Your bike drivetrain has a pretty important job: It transmits the power you produce with your legs and lungs to the wheels that propel you forward on the road or trail. It’s not one part, but a system made up of the crankset, chainrings, derailleurs, cassettes, a chain and other small parts — all working together to get you rolling and keep you moving as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
There are many different types of drivetrains, each tailored to the type of bike and terrain you ride. They range from simple fixed gear or singlespeed drives to modern electronic drivetrains with push-button controls. There are single chainring drivetrains, also known as the 1x and popular on modern mountain bikes, as well as double or triple chainring options, most common on road and touring bikes.
The number of chainrings determines how many gears you will have, as does the rear cassette. Most modern cassettes feature 10, 11 or 12 cogs with various gear ranges and ratios. From there, it’s a math equation. For example, two chainrings and an 11-tooth cassette adds up to 22 gears.
You can choose to buy a complete, integrated drivetrain from brands like Shimano, SRAM or Campagnolo if you are building up a new bike, or purchase individual parts for upgrades or replacements. It’s possible, and even common, to mix and match, meaning you can choose a specific crank, derailleur or chainring based on your own individual needs.
If you are looking for a specific drivetrain component — such as a crankset, a chain, or a front or rear derailleur — you’ll need to think about compatibility and know what will work best with your existing components. JensonUSA offers bike drivetrain components from every major brand and covers all options from road to mountain bike, mechanical to electronic. If you have any questions about your bike drivetrain needs, call one of our Gear Advisors today at 951-234-7554. They’ll be happy to help you find the perfect part.