Race Face Narrow Wide Chainring - Review

Jul 31, 2013 at 0:10
Jul 31, 2013
by Mike Levy  
 
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RaceFace Narrow Wide chain ring

Race Face Narrow Wide Chainring

Are the days of multiple chainrings and often troublesome chain guides behind us? Certainly not for everyone, but clever chainring tooth shaping and clutch-equipped derailleurs that act to keep the chain from bouncing off of the ring mean that it might be the case for some riders. Of course, going to a single ring is entirely dependent on both the terrain that you spend your time on and how strong of a rider you are, but SRAM's release of their single ring, wide range cassette XX1 drivetrain, complete with the group's X-Sync chainrings, has proved that many riders can get by without using a chain guide, a previously unheard of setup. While SRAM may have been first to the party when it comes to machining chainring teeth into the alternating thick and thin shapes that match the inner profile of the male and female chain links, it didn't take long for other brands to come up with their own options. Race Face's Narrow Wide chainring is available in 30, 32, 34, 36, and 38 tooth sizes, and it's the $59.99 USD 30 tooth option that has us the most interested as it offers an easy enough range for many riders without sacrificing too much at the opposite end of the gearing when it comes to a lot trail riding. The 32 and 34 tooth rings retail for $43.99 USD, the 36 and 38 tooth for $49.99 USD.



Details
• Intended use: single ring drivetrains
• Alternating narrow and wide tooth profiles
• Sizes: 30 (tested), 32, 34, 36, 38
• BCD: 104mm
• Compatible with 9, 10, and 11 speed chains
• Threaded and unthreaded versions
• Colours: red, green, blue, black
• MSRP: $43.99 - $59.99 USD
RaceFace Narrow Wide chain ring
The ring's alternating narrow and wide teeth mesh with the thinner and thicker gaps between the chain's inner and out plates to provide a snug interface.


Construction

The shaping of chainring teeth is far from being a fresh idea. Have a close look at the rings on a double or triple ring setup and you'll see that many of the teeth look either slightly twisted or seem to be missing a third of their height, something done to allow the chain to move across the rings easier and faster, especially when under pedalling loads. Now take a look at a standard chainring designed to be used as a single ring and you'll likely notice that it is completely flat, with no gates or pick-ups (the technical terms for shift aids) to be seen. But why not shape the teeth to help keep the chain on? That is the idea behind Race Face's Narrow Wide chainring, with the name referring to the ring's alternating narrow and wide tooth shapes. While the thinner teeth look to be of standard width and fit between the chain's inner plates, the thicker teeth are shaped to fit snuggly between the wider spaced outer plates of the chain, thereby make for a much tighter meshing of the chain and chainring. Viewed from above, the alternating teeth match the inner profile of both the male and female chain links.

RaceFace Narrow Wide chain ring

The 30 tooth ring features a machined-in offset that allows the chain to clear the crank's tabs.


While the narrow and wide tooth shaping is the big talking point with Race Face's chainring, the fact that it fits standard 104 BCD crankarms is of equal importance as it allows the Narrow Wide ring to be bolted to the large majority of cranks available today (SRAM's XX1 rings use a proprietary 76mm BCD). While this would usually mean that the smallest size available would be a 32 tooth option thanks to the crank tabs interfering with the chain on smaller sizes, Race Face was able to offer a 30 tooth version by offsetting the ring slightly to sit inboard of the crank tabs. This isn't the first time that this method has been used, but it is more valid than ever thanks to many riders wanting to go with a slightly smaller than usual single ring setup that will allow them to continue using their standard 11 - 36 tooth spread cassette and still be able to grind up steep climbs.

The Narrow Wide ring is also offered in both threaded and unthreaded versions, with the latter using standard male and female chainring bolts to attach it to the crankarm. The version tested here sees threads machined directly into the chainring bolt holes that allow it to forgo using the usually required female nuts, with the male chainring bolt threading straight into the chainring. Crank tab shims of different thickness can also be used as required depending on what type of crankset you are mounting the ring to, with them also making for a nice, clean look.


Performance

We fit the Race Face Narrow Wide ring to a few different types of cranks and bikes - everything from a 150mm travel Scott Genius to a hardtail - in order to check for any chain line or interference issues, as well as to test the Narrow Wide's ability to keep the chain in place without the support of a clutch-equipped derailleur. As for the first two concerns, there proved to be no issues with alignment or with the ring not sitting on the crank tabs correctly. The offset mounting, which is required by the smaller diameter 30 tooth size, allowed the chain to sit just inside the crank's tabs, with no jamming or clearance problems to
report. The spacer caps also make for a nice, clean setup that doesn't look cobbled together like many of the single ring setups out there - no weird spacers or funky hardware required.

The real question, though, is if we dropped the chain while using the Narrow Wide ring. It wasn't that long ago that we couldn't imagine using a single ring setup without a chain guide of some sort, and while the narrow/wide shaping of chainring teeth is certainly a vital component in keeping the chain from derailing, clutch derailleurs play an arguably larger role... or so we thought. We didn't suffer a single dropped chain while using the Narrow Wide ring, both with and without a clutch derailleur. This includes everything from charging rough trails on a 150mm travel trail bike, to getting rowdy on a steel hardtail that managed to rattle our teeth but not rattle the chain off despite not using a chain guide of any sort. Impressively, the hardtail was the bike that was spec'd with a standard non-clutch derailleur, and the bike that had us fully expecting at least a few dropped chains. Not only were we proven wrong, but there was also a noticeable reduction in chain slap noise while using the 30 tooth Narrow Wide ring.


