You could make the argument (or joke) that we used to have a front derailleur for such things as changing gears, sure, but that’d miss the point. Single chainrings have made our bikes lighter and simpler, and the accompanying wide range cassettes eliminated any drawbacks. Then, direct mount cranksets made any remaining chainring swaps relatively easy considering the infrequency with which you’re likely to do it.
But, let’s say you want the holy grail of a 1x’s lightweight and the ability to quickly change chainrings. There are a couple options out there, but the new OneUp Switch makes it so fast and easy, you might find yourself tweaking the gearing before every ride…
This video shows just how quick and easy it is to change out a ring…except that you do actually have to loosen all four bolts. Here’s the deal: OneUp Components has been working on Switch for almost two years, and even teased it on Instagram last summer. The design has changed since then to make it more user-friendly, most notably by accessing the bolts from the outside. To loosen the chainring, you simply use a 4mm allen wrench to loosen each bolt by two complete turns…you don’t need to remove the bolts. Then twist the chainring forward 20º and slide it over the crank arm.
The center carriers are available for SRAM, Race Face Cinch, e13, Hope and Cannondale. Most options come in standard, Boost and Super Boost spacing. Yes, and sorry, but Super Boost (aka 157mm thru axles) are going to be a thing. They attach to the chainrings with standard chainring bolts, so you should be able to find a replacement at any bike shop. Since they never need to be fully removed, though, you’re not likely to lose them.
The outward facing bolt design also makes it super easy to change gears if you’re running a bash guard.
The full list of carriers includes:
- SRAM GXP (Regular / Boost / Super Boost)
- SRAM BB30 (Short/Long Spindle)
- Race Face Cinch (Regular / Boost / Super Boost)
- Cannondale (Regular / Ai / FATCAAD)
- E13 (Regular, Boost)
- Hope (Regular, Boost)
That gives you chainlines of 49mm (Regular), 52mm ( Boost), and 56.5mm ( Super Boost). As for chainrings, they’re offering round and oval chainrings in 28 / 30 / 32 / 34 / 36 tooth counts. Sold together as a system, the Switch ring and carrier will retail for the same price as their standard one-piece 1x direct mount chainrings. So, other than a few extra grams, there’s no penalty for, um, switching. Retail is $63-$67 depending on chainring size. Replacement rings will run $40-$44, and the carriers are $23 each.
OneUp says a ring can be swapped in under a minute, or “faster than it takes your friend to put on his riding shoes.” So, is it solid? Will it hold up? They’ve been testing it for a long time, so presumably yes, but we’ve got a set in for testing…stay tuned for actual weights and more details later today followed by a long term test later this spring.