SRAM to Officially License X-SYNC Technology

Jan 7, 2014 at 14:08
by SRAM  
Source: SRAM

Since its successful and celebrated introduction two years ago, SRAM’s popular single-ring 1X™ drivetrains featuring X-SYNC chainrings continue to gain popularity. In an effort to provide consumers more choice SRAM has licensed this valuable, precision-based technology to two industry partners. This December we formally signed two license agreements for the technology, one with Canadian-based Chromag, the other with the Accell Group. Both of these top-tier industry suppliers will be manufacturing their own versions of SRAM’s X-SYNC rings, to be distributed through their own networks. Both suppliers will continue to use and support all SRAM 1X drivetrain components in addition to this license.

SRAM X-Sync

This narrow-wide design (also referred to as thick-thin) is an original SRAM technology, designed and engineered to be paired with matching SRAM components to ensure proper function. Imitation rings not manufactured to proper SRAM specifications may result in rapid wear and poor mud clearance, both of which may result in dropped chains. SRAM has filed numerous patent applications on narrow-wide / thick-thin tooth geometry. Our German engineering teams invented narrow-wide / thick-thin chain retention for bicycles and we continue to improve on it. We strongly believe consumers deserve both choice and design integrity in the products they purchase. SRAM reserves the right to enforce its intellectual property in all matters relating to X-SYNC.

SRAM X-Sync

About Accell: Accell Group N.V. (“Accell Group”) focuses internationally on the mid-range and higher segments of the market for bicycles, bicycle parts and accessories and fitness equipment. Accell has leading positions in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Italy, France, Finland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. Accell Group’s best known brands are Batavus (NL), Sparta (NL), Loekie (NL), Ghost (DE), Haibike (DE), Hercules (DE), Winora (DE), Raleigh and Diamondback (UK, US, CA), Lapierre (FR), Tunturi (FI), Atala (IT), Redline (US) and XLC (international). For more information visit: www.accell-group.com

About Chromag Bikes: Chromag is a manufacturer of high end machined bicycle components based in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. In addition to a full range of quality components, Chromag also manufactures an extensive line of steel hardtails. Being a smaller company gives Chromag the ability to move quickly and bring the most relevant components to market with a heightened sense of detail and creativity. For more information visit: www.chromagbikes.com


www.sram.com


124 Comments

  • + 68
 Get your Race Face N/W rings as fast as possible while you can
  • + 6
 Got mine last week, whuddup.
  • + 33
 No, I'm fairly sure they'll still be fine.

X-sync has always been patented. The reason (I believe) that the race face NW rings as well as others were okay is because while they follow the same concept, they're different enough that they aren't covered by the patent.

This article is saying that SRAM is actually licensing their design to these two companies so that they can make rings that are exactly the same as the SRAM rings.
  • + 5
 Ordered a new one on eBay a few days ago! Pretty cheap, too.
  • + 5
 Got mine recently.. Couldn't care less about all that licence bulls*it as long as prices are sensible - otherwise I'm back to using chain guides and standard chainrings...
  • + 17
 It all depends on when the patent get's issued and whether or not the owner (SRAM) feels like going after their competition. A great example is how Viacom knew that youtube hosted /distributed their licensed content, prepared a lawsuit, but then did not file it until shortly after Google purchased youtube. Thereby ensuring that the legal effort they go through to enforce their license was profitable.

So, with Narrow Wide, Raceface, Wolftooth, e13, etc aren't very big companies. And, I would imagine that SRAM would need to go after them individually and prove that the patent was being violated. The biggest benefit to SRAM is that Shimano can't produce a 1 by drivetrain without producing something very similar which gives them a competitive advantage. And, if Shimano went the route of licensing the patent, SRAM could jack up the cost.

