I recently bought a REI co-op drt 1.1, and I love it! It could use some upgrading though, and my main concern is the drivetrain, because it is a noisy 3-by. It is a great Shimano drivetrain, but not very good for a trail bike. I would like to upgrade to a 1-by drivetrain in the next year, and I need some suggestions for a good drivetrain that doesn't cost too much. I don't need a specific cassette, but 11 speed might cost too much. I am looking for a full groupset, but anything would probably work.
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Hi @flex! We're glad to hear that you're loving your new bike!
A new drivetrain is one of the more common upgrades as riders seek to improve their riding experience. Modern 1x11 and 1x12 drivetrains offer crisp, efficient linear shifting, lighter weight and a wide range of gears. There are many benefits to a 1x drivetrain over traditional 2x and 3x systems.
There are, however, some compatibility considerations we encounter when making a conversion like this. The most important consideration for your particular bike is the compatibility of the rear hub with an 11 or 12 speed cassette - the freehub body and spacing on the DRT is not large enough to accept a cassette larger than 10 speeds.
This gives us two options - we can replace the rear wheel or hub (wheel build service and new spokes required if replacing the hub and reusing using the existing rim) with a model that is designed to accept an 11 or 12 speed cassette, and will also fit the 10x135mm axle spacing of the DRT 1.1. From there, the conversion is fairly standard, replacing the bottom bracket, crank, chain, wide-range 11 or 12 speed cassette, derailleur and shifter. This is the more expensive option, but allows us to get the full benefit of wide-range shifting and precise steps between gears that modern 1x11 and 1x12 systems offer.
The other option is to convert to a 1x10 system using a specific wide-range 10 speed cassette like the Sunrace CXMS3. This option allows us to keep the existing rear hub/wheel, reducing the cost of the conversion. We'll still need to replace the bottom bracket, crank, chain, cassette, 10sp long-cage derailleur and shifter. This option is more cost-effective and gets you most of the way to the performance of an 11 or 12sp system, but you may notice the more pronounced steps between gear ratios in this type of set-up.
Because of the specifics of compatibilities between all these parts, I strongly recommend heading into your local REI Co-op Shop to talk with one of our friendly technicians about this project and let them help you select, order and install the correct parts for this conversion, whichever system you choose.
If you have any more questions about this project, please feel free to reach out here, or contact your Local REI Shop - we're happy to help!
I hope this is helpful! Happy Riding!
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