Bike Drivetrain

The drivetrain, also known as a groupset, is comprised of several components used in the conversion of leg power into pedal power for your mountain bike. They are also one of the most popular components to upgrade.

The components of a groupset typically consist of:

  1. Crankset: usually consisting of the cranks and chainring(s). For mountain bikes, there are three varations to consider:
    1. Triple: uses three chainrings on the front crankset. Requres a derailleur and a chain guide.
    2. Double: uses two chainrings on the front crankset. Requires a deraulleur and a chain guide.
    3. Single: uses a single chainring on the front crankset. No derailleur and usually no chain guide. Common slang for it is “1x” or pronounced “1 by”. It’s becoming extremely popular for mountain biking.
  2. Bottom Bracket: the crankset rotates and it requires bearings to make it work. The bottom bracket is a set of bearings that the crankset attaches to. Since the bottom bracket attaches to the frame, the frame manufacturer designs and threads their bottom bracket housing to certain specs. So, not every bottom bracket fits every frame.
  3. Cassette: the cassette is the set of cogs on the rear wheel of a mountain bike. Most contain 7 to 12 sizes of cogs.
  4. Chains: it connects the crankset to the cassette cogs in the rear. There are different sizes of chains for the type of cogs you’re running on your bike. Be mindful of your groupset when picking a new chain.
  5. Derailleurs: These are the components that move the chain from one chainring or cog to a different chainring or cog.
  6. Shifters: This is the component that you use to change gears. They usually reside on the handlebar as a trigger, thumb actuated, lever or a grip-based, grip-shift, rotating lever.

Groupsets are one of the most complicated pieces on a bike to maintain and keep running without failure. Common problems are chain drops, missed shifts, or shifts to wrong gears.

When considering a drivetrain, a higher price usually equals lighter, better performing, and easier maintenance. On mountain bikes, many riders have moved to the 1x Drivetrain to reduce weight, costs, and complexity since it doesn’t require multiple chainrings up front and its associated derailleur.

Mountain Bike Cassette and Hubs Made In America

High end hubs made by American part makers Chris King and Industry Nice offer more points of engagement and higher end bearings. These hubs have a lot of colorful options to add some pops of color to your bike and will last a long time. These models should be your first go to options for building a nice mountain bike wheelset.


Mountain Bike Housing Made In America

Full length enclosed mountain bike housing is a must for those that ride in muddy and dusty conditions. American made Nokon housing is lightweight and comes with a liner that helps the seal the cable from the elements. You can get Nokon housing for shifters or cable actuated brakes.

Mountain Bike Drivetrain Reviews And Other Articles

2014 Point One Racing Podium 2 pedal

2014 Point One Racing Podium 2 Pedals

Point One Racing out of California is well known for their innovative products. They have some of nicest made pedals ...
Read More
Twenty6 Products 40T and 42T rear cogs

2014 Twenty6 Products 40T and 42T Rear Cogs

Twenty6 Products is well known for making some killer looking parts that perform really well. They recently posted some great ...
Read More
2015 Shimano XTR M9000 weights

2015 Shimano XTR M9000 Real Weights And Photos

Bike Rumor recently got a hold of the 2015 Shimano XTR M9000 grouppo and was able to weigh all of ...
Read More
2015 Wolf Tooth stainless direct mount SRAM chainring

2015 Wolftooth Chainrings – Stainless – Elliptical – 64BCD

Bike Rumor got to check out a ton of new Wolf Tooth Components chainrings that they have coming out in ...
Read More
start to finish Paul makes some of the nicest bike parts available

American Made Paul Component Engineering Factory Tour

Factory tours are always unique. I enjoy reading other people's take on what they see during a tour and what ...
Read More
Waltworks 15.7

Chainstays Getting Shorter By The Minute

Walt of Waltworks Bicycles has an interesting article up on this blog describing his latest personal build. It's interesting because ...
Read More
Industry Nine XD-freehub for SRAM XX1

Chris King Not Jumping On Board With XX1 Compatibility This Year

So far there are a few options out there for rear hubs that are compatible with SRAM's new XX1 cassette ...
Read More
Chris King XD driveshell for ISO hubs

Chris King Offers SRAM XD Driveshell For 1X11 Drivetrains

Chris King has finally decided that they are satisfied with their SRAM XD driveshell and will be offering them to ...
Read More
Endless Bike Company Kick-Ass-Cogs