Issues

With an easy and trouble-free installation, and not a single dropped chain to report, we really have nothing to complain about. Our single concern, although one that we were admittedly not able to suss out due to a long dry spell here in South Western B.C., boils down to how the ring's tooth profiles would perform in excessively muddy conditions. We say this only because other rings that use the same shaping have shown to pick up loads of mud and trail debris, sometimes enough to actually derail the chain. Again, this did not happen to us while using Race Face's chainring, but the incredibly dry weather never really did give us a chance to properly test this aspect.


Pinkbike's take:
bigquotesWhile we can see many riders still doubling up by using both the Narrow Wide ring and at least an upper slider-only guide, we have complete confidence in our guide-free Race Face Narrow Wide setup while charging on some pretty serious terrain. Not a single dropped chain, even while riding a hardtail without either a guide or a clutch derailleur on rough, rooty terrain, has proven to us that going guide-less is a viable alternative for a rider who wants a simple and lightweight setup. - Mike Levy


www.raceface.com
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199 Comments

  • + 121
 As a Shimano fan, this is the product, the review, AND the results I've been waiting for!
  • + 43
 Those clever bastards.
  • + 16
 How come SRAM didn't patent it? They must be spewing now everyone is copying and no one is going to buy SRAM except OE.
  • + 15
 It was never SRAM's idea to patent. The wide narrow chainring concept has been around for a while but just never really recognised until SRAM released XX1.
  • + 25
 because it's old tech from the 70s, patent already expired
  • + 5
 maybe because this wide/narrow teeth setup has been used in farming equipment way before SRAM "invented it", wouldn't be surprised if it was already patented.
  • + 21
 LOL @ everyone listing their Rings/Guides and bash guards on buy/sell section now...
  • + 5
 Ha, prior art never kept bike industry suspension designers from patenting recycled "inventions".
  • + 34
 Sell my bash guard??? Bashes aren't for chain retention, brah. Boulders lunch on narrow/wide teeth just the same as standard ones.
  • + 5
 Alright Mr.Pedantic..
  • + 1
 SRAM have patented the shape and style of their chain ring. That thing Race Face is using is just a narrow wide ring profile straight out of the Machinist Handbook. When you have a chance take a look at the SRAM ring. There is a lot going on beyond the narrow/wide.
  • + 6
 ^and all pretty pointless.
  • + 1
 Still not going to sell my bash guard. I hit rocks with enough frequency to be vary thankful for bash guards. I am going to let the price on the newer clutch derailleurs drop some more and when 9 speed has finally trickled out, then I will make the switched to whatever 10 speed gear I can afford. I already run a 30t on AKA cranks and its working fine with my 9speed set up.
[Reply]
  • + 52
 I am most excited about that 30t ring. These are the kind of mtb improvements I love to see.
  • + 33
 For sure, 30t makes a ton of sense - a lot of riders can get by with their regular cassette and a 30t ring. Good setup.
  • + 6
 This. I have a MRP bling ring so I can get the 30 tooth, but the offset ring is one hell of a good idea.
  • - 42
 @ mikelevy surely if you replace your front ring and the rest of your drive train has seen used you should replace your cassette and chain, therefore there is no real need for a 30t in that respect.
  • + 3
 Is there much offset? I guess it's not needed, but would the 30 tooth work with a G2 bash/guide combo, or would I need to space it differently?
  • + 14
 34t ring with 1x9 11-34t shimano cassette - perfect xc ratio, climb and descend anything with speed
  • + 3
 I know a lot of chain devices only go down to 32t, at least that is the case with my e13 XCX guide and LS1.

That being said I hope there is a way around that, if not I would like to see SRAM and Shimano develop some larger rings for the rear cassette that coule be purchased after market. For instance that big 42t final ring on the XX1 cassette, if I could buy that ring alone and swap out the final ring (32t 1099) for that one I would get the same lowered gearing as a 30t in the front.
  • + 19
 34 front and 10sp 11-36 rear
  • + 6
 I don't see why you have negative props, I'm currently running 34t up front with 1x10 11-36 and the range is excellent. I barely use the easiest gear. I'm Also running the slx shadow mech with no chain guide and it hasn't dropped once
  • + 6
 Depends if you do a lot of climbing. Nothing majorly steep here, but some of the climbs are really long, and can leave you breathing out of your arse. Have to run a 32 1x10 and 11-36 if I want to get up the hills here without blowing up. Most people running a 2x10 and wide range.
  • + 8
 I'm a recently repented wide range hater. It is awesome to be able to ride 1:1 ratios, but so far I manage to do it on light wheels and tyres only, which would not survive banging like this World Enduro in Trestle, Colorado. 30t does make sense for folks having 9/10sp 6"+ bikes, doing long climbs and requiring some tough tyres and wheels to survive the downhills. For 2-4h ride I can live with 34t up front with Minions exo, but I am getting sceptical whether I could do it on an all day ride. However I still think that going 30t with XX1 cassette is an overkill and one using it should consider getting into some even basic strength training program... and yes die front mech, die!