Another thing about all of the small companies doing narrow wide. Most of them are 10 speed compatible. Which in itself might be enough to eek by. And... while the 1x11 drivetrain looks damn sexy. There is hardly an advantage to running a 1x10 with some lower gearing provided by a General Lee or equivalent.
  • + 11
 My NarrowWide ring is one of the simplest and best upgrades I've made in ages. 2 less teeth on my 1x10, plus nary a dropped chain after months of use, with only a regular rear DR. Oh, and my chain wear is just fine. Whatever to X-sync.
  • - 9
flag taletotell (Jan 7, 2014 at 17:02) (Below Threshold)
 Sram said they are eager to enforce their patent. What a bunch of dirtbags.
  • + 17
 Yeah why would you invest all that R&D and not give away the tech. Pure scum.
  • + 18
 Sorry. I have a thing about patents. I think that they should be 5 years non-renewable, retroactive to the first day of sale.
In this case it wasn't even a new idea in the cog world, just new to bikes so very little r&d. They had a huge jump on everyone else, and if they couldn't capitalize on it because they charged a butt load ($100) so nobody bought it then I have no sympathy.
competition spurs innovation, not monopolies on basic concepts.
  • + 5
 I publicly won't support any company it is licensed to. Take that sram!
  • + 3
 Just put on my n/w chainring
  • + 4
 That's probably because you don't realize how much it costs to develop a product. Ignorance is bliss. Most of the times they do not get it right the first time, they have to spend a bunch of money to get it right.
  • + 5
 Thanks Protour, for letting the world know exactly where you stand on the issue Razz
  • + 6
 protour! the legend returns, and it appears for better. welcome back to the sane world.
  • + 3
 so are you suggesting race face had to spend less because they stole the design from sram? That is what sram is claiming. I guess it might be true, though that would seem unlikely since the concept had already fully hashed out mechanically, and either way both companies would have had to do the same research and development to create what is a very similar product.
What I mean is, their costs seem like they would have been the same, even if RF stole the concept, because either way they have the same costs for drafting, testing, etc. I think sram just tries to ask for more because when people buy 1x11 they tend to just get the whole kit, not worrying about the price of any part alone.
This business plan worked for sram until 1up made it likely most people would go 1x10, and be shopping for a front ring all by its self. Suddenly sram was going to lose market share and they had 3 choices: innovate, lose money, or litigate.
They chose the third, and given the pattern I'd expect to see them try to take down 1up if they can figure out how.
  • + 2
 Sram can claim anything they want, just like maestro can claim anything about DW or DW about ABP or whatever, its for the experts to decide. I am by no means defending Sram. I would think its stupid to buy xx1 for a bazillion dollars when you can get a 1x10 with a 40 tooth cog on ebay or a oneup chainring for a tenth of the price. What I am arguing is this statement: "I have a thing about patents. I think that they should be 5 years non-renewable"... if it were to be like that no company would invest in making a new processor for your computer, engine for your car, medicine for your children...they would have no incentive to do so. Patents, as I'm sure you know, don't only exist in the bike industry.
  • + 5
 I think what raceface did was saw the idea on sram, identified it as being a good business plan, got one of their salaried emloyees to use a cad package they had already paid for to slightly redesign their existing chainring to be wider on half of the teeth, then sent it to the CNC machine. It would have cost them next to nothing to do. I bet it was more of a hassle making the wider threaded interface for the 30t version than making the existng ring thick-thin. All you people harping on about R&D are niave at best. All of the work would have been carried out by employees who were already on the books using tools and software that was already paid for.
The reason sram will not be able to touch RF, e13, etc, is because sram didn't invent it. I bet theirs works better, but not better enough to make me want to buy one, unless they cost the same.
Is it just me, or do you think thick/thin rings are too expensive? Last e13 ring I bought, a year agoor so, was about 25 quid. Now they want 45 for thick/thin. It think that in itself is a joke. I want one, but not enough to pay double. Hopefully the price will come down closer to that of a normal ring in the next few months.
  • + 7
 Um, MrPink51--is Chromag all that much bigger than Raceface? I think not.
  • + 0
 I think they are look at the # of people that have bought race far narrow wide rings alone compaired to those who have bought any chromag part.... I can bet that there won't be a large difference there... But what about maybe all of the whole race face lineup everyone is loving the new race face persay.... I bet if you compaired the two you'd have different results than those your speaking of now mr.meger
  • + 3
 If I had to guess, I'd say Chromag is a lot smaller than Raceface. I guess they thought it was worth it to pay the licence fee because there is a lot more tech going on with Sram's design. Chromag must believe it's going to make enough of a difference to function to take a lot of sales from RF in the long term. If I could have a proper Xsync ring made by Chromag for the same as a simple thick tin from RF or e13, I'd take the Chromag. Having said that, with all the marketing Vital, Bikeradar and PB have done for RF, they've probably already made a million bucks off the 30t ring alone. I was at a small race in Taiwan two weeks ago and saw about 8 of them. They must be making production runs of 100,000, can't make them quick enough!
  • + 2
 I don't know why Chromag signed the deal, and I certainly wasn't trying to insinuate they got pressured into the deal. For businesses like this, which are frankly late to the narrow-wide party, it's beneficial for them to be seen as the authentic "licensed" version of "X-sync" as it gives them a competitive advantage in the eyes of naive consumers. It also benefits Sram to get people on-board with their license agreements (albeit with the cost hidden away) because it makes their legal grounds seem more justified.