Endless Bike Company Kick-Ass-Cogs

Endless Bike Company is a North Carolina based company that has started making cogs for single speeders. Their cogs are ...
Read More
Guerrilla Gravity B.F.C cog

Guerrilla Gravity B.F.C. 42T Rear Cassette Cog

Guerrilla Gravity is getting in on the wide cassette range train. They're offering their B.F.C (Big F*ing Cog or Better ...
Read More
Made in the USA Industry Nine Boost 148 Hub

How It’s Made In The USA – Industry Nine Boost 148 Hub

Industry Nine is a fantastic wheel product company based out of North Carolina. There is a really detailed article on ...
Read More

How Popular Is A 1X Drivetrain?

1X mountain bike drivetrains are nothing new in 2018. They've been around for several years now and more and more ...
Read More
Stan's No Tubes 3.60 hubs

Industry 9 To Make Stan’s No Tubes Mountain Bike Hubs

Bike Rumor has a short post on some new hubs from Stan's No Tubes called the 3.60. The hubs are ...
Read More
Endless Bike Company Kickass Cogs wall

Made In The USA – Endless Bike Company Profile

I ran in to Endless Bike Company a while back when looking for American made drivetrain parts. Recently BikeRumor did ...
Read More
Paul FHub 15x100

New 2015 Paul Components Thru Axle Hubs

Paul Components has released their newest 2015 thru axle hubs for mountain bikers. These American made hubs are machined out ...
Read More
Wolftooth Components SWORKS chainring

New Wolf Tooth Components Chainrings, Bolts, and Bottle Opener

Wolf Tooth Components is always adding new models to their lineup of American made mountain bike chainrings. Recently BikeRumor published ...
Read More
Paragon Toggle Drop belt drive dropout detail

Paragon Machine Works Toggle Drop Belt Drive Dropouts

The 2013 North American Handmade Bicycle Show featured a lot of innovative new bike designs. One of the bigger trends ...
Read More
Paul Disk RHUB high polish hub

Paul Component Engineering RHUB Cassette Hubs

American made Paul Component Engineering has put their new cassette hubs called the RHUB and Disk RHUB on their site ...
Read More
Point One Racing Podium 2 pedals

Point One Racing Podium 2 Pedals Available

I posted about the new Podium 2 pedals from Point One Racing last year. Now it looks like the California ...
Read More
Point One Racing pedal prototype

Point One Racing Prototype Pedal

Point One Racing was as the 2013 Sea Otter event in Monterey, California showing off a new pedal prototype. SickLines ...
Read More
Profile Racing Elite Mountain Bike Hub

Profile Racing Elite MTB Hub Review

Profile Racing has a long and storied past. All of their parts are still made in Florida with great precision ...
Read More
Project 321 G2 rear hub

Project 321 Show New USA Made G2 Hub

Project 321 out of California has released their new G2 rear hub. It features Industry Nine's Torch freehub system and ...
Read More
Project 321 216 point engagement hubs

Project 321 Variable Sound 216 Engagement Hub

Project 321 had some really impressive hubs on display at Sea Otter this year. Their hubs offer a fantastic 216 ...
Read More
RCR Fabrications SRAM X Series chainrings

RCR Fabrication SRAM X Series Chainrings

RCR Fabrication along with Black Cat Bikes have created some really nice chainrings for SRAM X series cranks. The chainrings ...
Read More
Shimano Clipless Trail Pedal Shootout

Shimano Clipless Pedal Shootout Review – XTR Trail vs XT Trail vs PD-M530

Looking for a new set of clipless trail bike pedals? Shimano has you covered with 3 levels of caged clipless ...
Read More
SRAM XX1 1x11 drivetrain

SRAM XX1 1×11 Drivetrain Long-term Review

With all of the hype surrounding SRAM's XX1 11-speed drivetrain it is hard to tell whether or not it will ...
Read More
SRAM XX1 real weights

SRAM XX1 Real Weights And Review Roundup

Bike Rumor has acquired the whole new SRAM XX1 group to review. Before they get to reviewing it they have ...
Read More
2013 Chris King headset and bottom bracket

Trade Show Roundup – 2013 Chris King Inset 8 Headset, 157mm ISO Hub, Ceramic Bearings

