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So - I got 2 rings at the front, 1 big, one small. and then 9 different positions available at the back.

I know that i'm not supposed to use big and big, and small/small.. but what combinations can I get away with that dont stress the gears/cross chain?
I've seen guides like the image below which depict 3 chain rings at the front, but nothing for a bike with 2 chain rings?

Can i get away with using the big chain ring all the way up to the second from largest cog etc - or not go past the 3rd largest etc? hope the question makes sense.

 

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You're right that the only thing to worry about is being on the big chainring big cog and small chainring small cog. Most of the time you're going to get an audible reminder because you'll get some chain rub with these combos. Other then that anything goes.
 

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I'd call your diagram 'right on'. Some people don't care, but there are 'proper' ways to do things, and what you diagrammed is right for multi-gear systems.
 

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Yesterday tired old man, Today retired old man
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On my 3x9 and 3x10 It will rub if you are in the middle chain ring and the inner or outer most gears. evean trimed out. So I shift chain rings if I nead that lower or higher gear, Allso I think there is a little drag on the chain that you can feel if you are cross chaining, shift chain rings and it feels a little easyer
 

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From what I understand, one issue with being on the most extreme front and rear combos. is that it not only causes chain rub but, the real problem is that it will wear out the springs on the rear mech. faster.
 
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