by Marc Basiliere
December 16, 2013
Microdrive hub allows for 9-36t range
With all the talk about wide-range 1×11 drivetrains and chainring-sized range-extending cassette cogs, not much has been said about the opposite end of the block. Sure, SRAM’s XX1 and X01 drivetrains go down to a 10t cog, but going that route requires buying into the entire excellent, but pricy, 1×11 system. Back in 2011 or so, Canfield Brothers saw the need for a bit more range for single-ring setups but decided to work their magic where small changes make the biggest difference. The result is a hub with a truncated freehub body and cassette stub that will allow for a 9-36t range when used with the top portion of standard cassettes.
Being hub-based, Canfield Components’ 9t Microdrive system will require a newly-built rear wheel using their 348g model- but every system comes with its costs and compromises. While, if SRAM is to be believed, the 9t cog might pedal a bit lumpily, the system’s 9-36t cassette will provide a tidy 400% range, sitting neatly between OneUp’s 11-42 mod (382%) and SRAM’s 10-42 cassettes (420%). Jumps between gears are relatively small, so most 10s rear derailleurs should shift as intended. Doesn’t sound like a bad solution, does it?
The rear hub retails for $300 (currently on sale for $150/£92) and kits including the hub, cassette stub, and lockring tool sell for $380 (on sale for $230/£141).
Hopefully the slashed prices don’t mean the end is near for what seems like a neat solution. We’ve been in touch with the Brothers Canfield and despite the price cut, there’s more 9t Microdrive on the way. From Canfield Brothers:
The Canfield Brothers continue to innovate and introduce new products to help you go fast and make your bike better! This is the latest in our collection. The C2 9T micro-drive hub. With this hub you have the ability to run a cassette down to a 9 tooth. This hub is designed around a custom step-down free hub body allowing the fitment of a 10t and 9t cassette cog. The difference between the 11t and 9t is about 20%.
What does this mean? For XC riders you have the option of running a 1x set up with a 9-32/36 cassette. You can also run a 2x or 3x setup for the ultimate gear range. For DH riders, a 9-26 fit’s the bill nicely. With this cassette you are no longer required to run the typical 36-40 chain ring. Remember the 10t is 10% taller than an 11t. And the 9t is 10% taller than the 10t. There’s your 20% difference in gearing. This in combination with the new micro chain guide offerings, allow a chain ring of 28-32. You will gain BB clearance, have less chain and have a more compact overall drivetrain.