Gravel bike gearing: should you run 1x or 2x?

Whether you’re preparing to buy your first gravel bike or you’re in the process of cooking up your dream gravel build, one of the key decisions you’ll need to make is one ring or two

A lone rider in a green jersey rides a GianT Revolt gravel bike out of woodlands
(Image credit: Future)

When buying a gravel bike, choosing between a single chainring ( known as 1x) and a double chainring ( hereby referred to a 2x) isn’t a straightforward choice. 

You’ll find plenty of proponents of both drive chain options, both online and among your riding buddies. Both camps will insist they know best. But is there really a better option? That depends on a few important considerations.

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

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Freelance writer

Luke Friend has worked as a writer, editor and copywriter for twenty five years. Across books, magazines and websites, he's covered a broad range of topics for a range of clients including Major League Baseball, the National Trust and the NHS. He has an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and is a qualified bicycle mechanic. He has been a cycling enthusiast from an early age, partly due to watching the Tour de France on TV. He's a keen follower of bike racing to this day as well as a regular road and gravel rider.