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:
Crankset: usually consisting of the cranks and chainring(s). For mountain bikes, there are three varations to consider:
Triple: uses three chainrings on the front crankset. Requres a derailleur and a chain guide.
Double: uses two chainrings on the front crankset. Requires a deraulleur and a chain guide.
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.
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.
Cassette: the cassette is the set of cogs on the rear wheel of a mountain bike. Most contain 7 to 12 sizes of cogs.
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.
Derailleurs: These are the components that move the chain from one chainring or cog to a different chainring or cog.
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