It's all business when it comes down to it. It's not about what is fair or what is not. It's about leverage and profitability. People won't try to sell a product if they think it won't be profitable. They will not go after a competitor if it does not pass a cost benefit analysis. And small companies won't stop producing narrow wide independently (AMEN) until they are hit with a cease and desist order from the court. Shit, I wouldn't. Wink

So, which is the best NON-SRAM narrow wide. I like RF, but was leaning toward e-13 because of the variable spacing. Besides that they all seem like the same shit. Thoughts?
  • + 3
 Firstly, no-one here knows the nature of (range, scope, location) of the patents that SRAM have applied for, or how the prior art linked to elsewhere here (www.google.com/patents/US4174642) affects the SRAM attempts to patent their version of the narrow-wide ring, as a result, all our talk here is purely conjecture; well informed conjecture in some places true, however, still conjecture.

What can be said however is that SRAM, if granted a patent, will then have open to it the possibility of patent monetization; that is to generate income from the patents granted. This news is the first step in that process where they have licensed the technology they are seeking a patent over to others within the industry.

History shows that monetizing a patent is a far more successful policy that attempting to generate revenue from patent infringement penalties (in this case that means from the likes of RF and others). It is far more common for costs to outweigh benefits. Just ask Specialized.
  • + 2
 I doubt they will get the patent, but this might be public relations manipulation in an attempt to help their cause. They might just be attempting to squeeze money out of companies while they can, cause if they don't get the patent they get nothing. They are unnecessarily trying to bleed the industry. .. every last drop.

Meanwhile, mechanics are working
overtime to deal with srams latest timely disc brake recall debacle.

velonews.competitor.com/2014/01/bikes-and-tech/mechanics-respond-to-brake-recall-ahead-of-u-s-nationals_312545
  • + 1
 @pink I think the e13 variable spacing is pretty pointless, you can just as easily space out the BB with a 1mm spacer and achieve the same end. I think it's pure marketing. RF's 30t on the other hand is pure gold. New ground in itself, I wonder if they will file patents for the 30t 104BCD technology that they put so much R&D into. God knows how a small company like RF could afford that amount of R&D.
  • + 4
 If they actually managed to patent this ancient idea, I hope Shimano and others invalidate that bullshit in court.
  • + 1
 Sorry to response so far down in the conversation, but if a company make a processor it will cease to be current in about 2 years. 5 years is long enough.
What happens is Canyon makes the strive and does the knuckle box design better than DB. Rather than improve on the knucklebox DB just sues to keep them out of their market.
Patents stifle innovation, pure and simple. How many software developers can afford to pay the patent trolls so they can bring new ideas to market? Only the ones who work for the big companies like google or apple. Patents just keep the big guys on top. More so now than ever since to build a phone you have to use a million patent parts.
  • + 1
 Another SRAM SHAM, like sham wow! They'll patent and buying everything they can now, since they can't innovate. Good thing Shimano is not buying into this crap.
  • + 1
 It is weird. RS puts out great simple stuff, but avid is hit or miss, and the drive train on sram is thought to wear out faster than others. It is painful to associate my go to forks with this company that struggles to make useful innovations in drive train, and when they do they try to over charge and patent troll all over it.
RS/AVID/SRAM does the KISS principle well, but they seem to be having trouble with the other aspects of being a cool company.
  • + 3
 @jaame - Thanks. I think RF is killin it here. Thank god they didn't go under under.