I am nervously waiting for next year for those long tooth chainrings from RF, MRP and E13!
  • + 1
 Just changing chromag chainring with 33t to extralite 30t. I have zee rear derailleur. The only question is whether the chainguide mozartt wog mini will support that new chainring. In the specification states that wog mini is designed from 32t to 34t. The reason for switching from 33t to 30t is a local XC race this weekend. Just some of the uphills are not for 33t.
  • + 8
 Probably going to get some ripping from this but I run 2 x 8 with a 38t and 26t up front, old school xt/xtr/stx mix for the rear drive and on a steel hardtail (on one 456) with fat tyres and 150mm forks BUT I bloody love it and although I may not be that fast on the trails I really don't care
  • + 19
 cool story bro
  • + 2
 I run a 32t with an 11-36 in the back and for general trail riding its perfect. I rarely even use the two easiest gears. Granted I'm not doing any huge or overly long climbs but for recreational use I can see needing much more. And if you do, the 30 is available. Can't see myself ever using a front derailleur again/.
  • + 3
 @ Mr. Levy - does the offset make for a good chain line with a 2x dedicated crank? In my case, a Shimano XT. THX.
  • + 0
 Bragging here but I am running a 32t NW from RF and a Canfield Microdrive rear hub and the General Lee adapter. All the way down to a 9t and up to a 42t! Such a great setup with an XO type 2 mech.
  • + 1
 30t? too short...
  • + 1
 I have mine on order and can't wait to try it with my 9 speed - great looking product and a great review. All the gears I need, none I don't!
  • + 2
 For sure the 30T will be added to my drivetrain portfolio. Just got back from a trip to Sun Valley where my 32T and 11-34 cassette just wasn't quite small enough.... Couple that with a 36 when I convert to 10 speed and I'll be able to climb anything. Down with the front derailleur!
[Reply]
  • + 31
 I wonder if there will be a 650B version?
  • + 3
 Well played sir.
  • + 5
 I'm holding out for the Enduro Version
[Reply]
  • + 16
 I've been running the30t wolftooth ring for about 2 months. No dropped chain and the ratio of gears is great for me. The ring is so small it hasn't been a clearance issue either. I'm liking it.
  • + 15
 We'll have a review of the Wolftooth ring in the near future. Great results so far.
  • + 1
 Been looking at a wolftooth 30t for a bit now. Looking forward to what PB and the community think. So far everything is positive.
  • + 4
 I've been on the Wolf Tooth direct-mount GXP ring for a few months with really great results. Good product for sure.
  • + 1
 Just be careful with the GXP mount one Jason745. I bought one and intended to fit my current bash ring but can't due to different bolt pattern. The have a nice looking one to suit, but it's an extra expense. It's still a lovely ring!
  • + 5
 Another happy Wolftooth 30T user here.
Combined with the General Lee adapter and a clutch mech it´s the best setup I´ve ever had.
Bonus is that I didn´t need to sell a kidney to afford it. XX1 is all about the money.
  • + 2
 Works Components also make an equivalent product, I'm running a 36t one without a chain guide but with a Shadow+ mech. Silent with no dropped chains so far.
  • + 3
 Got the wolftooth ring too, glad to see this design come more available and more local. Paid $44 for the WT and £15 for customs charges which is a good price but it took a week or two to arrive. No dropped chains, no noise, no hassle, no more thinking about dropped chains anymore. Even with a single top guide I had dropped chains...not worth it anymore, just ride with one of these..
  • + 1
 Same here. I bought the wolftooth back in May and have yet to drop a chain. www.werideourbikes.com/?p=533
  • + 1
 marlys-bike-shop - if you wanted more local maybe you should have used works-components hehe Big Grin Has anyone tried their stuff?
  • + 1
 Yeah, was out of stock when I looked Smile
  • + 2
 @HalfOrange I've been running a Wolftooth 32t w/ a General Lee on my Lenz Sport Leviathan for a few months now and love it. I am looking at picking up a 30t soon as I have a lot of climbing coming up at an event September 2nd and want that little extra grunt to get me up the hills. I do think I will look at getting either a 34t or 36t as well for a few other events, but I'm in no rush for that.
  • + 3
 Roger that, NickBit. I've got it on my XC setup, so there's no need for a bash at the moment.

