Has Campagnolo's Ekar reignited the 1X road drivetrain debate?

Campagnolo Ekar
(Image credit: Campagnolo)

While 1X systems have become the norm for off-road cycling endeavours of all kinds, it has not proven as welcomed on-road. We all undoubtedly remember 1X’s flash-in-the-pan debut on the race circuit, ridden by the Aqua Blue Sport team before everything went pop, with Rick Delaney famously venting his frustrations saying "This lab rat thing is now costing results." The 1x road concept looked to be relegated to the road tech history books alongside other bright ideas like Biopace and active road bike suspension systems.

Road cycling has a staunch yet inconsistent conservatism towards new tech. Adopting new materials and optimised aero shape with little questioning yet changing the mechanics of a bike is always met with opposition. Disc brakes for example revolutionised off-road riding and offer unquestionable improvements to performance and safety yet has somehow been met with resistance. Road tubeless is another recent subject that is sure to light up comments sections when the suggestion is made that its better than physically gluing a tyre to the rim.   

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Graham has been part of the Cyclingnews team since January 2020. He has mountain biking at his core and can mostly be found bikepacking around Scotland or exploring the steep trails around the Tweed Valley. Not afraid of a challenge, Graham has gained a reputation for riding fixed gear bikes both too far and often in inappropriate places.