@taletotell - Yeah, I don't think their different divisions have the same quality in engineering. I am completely over loyalty at this point.

Brakes = shimano, Drivetrain = sram, fork = pike, shock = float (although I dream of a DB Air), etc etc...
  • + 1
 I am eith you. For me it is rs suspension, shimano cranks, and i haven't tried enough brakes to be sure, though those i tried by shimano were pretty great. But then, my avid elixers seemed plenty good too, and they get pretty bad reciews.
  • + 1
 Share the link please!
  • + 1
 This link?
www.raceface.com/components/rings/rings/single-ring-narrow-wide

ps. Narrow Wide comes in a 30T - yes please!
  • + 1
 Just ordered a 34! Can't wait to drop 1/2 a lb from my drivetrain. RF FTW!
  • + 1
 You won't regret it.
  • + 25
 "This narrow-wide design (also referred to as thick-thin) is an original SRAM technology"...right, they developed it years before they were even a company: www.google.com/patents/US4174642
  • + 1
 Ya i hope that SRAM doesn't succeeded with this, this is IMMENSLY unfair to shimano for not allowing them to produce a one cog front and x# of cog rear type drivetrain.... And the narrow wide stuff is crap thats the exact same thing as fox putting up a patent on tapered headtubes its stupid!
  • + 1
 That's amazing.
  • + 0
 Im going to become a straight up all SRAM product hater and not buy any of their stuff if they patent the tapered head tube too.....
  • + 6
 "IMMENSLY unfair to Shimano"? Shimano is about 10 times the size of SRAM when you compare global sales. Last time I checked, David didn't pull any punches on Goliath. It's business, The-mnt-life365. So was it IMMENSLY unfair to SRAM for Shimano to defend their 2-1 ratio of cable pull on their rear derailleurs so that SRAM went to a 1-1 ratio? I think not. It's business, and just like there are no friends on a powder day at the local ski hill, there is no friendly competition in business.
  • - 2
 Actually according to this article your wrong there are friends in business... SRAM, chromag and accell have become best of friends from what I read above.... And as for ...... And your saying that its absolutely right and just for SRAM to go ahead and litterally patent a number of cogs on the front end of their drive train...... Im sorry but im calling bullshit and i know im not alone on that call... Business or not... Its a damn # they are litterally trademarking a #.... The is patent office is completely wacked if they let this patent go through... Its rediculous....
  • + 3
 i dont get how they can patent technology that has only been adjusted from the original chain both companys used. but now theyve evan made it so a 10spd shimano chain wont work properly on a 10spd sram its all marketing and how they want to squeeze out every dime and penny they can so you have to buy the products that they make, trying to make custom bikes exclusive to either company you pick i for one hate sram and would far rather have shimano or raceface on everyhting i own bike related. sram is just making it harder for other companies to make the same shit and sell it for cheaper making theyre product uneeded
  • + 17
 a SRAM original?? haha it is funny that you can barely change a tooth profile and think you're original. The narrow wide concept has been used in chain based gearing and drive systems for the past 100+ years in may different industries. There just wasnt a need for retaining your chain in the early days of mountain biking and gearing in the front made this concept non functioning. It wasnt till the more recent desire for a single ring front that brought this concept to the bike industry.
  • + 6
 Shimano Uniglide cassettes ages ago is another "take something from someone else" idea. The cogs used teeth with different direction bevel cuts to the teeth, which shimano claimed helped shed mud and "improved" shifting. They basically stole the tooth profile right from motocross bikes and nobody in the motorcycle world had a patent on it because they themselves took it from some other industry.
  • + 2
 couldnt of said it better
  • + 19
 Do they mean borrowed from other more agricultural applications?
  • + 6
 The Amish want their due! Although they probably aren't allowed to have mtn bikes Wink
  • + 5
 As long as the suspension's mechanical. None of that e shock business for them.
  • + 11
 Who do you think invented the mustache ride?
To any Amish who were offended by that crude joke I just want to apologize and say "HEY, GET OFF THE INTERNET! WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS IS? RUMSPRINGA? Oh,it is rumspringa? Okay, cool.
  • + 2
 Cart springs and a Hite Rite?
  • + 18
 does this mean SRAM police are going to take my Race Face ring away? They may as well cancel christmas too.
  • + 15