Wolf Tooth was first to the party with regard to making X-Sync type rings for standard BCD's but with larger brands like RaceFace, e.Thriteen, FSA and others joining suit; it'll be important to support small manufacturers like them. I think they're doing a great job.
  • + 1
 My NW fits my GXP perfectly??
  • + 2
 I forgot how sweet it is sans front der and chain guide. Wolftooth 28 X 11-36 is perfect for me, gets up the steeps, yet rarely spins out... mind you though who spins out on the Shore. I may throw on a ISCG skid plate, have dragged it over logs and rocks a few times but no dropped chain yet.
[Reply]
  • + 13
 Later front derailleur!
  • - 20
 your missing the point.......
  • + 8
 aahh, I'm looking for something that will let me run 1x10 reliably using my current cranks. What am I missing?
  • + 4
 that chain ring... im thinking of trading my chainguide in for that... if it works well in mudd n crudd. i misread your comment...
  • + 3
 no worries, but you had me re-reading the article thinking I had jumped the gun!
  • + 0
 How long until we can buy rings for our existing dh setups?
Edit: I'm an idiot; just re read the article.
[Reply]
  • + 9
 I want to know how much these chain rings effect the efficiency of the drive train. Minimal for sure but would still be interesting.
  • + 16
 That is a great question. I'm curious about it as well, especially when at the extreme ends of the cassette. I'll try and look into it.
  • + 2
 As long as it's compared with different chain guides though. I would expect most of them to offer more resistance, especially with how bad I am at setting them up!!
  • + 1
 And how much more wear and tear, if any.
  • + 4
 It might be that they actualy increase the efficiency due to longer teeth and thus better support the chain. The question is how much friction do those thicker teeth provide. My bet is that the lower roller/ slider steals "much" more energy than such ring. I would love to see a study how much efficiency is lost due to using outer bearing cranks instead of for instance ISIS... but roadies use those as well so it must be next to none, even there's a large difference in how they spin by pushing them by hand. Then what are they jockey wheels in your rear mech, what are your pedals spinning on, what is the ratchet system in the freehub, quality of engagement vs coasting resistance. Can of worms aye?

How about we ride our bikes Big Grin
  • + 3
 All i know is my 10 speed with a gxp wolftooth is the quietest drive train i have ridden to date. The bling ring i had on before was alright but the off set on the gxp ring is so much better on the wolf than the mrp its crazy.
  • + 2
 I have had the wolftooth (32t) on for almost 2 months now and had no chain drops as yet running 10 spd with an xt clutch mech on my covert. However, I did snap a newish slx chain when getting pedal happy on one of my local singletracks, whether this was due to the ring I don't know?

I have noticed the ring is far more pedal efficient than my previous renthal combined with mrp mini g2 as the bottom roller adds extra resistance. This I would imagine would decrease chain wear on the new rings when in the extremities because there is less chain held on the ring. This also has a flipside as I have noticed I haven't been able to put down as much power through the pedals when charging the trails as there is less chain on the ring to drive. Whether this is me being cautious of chain drops (I doubt as I tend to forget about it when riding) but definitely some difference compared to running a guide.

So far happy with the ring, although rumour from my lbs is sram has a patent and other makes are being stopped?
  • + 1
 It would stand to reason that if the chain is more constrained at the front ring, in order to prevent it from falling off, that more strain might take place in other areas adjacent to the ring. This could lead to snapped chains...even new ones.
  • + 1
 I heard the same rumour about patenting. Well I will buy one soon anyways.
  • + 1
 Nope chain is great running a kmc
  • + 1
 According to the RF and E13 coves at Sea Otter, the patent that everyone's referring to was originally taken out in the 1970s for a touring bike application, and has since lapsed. I also read somewhere that SRAM is considering 'inviting' other makers to produce rings to suit, though it seems it's still being pretty restrictive with the XO1 stuff. SRAM was pretty proactive in getting its XD freehub design out into free air, though, so maybe there's hope.
  • + 3
 coming from a bmx background, smaller sprockets/cogs kill chains. also, there is a bit of mechanical advantage in a bigger sprocket/cog combo. for instance, 25/9 and 44/16 are basically the same ratio. but a 44/16 pedals smoother, feels easier, and doesn't destroy chains on a regular basis. granted nobody is running 25/9 or anything nearly that small. so basically I just wasted your time. but its something to think about.
  • + 1
 haha thx thuff, right on
[Reply]
  • + 10
 finally some other brands are starting to get with the program, to give us some cheaper options!
[Reply]
  • + 6
 I have been running this ring for weeks without a guide or clutch mech. I absolutely love the N/W advantage. RF graphics are a plus too!
[Reply]
  • + 4
 too bad Raceface is so damn hard to get a hold of by phone to place an order... paired to a Next SL crank this may be just the drivetrain enhancement i need...
  • + 1
 universal cycles has them in stock.
  • + 3
 You can almost never order direct as a consumer with any company.. So that is really no surprise. Support you're local shop and get them to special order you a ring if they do not have one in stock. These rings are the real deal. Super stoked with mine so far.
  • + 2
 I'm not ordering direct as a consumer... I'm ordering direct as a consumer who works at a shop... So it's the only way I can order. This being said, I got in contact and ordered two rings and some next sl crankarms, very excited!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 just got a rf 30t and its setup with a slx clutch rear derailleur and 11-36 and mrp g3 mini without bottom pulley(just top guide and taco) . after 2 lengthy rides with both fast and rough terrain I've not lost a chain but it certainly isn't as quiet as my non clutch reg ring with complete mrp guide . its nice to have the 30 but i'll be putting a bottom pulley on my chain guide soon. price for the race face is pretty much the same as reg ring (2$ a tooth) . I think the wolftooth is $75 direct so no harm no foul with the race face. worth it for the 30t
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I think these types of rings improve chain retention, but don't out-and-out replace a guide. The retention function these rings will diminish as the ring's teeth and chain wears. For the most part, guides don't wear out and, unless they are damaged, their performance doesn't diminish.
  • + 4
 Umm...slight bias, maybe? how about full disclosure?
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Excellent, a must purchase. As a single ring rider on all my bikes and a bit of a weight weenie, this will be purchased for 1 bike then tested, then if all is good, a couple more.
  • + 1
 You're going to love it, I know I do. I'm waiting to trash my 9spd X0 rear so I can run this on my hardtail as well.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 i have one now and i've been riding with it in the bike park, on joy ride and all the technical trails and it hasn't come off once yet. It's awesome!
  • + 37
 You only ride park?
  • + 6
 RIDE PARK R-RIDE PARK?
  • + 1
 Cause I got no chain!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 So do you have to fit the wide tooth into the wide gap on the chain ?
Like can you mis-fit so the chain is 1 link out and the wide teeth fit in the narrow gap in the chain...and so on ?