Chris King of Portland, OR had a bevy of new products on display for 2013. They had new colors, new ...
Read More
Paul Components 2013 135mm cassette hub

Trade Show Roundup – 2013 Paul Components Hubs and Go Pro Mount

Paul Components has some nifty products for 2013. For 2013 they are now introducing their own cassette hub line. They'll ...
Read More
2013 MRP Micro chainguide

Tradeshow Roundup – 2013 MRP Chainguides and Chainrings

For 2013 MRP of Grand Junction, CO has revamped and expanded their whole lineup. They're offering more chainguide models than ...
Read More
Twenty6 Limited Edition Predator 'Merica pedals

Twenty6 Products ‘Merica Pedals

Twenty6 Products has released a limited edition batch of their Predator pedals. These 'Merica edition pedals feature a white body ...
Read More
Twenty6 Products 5 year anniversary 24k gold pedals

Twenty6 Products Celebrates Their 5 Year Anniversary with 24K Gold Pedals

Twenty6 Products is celebrating their 5 year anniversary as a company. To commemorate the event they have made a very ...
Read More

What’s The Most Popular 1X Drivetrain in 2018? 1×9, 1×10, 1×11, 1×12

So you've decided that a 1X Drivetrain upgrade is the next mod on your mountain bike. Or you've decided on ...
Read More
wickwerks mountain bike double chainrings

WickWerks Mountain Bike Double Chainrings

WickWerks has just released a new double chainring set for mountain bikes. The set of chainrings come in a 38T/24T ...
Read More
WickWerks Z-ring narrow wide chainring

WickWerks Z-Ring Narrow Wide Chainring Made In The USA

Narrow Wide chainrings are important for 1X drivetrains. American made WickWerks has tried to up the ante with their new ...
Read More
alternating tooth profile detail

Wolf Tooth Components 1X Chainrings

During 2013 NAHBS coverage I ran across a new American made chainring company I hadn't heard of yet, called Wolf ...
Read More
Wolf Tooth Components 104 BCD chainring

Wolf Tooth Components 1×10 1×11 Chainrings Made In The USA Now Available

Wolf Tooth Components now have their 104 BCD chainrings designed for 1x10 and 1x11 drivetrains available. The chainrings are designed ...
Read More
616 Bicycle Fabrication Gates Belt Drive 29er

[Bike Lust] 616 Bicycle Fabrication Gates Belt Drive 29er

616 Bicycle Fabrication out of Grand Rapids, Michigan posted up a hot little number on their Facebook page. It is ...
Read More
mountain bike 1X drivetrain guide

[How To] Build A Mountain Bike 1X Drivetrain Made Easy – 1×9 1×10 1×11 1×12

Introduction In this article I aim to give you some tips and product suggestions on how to build up a ...
Read More
SRAM XX1 drivetrain review

[Review] 2013 SRAM XX1 11-Speed Mountain Bike Drivetrain

SRAM's XX1 drivetrain is the most high end drivetrain available for mountain bikers. It has generated a ton of buzz ...
Read More
Spank Spike pedals

[Review] Mountain Bike Flat Pedal Shoot Out

Mountain Bike Action recently put together a mountain bike flat pedal shoot out article. They took seven flat pedals and ...
Read More
Shimano SLX

[Review] Shimano SLX Group

One of the nice things about Shimano and SRAM updating their high end parts relatively often is that the new ...
Read More
SRAM X.0 drivetrain review

[Review] SRAM X.0 2×10 Drivetrain With Grip Shifters

Grams Light Bikes has posted a thorough and detailed review of SRAM's X.0 2x10 drivetrain group. They put the whole ...
Read More
WickWerks chainring detail

[Review] WickWerks 2×10 Chainrings

A lot of us are always looking to improve our drivetrain performance. Whether it is getting the next group level ...
Read More
WickWerks Chainrings Review

[Review] WickWerks Chainrings

Slow Twitch has a great review published on made in the USA WickWerks' chainrings. These chainrings use a unique ramp ...
Read More
putting the chainring to the test

[Review] Wolf Tooth Components Drop Stop Chainring

Minnesota made Wolf Tooth Components chainrings are quite innovative with their alternating profile teeth designed to be ran without a ...
Read More
Profile Racing hubs

[Shop Tour] Profile Racing

Dirt Rag has published a really in depth article on Profile Racing. The article talks about Profile Racing's "racing" roots ...
Read More