 Well Cromag must be rubbing thier hands together haha
  • - 9
flag rideonjon (Jan 7, 2014 at 14:40) (Below Threshold)
 it's funny because Chromag doesn't manufacture anything,they are just a middle man with some cool graphics.
  • + 2
 I thought that Chromag made there own stems, frames and chainrings but not saddles and handlebars. feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
  • + 5
 Chromag have their stems, rings and other assorted CNC goodies made by a Whistler local company that is staffed by riders.
  • + 31
 rideonjon....there's a little more to it than that
  • + 6
 If you ever have the chance to visit chromag HQ. DO it. They will show you how everything works, and they'll even show you where they make their stems and chainring and everything, which is around a block away from the chromags HQ. They are all a bunch or RAD dudes. Rider owned company are the best!
  • + 3
 My Chromag seats say Velo on the bottom, so I think they are catalogue seats by Velo with some cool graphics. Azonic and Joystick "make" some of the exact same models. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
  • + 1
 most saddles are made by a few manufacturers. selle italia and selle royal I believe make most of them. fizik, ergon, etc are made in their factories. I rememeber reading than somewhere. dont hate me if im wrong!
  • + 2
 I don't care if it's rebranded or not, but my FUBARS OSX are the best bars I've ever ridden
  • + 2
 the base is velo, but the whole design and form of the saddle is from chromag engineer and designer!
  • - 8
flag rideonjon (Jan 8, 2014 at 12:18) (Below Threshold)
 Hey I'm not hacking on Chromag.They seem like good guys,but their not exactly skilled tradesmen in their shop welding and machining all day like chris dekerf or paul brodie or mike truelove.But that's what the article makes it sound like.
  • + 1
 rideonjon: Looks like they stick to what their good at, machining. And they do it right in Whistler. That's pretty damm cool. The other parts like bars and saddles are some of the best in the industry not catalog parts to pad out their range.
  • + 18
 Rideonjon…we make a lot of different products and we rely on excellent craftsmen as our partners to make them. Mike Truelove and Chris Dekerf are great examples, and it’s interesting you mention them. If you buy one of our Canadian made frames it will have been made by one of these guys…and while they are independent, we consider them extended family…just like Peter and Chris down the road here who make our chainrings, stems etc. But even they cannot make everything from end to end. There are subcomponents that are made by other partners and this network of professionals makes it possible for us to create all the products we do. Every product we make is designed from the ground up…nothing is picked from a catalog and nothing is nearly as simple as slapping a graphic on a ready made item (including our saddles that are made by Velo – jfyfe your assumption is not correct). We conceptualize, study, design, prototype, and then find the best craftsmen to make it. This is a process that often takes years, and continues even after the product is made. So no, we aren’t all welders or machinists inside Chromag headquarters, but it takes a lot of different skills between getting the metal out of the ground and turning it into something you can ride.
  • - 10
flag rideonjon (Jan 9, 2014 at 10:15) (Below Threshold)
 Hey that's great that Trulove and Dekerf weld frames for you,supporting your local ecomomy is what it's all about,and the guys at NSB are good guys and riders.BUT the issue i have with your products are the failures.Saddles wearing out prematurelly ,stems failing catastrofically,seatposts well just sucking at being a seatpost.things like this have me convinced there is no Destructive product testing(3rd partie testing?) happening before it reaches the consumer.Maybe you could provide us with some data to proove your products are as good as you say they are.
  • + 8
 rideonjon, you’ve taken the topic in a different direction now. These new claims are pretty broad and if you have any issue with product you are using or have bought from us, I encourage you to contact us directly. We do test our products on several levels including 3rd party lab testing and we take that very seriously. We stand by all of our products and if you’ve had a specific experience that leaves you unsatisfied, I hope you will call or email us so we can discuss it.
-Ian
  • + 7
 Never had an issue with any chromag product. Keep it up, guys!
  • + 1
 @ Chromag bikes,i will do that.
thanks,
jon
  • + 1
 @Chromagbikes, come on! Just give Peter a little arm shot for a poor helpless guy in Spearfish!!
  • + 13
 whoa, shit just got legal.
  • + 10
 1979 wants their IP rights back... www.google.co.uk/patents/US4174642