FYI I didn't read the full thing so if this is mentioned above, sorry.... I'm actually supposed to be working ATM, just having a quick mid afternoon pinkbike scive ! sweet...
  • + 1
 The chain won't fit on the wrong way, so it's largely foolproof.
  • + 1
 The chain will only fit wide narrow.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 Just do it! Had mine for over a month and works great! No issues
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I currently run a 2x10 xt crank with single renthal 32t and 11-36. I use a mrp chain guide and taco bash as the 2x10 cranks limits my chain device choices.
I want to run a raceface nw 34t and do away with the guide and pulleys as I've got myself an xt shadow + clutch rear mech.
I don't want a bash ring over the top of the new raceface ring but I hit a lot of rocks where I ride and get boulders flying up hitting the bottom of my chain ring.
Any ideas for a good taco style bash without the guide????
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Anyone know the widest spread 10spd SRAM or Shimano cassette? 11-36T? I could go 30T front, 36T rear for climbing but my shorter, weaker wife would struggle on that ratio for long steep climbs. It would be great to find an 11-38T that doesn't break the bank.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 It is great that they made the 30t - but honestly I would really like to see a 28t chainring - maybe its because I am fat, and maybe it is because I live in SW pennsylvania - but either way, I would think that they could just make an offset ring that bolts to the granny gear spot? It seems that gearing has been making a good move towards consumers and not just racers in both road and mountain markets - and a 28t would be welcome by this consumer.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I've got a RF narrow wide ring and love it! I have never dropped a chain while on a trail ride. I ride hard & toss the bike around like crazy. I've got 34 front with 11-36 rear and saint clutch derailleur. During enduro races with high speed sprints down bumpy fire road, I have managed to drop chain 4-5 times. With the chain bouncing around like crazy. It comes off. I'd assume that if I got a longer cage it would keep the chain tighter in the smaller cogs
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I am running a 32t on a Transition Covert 29er and got rid of the guide and granny gears. I changed the feel of the whole bike and has not dropped a chain yet even though like everyone who get one, I triedSmile Peddling like a madman through the rough stuff to see if I could get some movement or noise or anything....NOTHING! 5 star product and definite GO!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I've got one showing up really soon and this review has me that much more stoked to get it. I've been running 1x10 with a 32 and it is about all the gearing I ever need in my eastern Canadian short/steep-climb-laden trails, so that little bit of extra help with the 30T and the lack of a chain guide is gonna be a great yet simple improvement to the bike. Love these kinds of practical changes that make riding better without breaking the bank or making you buy a whole new bike.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 These rings are awesome. I ran the RaceFace 32T N/W chainring for three weeks on XT cranks, running only a clutch X9 and did everything from 40km Whistler XC rides to park laps and didn't drop a chain once. I do still have a cable-free XT front-derailleur limited in the center position to act as a faux chainguide as I wasn't 100% confident in the ring alone, and want to avoid dropping a metal chain to rub the crap out of my expensive carbon frame, though I may not have needed it. I'll never know for sure.

I then mounted XX1 cranks with a SRAM X-Sync 28T chainring a week ago and on my second day's riding I dropped a chain. In my enduro race-run. That sucked. I still had the XT front-mech mounted, but I wonder if it now can't get close enough to the smaller 28T ring to be effective (direct-mount-low on a CovertCF so no movement options) so whether or not the RaceFace is better than the X-Sync it's hard to know without doing a tooth-to-tooth comparison.

Unfortunately due to the CovertCF's limited low direct mount, and it's asynchronous wonky seat-tube, I can't use many of the lightweight guide options out there (e13 XCX-ST, Superstar XCR-ST) etc). The only one I can use is the MRP AMg but I can't yet find availability nearby (or through a dealer).

