Let me just start off by saying I completely love my 1×11 drivetrain. It feels bizarre to get on a bike with a front dérailleur at this point. Sure I miss the outer edges of the gear range from time to time but the simplicity and resulting focus I get more than compensates.
That said it’s clear more competition would be welcome in this space because these are some of the most expensive drivetrains around and when you consider the rate I’ve worn through them it’s insane. Seriously. Let’s put it this way, I purchased my 2014 Santa Cruz 5010 in December of 2013 and after 18 months I’m now on at least my 5th cassette.
I just looked at my gear history on Strava and this may help put it in perspective: my cassette lasted only one month longer than my last set of TIRES! Ridiculous. And yes, I replaced the chain when I got the last cassette (as I did this time as well) and yes I replaced that chain 2 months ago. And yes I clean my drivetrain after every 2-3 rides.
Even the owner of the shop was sympathetic when I was getting it replaced with the rate I’ve gone through these, among the most expensive parts on the bike. He gave me a small break on them in fact which I appreciate but it still stung.
Alas I have little to no choice here really. There isn’t a better 1×11 system out there and I’m certain the manufacturer knows this. So I expect to be back at the shop in October or November if not earlier getting my 6th new cassette. And it will likely be from the same manufacturer.