Wow another bike industry "Innovation"
  • + 7
 just looked at the Accell group website and they own diamondback, ghost , haibike , lapierre, raleigh and others......

wonder if these bikes will also have their own licensed components...?
  • + 6
 I'm not sure why I am surprised but here it goes. If it's not special why is it being so heavily copied? There is nothing wrong with companies that innovate within our sport to expect to see some revenue from it. Spending time and money to figure this stuff out for free doesn't make business sense. Capitalism has is pluses and minuses but I would suggest learning to live within it.
  • + 6
 Good try SRAM but not enough to scare other companies from producing this chainrings and doing so successfully Wink
  • + 14
 But you may be plagued by rapid wear, poor mud clearance and spoiled milk!
  • + 1
 Hahahaha its ok race face will just produce a wide narrow ring!( Also know as skin to fat) haha eat it SRAM
  • + 4
 Maybe what SRAM did is give the ok for these two manufactures to produce rings specifically for the xx1 crank bcd. Besides most people buying N/W chainrings, are those planning on a 1x9 or 1x10 setup on 104 bcd crank.
  • + 4
 Used a works components thick thin 34t all summer and still going strong. Superb for anyone looking for an option in the UK.
  • + 2
 yep! works components does the trick ,cheap as chips as well
  • + 2
 SRAM say "Imitation rings not manufactured to proper SRAM specifications may result in rapid wear and poor mud clearance, both of which may result in dropped chains"

Nope, I'm not seeing that with my Works Components rings on two bikes ridden all summer and now through the hideously boggy UK winter, and still no chain dropped and cannot see any relevant wear on the chainring that's any different to any other chainring I've ever had, including expensive SRAM. Mud clearance is same as any other in my experience.

But besides, it the chainring wears, buy another for £35. Still a fraction of the cost of buying an XX1 crank to use SRAM's proprietary BCD chainring (that still costs more).
  • + 1
 Sounds like apple vs samsung. Shimano will produce what they want, but will have to pay sram some kind of royalty, just like samsung produces black rectangular touch phones after settling a couple of legal disputes. Don't really believe sram is going to sue WT o RF, wouldn't be worth the effort.
  • + 2
 Funny how a lot of people who hate on SRAM for patenting this probably have an iPhone/iPad, or something from Samsung, who do the exact same thing with their products, but way more! Makes me laugh Big Grin
  • + 1
 Yeah, like a few here have already mentioned the original patent expired a while ago. So it's up for grabs for any company to use. I think when SRAM patented it the legal department overlooked this and will pretty much lose in court. That is if the justice system works this time.
  • + 4
 This is just a press release. Let's wait until SRAM actually sues someone before calling them names...
  • + 4
 I'm going to patent being a douchebag bike company and sue sram!
  • + 23
 Too late. Specialized filed that patent long ago.
  • + 2
 burn!!
  • + 3
 this is stupid, its a ring.... get over yourselves sram..
  • + 1
 damn someone has the same idea as me.
  • + 1
 If it's 'just a ring' how come no one was making them for bikes before sram? N/W is a brilliant system that has changed drivetrains for good, if it wasn't raceface etc wouldn't be selling them so successfully.
  • + 4
 Go Chromag!
  • - 1
 DO ANY OF YOU HEAR YOURSELVES?? "oh the diameter of the tooth bullshit makes this bullshit so much more relative to this bullshit" f*ck!!!!
  • + 1
 Is there a direct mount option for the narrow wide or xsync for SRAM ?
  • + 1
 Prior art. Time will tell how dumb this is or not. Just ride your bike!
  • + 1
 Can I use narrow wide with chain guide?
  • + 1
 I just care about pedal it dam it
  • + 1
 I just heard shimano are gonna make a wide range cassette
  • + 1
 so!
  • - 2
 I've been running 1X setup w/ MRP Chain Guard since i've started Mt. Biking 13yrs ago and never had an issue. Narrow wide is pure marketing genius though!
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