Conclusion: I would prefer to run the RF N/W if I could get a 28T to run with my 1x10 setup as around here I really need that extra gear. Maybe as I get stronger I could lose it but now with the XX1 cranks I'd probably ditch the spider altogether and get a spline-mount AbsoluteBlack or similar, which is what I will probably do when I get the XX1 cassette, the last piece of the jigsaw I need to swap over.
  • + 1
 Forgot to make my main point:

As amazing as these new rings are, and however much faith I have in them to work as intended, I don't believe I will be able to get rid of the guide altogether due to my riding style. I'm a switch-foot rider, by which I mean that I always lead with my inside-foot forward. Left corner? Left foot forward. Right corner? Right foot forward. And yes, like a freak, I can jump off both. The problem is that I will often have to make a backward half-turn of the cranks to make this adjustment, and when the going is rough this creates extra chain slack which means that it's more likely to jump off, wide-narrow or not. Yes a possible solution is to forward pedal between corners, but that's not always what you wanna be doing, fighting your braking, or might not even be possible if you are locked up braking late and hard.
  • + 1
 Did you shorten your chain after making your front ring smaller?

I think SRAM is gone down few editions of XX1 installation regarding chain length.

I set up mine the "old" way, suspension compressed on largest cog and checked that RD can deal with the chain length, no dropped chains on full XX1.
  • + 1
 csixx has a direct mount guide that might work for you. they're distributed in North America through Ghost www.oneghost.net It's also best looking guide I've ever seen.
  • + 1
 I stuck with my 38t for REAL men like Jerome Clementz is running
  • + 1
 @sakucee: I did, by the traditional methods too. Looking at RD reach though I can probably take out two more so I might do that and see if it makes a difference. Thanks. I am also going to slightly tighten the clutch on my X9 too and see if that helps.

@groghunter: Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately they look like regular direct-mount only, whereas the CovertCF is direct-mount-low, like this
i1160.photobucket.com/albums/q481/mikelai/ebay/shimano_fd_m780_direct.jpg
  • + 1
 too bad. they just released that guide though, so they might still have your style incoming. couldn't hurt to ask. I've gotten responses after messaging them on facebook in the past.
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  • + 1
 The race face chainring and the XX1 chainring are completely different! where the teeth on a race face ring are all vertical and straight an XX1 chainring teeth are crossed so the narrow one goes in towards the frames and the wide teeth point outwards. if you look at therm straight on you will what i am explaining, its not a huge angle but enough to make them different to other narrow/wide chainrings available on the market.
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  • + 1
 Works too, got mine for cheap in a pre order months ago, VERY happy and no chain loss on the AM bike :-)

