Renthal is well known in the off-road motorcycle world for, among many other things, its hi-quality chainrings as well a collection of top-notch bicycle parts including bars, stems and grips mainly directed towards the downhill, all-mountain and enduro crowd. After 18 months of development and testing Renthal has just this week officially introduced its new narrow/wide 1x chainring to the public. It’s something cross-country as well as gravity riders can appreciate equally and Dirt Rag has had one of the first available in for testing for well over two months.
During those 18 months of creation Renthal did some experimenting. This is what Ian Collins, Renthal’s Cycling Product Marketing Manager said. “We saw problems with wide/narrow in terms of durability and use in muddy British conditions. After going through a number of different designs, including ultra tall teeth and a whacky chainring with three in-line teeth, we proved the best levels of chain retention were achieved with alternating wide and narrow teeth. So, we went back to the wide/narrow format and tackled the issues that it caused.”
Accordingly, in thick mud Renthal found that it would build up quickly on the shoulder groove at the wide teeth and against the front of them, this is what can make the chain “lift-up” and derail during extensive mud riding. It can also cause excess wear. To cure this Renthal lowered the shoulder between its 3.5 mm wide teeth, added mud grooves in the tooth bed and profiled the front section of the wide teeth to purge mud rather than collect it. This design gives the appearance of very tall teeth, easily sticking out through the chain.
Other design features include a 7075 T6 aluminum construction, stiff I-Beam cross-section and hard anodized finish. Weight for our 32t ring is 37 grams—the same as a 32t Race Face ring and about 10 grams less than a stock SRAM ring. It’s available in 104 mm BCD with 32, 34, 36 and 38t options. Retail price is $60.
I set my 1XR ring up on a SRAM 1x11drivetrain with a 104 mm BCD Shimano crank. During an excessively muddy and snowy winter on the East Coast my Renthal ring saw plenty of thick muck and it never failed. Not once. My rear derailleur could gunk up and the pulleys clog but the ring never seemed to notice it was muddy out. Obviously on dry trails as spring sprung the ring retained the chain perfectly. I’ll also add that the vain side of me loves the gold color and styling of the ring.
Renthal has created a winner with its 1XR ring: it’s been working flawlessly. If you’re running a 1x system with no chain retention device in any climate it’s a solid choice from a proven company. And, being that Renthal is located in Bredbury, England, which is muddy about 75-percent of the year, it’s no surprise they know how to make a product that works in all conditions.
Since the boom of single chainring drivetrains and the narrow/wide chainrings that followed, one item has been notably absent from bike shop shelves. SRAM’s high-end cranksets have long been equipped with a removable spider, but even with the introduction of the latest XX1 and XO1 groups, they retained traditional bolt-on chainrings.
The aftermarket has filled the void with chainrings that bolt directly to the arm, with options from Wolftooth, Absolute Black, MRP, North Shore Billet and others. Now SRAM has jumped in with its own direct mount chainrings featuring the X-Sync narrow/wide tooth pattern.
The fully CNC’d chainrings are lighter than the spidered versions, and simpler to install or remove. They are compatible with all 11-speed XX1, XO1 and X1-1400 crankarms with GXP or BB30 spindles. The aftermarket versions of those cranksets will now ship with with the direct mount chainrings. SRAM also confirmed they will work with some 10-speed SRAM crankarms with removable spiders.
The X-Sync chainrings profile is the original narrow/wide design, with tall, square teeth that engage the chain earlier and alternating, 3D tooth profiles to keep it in place.
The chainrings will be available in 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38 and 40-tooth versions with weights ranging from 60 to 106 grams depending on size. The 30, 32 and 34 will be available in December, with the others following in April 2015.
MSRP for the 30, 32 and 34 is $99.