www.workscomponents.co.uk/works-components-104bcd-chainring-alternating-thickness-extended-tooth-design-270-p.asp
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  • + 2
 I have been using the 32t on my Mojo since these came out and can confirm that it stays where it's supposed too even on the roughest of trails, even when I forget to turn the clutch mech on! Top product
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  • + 1
 I just ordered a 32t,mainly because nobody has a 30....cannot wait to get it....I've been riding my 2013 Cannondale Scalpel on the middle ring since I bought it,there was no need to switch smaller or bigger....I just stripped the rest off,stock XT rear, no clutch and only dropped chain 4 times on expert technical trail in NEPA using the stock ramped rings so far....I love XX1 but not in budget and the carbon cranks would get destroyed on these trails,29er BB is so low I'm banging rocks left and right...my FSA cranks are taking a beating.
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  • + 5
 be ready, raceface wheel are coming
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  • + 4
 i run this on my dh bike and i must say its by far the best chainring ive ever used
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  • + 1
 I bought one today, (I've never had 2 or 3 rings in front. Always thought front mech suck! 1x10 for FTW. But, I manage to pull the chain off with my Zee crankset all the time (have an new X7 rear mech). I cut the chain as short as possible, I´d tried 3 different chain guides and still it drops in front! Bike is a Ragley Blue Pig X 2011 and its all rock roll but the chain… the Chain!!! Zee rear mech next try if I'm not loose the specer in the bottom bracket first to try if its that. anyone else had this much problem. I never had problem on other bike with this 1x10 setup.
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  • + 1
 I would have thought that Sram would have had a water tight patent on this idea, but good job to race face to get 30 tooth on standard cranks. BUT THE CHAIN DRIVE SHOULD STILL BE SEALED !!!!!
  • + 1
 lol, 'alternating tooth profiles' are not anything new. sram just gave it a fancier name (x-sync) and put it under their 'technologies' tab.
  • + 1
 What about sealed drive why does that not exist?
The only conclusion I can come up with is that would make gearing parts and chain last too long & would sell less parts
HEARS HOW GEAR SHOULD BE www.pinkbike.com/video/218538
  • + 1
 I dont know. Its a cool idea, but honestly its not something i would ever use..
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  • + 1
 I've got the 30t version, and while I've only done one (North Shore) ride, it does exactly as it should, and I personally prefer the more inboard chainline that the ring creates.
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  • + 1
 I got rid of my chain guide on my 1x10 setup with a bashwhich (inner and outer bash guard) and a type2 derailleur. Everything is nice a quiet, no chain guide drag or maintenance and never drops a chain.
  • + 1
 When I first ditched the front derailleur and went with a clutch rear derailleur I was amazed at how quite my bike was. No front mech, clutch in the rear, no guide, combined with the fact that my bike has elevated chainstays, and the bike literally makes no noise. It was actually weird at first.
  • + 1
 I know my covert is SlLENT! No rubbing,no rattling,no slapping,haha luv it Ty RF
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  • + 3
 Damn i just ordered a chainguide, wish i knew about this! Such a good idea!
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  • + 0
 Kind of interesting how the pricing of each ring option makes transparent the level of machining that goes into each - with the smallest ring costing the most. I would think most companies would find one price point and equalize across the line, but RF must be imagining that they can get away with charging the most for the 30t due to demand....for which they would be correct.
  • + 8
 The 30t ring is built differently to the others due to having the additional offset spacing machined into the ring. They would have also spent more time designing and testing this offset design to enure it works. On all the other sizes they wouldn't have need to perform size specifc tests. The extra cost will be for them to recoup the design, testing and manufacturing of this chain ring.
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  • + 1
 I've been running the Wolftooth 30T on my Raijin 1x9 setup for a dozen rides or so. Have yet to drop the chain. I initially had a bash on the outside that I've since removed. Good stuff.
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  • + 2
 I'm glad these guys didn't go completely bankrupt. Always done good solid products.
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  • + 2
 Wow, something useful that is actually affordable! I'm definitely picking one up!
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  • + 0
 No bashguard, no sell. No chainguide, no sell. Its there to protect 50$ of chainring and 2.5k of frame. This set up will eventually drop a chain and that will eat your carbon or aluframe.
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  • + 1
 It's not on a hard tail you should have tried to use a standard (non-clutch) derailleur but on a full sus. That would have been interesting!
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  • + 1
 RF WN 34t just installed. It makes noise. Queerly. What am I doing wrong?
setup include Zee shadow+ Derailleur, Shimano CS-M771 Cassette and Shimano XT CN-HG95 Chain
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  • + 1
 Using the wolftooth product, but I have also not been able to drop a chain after some good runs and now don't even run a chainstay protector! 30t 1x10, 12-36 on a blur trc.
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  • + 1
 Been using it on my hardtail and with sram X7. Doesnt work i drop the chain. So Type 2 sure . But wil it work great with Shimao Zee? Anybody got that setup this summer?
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  • + 0
 can i run this ring with my front derailler? this way i could drop the chainguide and still have my 22-36 rings for max range. does the front dereailler derail the chain off these rings? anybody tried??
  • + 2
 the fd will derail it to allow shifts to the smaller tooth ring, but the problem will be shifting back to the larger ring because there are no shift ramps or pins on this chainring to aid in that process. that's also part of the problem with a 1x9 setup using rings that do possess these features - they tend to derail more often because of those ramps and pins. So use the proper chainring for your application as it does make a difference. for 2x9 setups the compromise for less chain drops is poorer shifting performance.
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  • + 1
 looks like a lot of bang for the buck. I will definitely consider this when it's time for a new chainring. thanks for the review.
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  • - 1
 Flippin wicked! I sold a custom built 2011 scott gambler WC10 last year. I only bunt it with loght componants. Marzocchi rocco air shock, fox 36 talas air forks, halo freedom rims with 4X hubs. Rental bars n stem etc... I LOVE this design of the Narrow Wide chainring! If it means I can build my next one and drop weight of the chain guide too! Thanks RaceFace. Smile it's been a while since I've heard from anything by this company. I honestly thought they were dieing out. But I'm glad they ain't. I'm a huge fan of their kit!
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  • + 1
 Mike, is the chain retention as good with the 9sp chain as with the 10sp chain ?
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  • + 1
 This is cool but spider-less setups are really where its at...chainring bolts, I CAN'T STAND THEM!
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  • + 1
 I'm sold...I can ditch the BB mounted roller and hope guide on my 1x9 set-up!
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  • + 1
 www.pinkbike.com/buysell/1391218 The cranks if anyone (within the uk) would like to buy them?
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  • + 1
 I suppose that this could be fitted on a SIXC which currently has 2 rings, right?
  • + 2
 Yup. It can be mounted to any crank with a traditional 104 bcd. Just mount it in the middle ring position and you're good to go! Make sure to use the tab shims if you're running the ring without a bash.
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  • + 1
 Wolftooth with a different name. the 30T is a happy bit of news though.. especially for those larger wheel riders
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  • - 2
 i have the 32t i,m using it with a 9spd x9 rear derailleur , i have dropped the chain a few times even with a guide ( it is a 34t guide so the chain has room to pop out those issues will be fixed soon ), the quality of the product is 1st class very nice part . i am gonna get a 30t too try as well when i switch to a S style derailleur and go to 10spd rear cog later in the season
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  • + 1
 Works components have bern on this sh1t for aaages!! Pinkbike youre only about a year late Wink
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  • + 1
 I've been running a 36t with a slx + rear and no drops and I've rode in a lot of mud! No problems!
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  • + 1
 Chain ring chain ring chain ring
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  • + 1
 Does anybody know if the 30T ring will fit a Shimano Saint crank?
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  • + 1
 Got mine on my '06 RM Switch shitcan and I can climb!
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  • + 1
 Any way to buy just a taco to protect the ring?
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  • + 1
 looks like a DJ chain ring, but for mountain bikes, hua, should get one.
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  • + 2
 I want that purple ring
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  • + 1
 And it burns burns burs a ring of fire a ring of fire !
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  • + 1
 Works Components and Wolftooth are two other brands making them.
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  • + 1
 Been waiting for this one! On my upgrade list.
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  • + 1
 Darn it! I just bought a normal one around a couple months ago. Sad now.
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  • + 1
 Mike, does it run as silently as a normal ring?
  • + 4
 Far less chain slap than a standard ring, if that is what you are asking.
  • + 3
 how can a chainring prevent chainslap when its the derailleur thats in charge of chain tension, at most the chainring can prevent chain slippage...are you sure mike..
  • + 1
 still less movement from the front end... derailleur does have a larger effect though obviously
  • - 1
 yea, but i would almost expect more chainslap, due to partial chainsuck.
  • + 4
 Even though the derailleur control the tension on the chain, the chainring would prevent the chain from lifting off as much as a normal one. It's goal is to inhibit chain movement, so why would it only apply to the chain coming completely off and not minor bouncing and pulling.
  • + 1
 Sorry Mike, I meant the noise of the chain sliding on and off the ring's teeth. You know when you have the chain on the smallest or largest cog at the back, the chain can make extra noise because it rubs on the ring more. I was wondering if, becuase of the 'wide' teeth, this chainring makes more noise as there is more chance of the chain rubbing against the wide teeth when the chainline is not straight. But less chain slap is already a great start.
  • + 1
 I have been running a 32t wolftooth ring since april. no chain guide, 11-36 XT cassette, Zee derailleur. Works awesome, and is very quiet. eerily quiet even when running in gritty wet weather. it's a total winner, I have yet to find a downside (aside from price, maybe).
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  • + 1
 its only a bloody chainring
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  • + 1
 I just installed 1 but chain is still dropping :S
  • + 1
 Something wrong bro if used correctly these are bullit proof!
  • + 1
 I used with a sram x9 type 1 derallieur :S, maybe chain size? or need the type 2 to work?
  • + 1
 Type 2 is best. But others have had luck with the type 1. Maybe chain size too
  • + 1
 The correct size is big casset, no air in the shock, all compressed then add 4 links to the chain size?
  • + 1
 Yea, my chain dropped twice last ride (just xc too) with a 9 speed x9 der and a 32t nw. PB seems to say it works without a clutch, so I assumed itd be fine for xc. Is it because the 9 speed chain is too wide for the ring to grip correctly?
  • + 1
 I just got my rear derailleur sram type 2, impressions soon.
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  • + 1
 Not available on chainreaction yet. Sad.
  • + 1
 they are but only in red and black except the 30t version

www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=109723
  • + 1
 www.universalcycles.com
  • + 1
 Thanks guys. This morning I tried every keyword possible and did not find. Now, there it is. Just ordered mine. Wink
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  • + 1
 can i run this with any chain/casset?
  • + 4
 Yes, it works with 9, 10, and 11 speed setups. We tested it on both 9 and 10.
  • + 2
 isn't there a chain width difference going from 9 to 10 then to 11? as in an 11 speed chain would be a snugger fit?
  • + 2
 ^ Thanks Mike, I was looking through to see what chain you guys tested with as I'm still using a 9spd setup
  • + 7
 there seems to be some contention on the exact inner measurements of 10sp chains (and each manufacturer went with a different outer measurement for 10sp, making things more confusing) but it seems to be pretty well accepted that 11sp SRAM uses the same size cogs as 10sp, just spaced closer together, and with thinner chain link plates, therefore having the same inner width as 10sp SRAM.
  • + 1
 oh ok, thanks for clarifying man!
  • + 1
 It works great without a guide. I have a 32t all sram xx 10speed drivetrain on my Ibis HD. At first I couldn't believe it but still no problems. Never tried with x9, now you have me thinking about some other applications. The only problem is I do occationally spin out of the 32t at high speeds. Waiting for sram to come out with a 9t rear if its possible, please!!!!!
  • + 1
 just get a 34t and you won't need a 9t on the back
  • + 1
 I don't really spend money on parts that often. The ground clearance was more important when I did this build. If its not broken I won't fix, already spent a grip on the xx groupo. Brakes are decent but a little scary in the mud.
  • + 1
 9t mhm... for those who only-ride-park or at least drive to the woods, it might be a good thing. But for people doing lots of mileage to get to and from the trails it would wear out way too fast
  • + 1
 Thats a misconception the 9t wearing out fast. Actually 8t wears and probably the smallest chain wrap we ever going to see. If anyone could figure this out it would be sram-germany. Remember when 10t was impossible? Not much differance but the 9t with a 30t front would be very nice compact setup, and still achieve higher speed gear ratio. Actually 30X9 has higher ratio than 32X10. The 34X10 is higher than both but I like compact lightweight and clearance. Look forward to whats next coming out from sram.
  • - 1
 Fancy a diamond cog? - that would be something, screw Carbon, screw Ti - diamonds are forever!
  • + 1
 Nah the aluminum or steel works for me.
  • + 1
 Typical male!
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  • + 1
 Should be 2 links man!
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  • - 1
 I love seeing all the 1X drivetrain improvements! Bring on 650B 1X11 !!!!111!!!oneoneone!!!
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  • - 1
 Works components have been making these for ages...pb is a year late and every time I post this is gets removed haha! ! Wink
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