søndag den 22. september 2013

Race Face Single Ring Narrow/Wide - initial impressions

Are the XX1 style narrow/wide chainrings worth the money?
The answer pretty much comes down to their ability to keep the chain from falling off, when running without a chainguide.
I thought it might be interesting to isolate the narrow/wide effect, too see what it really does.

 Narrow/wide and standard version of the Race Face Single Ring.

I've been riding a standard Race Face 34T Single Ring since spring, and have so far put 1400 km on it.
Today I changed to the 34T Narrow/Wide version of the Race Face Single Ring.

The two chainrings are completely identical, besides the narrow/wide feature.
When I put on the standard ring back in april, I ran it without a guide.
When the ring was new the chain actually staid on pretty well. Fast descents on technical single track didn't cause it to fall off. But as I had put around 400 km on it, things started to change.
At first the chain started to drop off, when I shifted from 9th to 10th under heavy pedaling. Even on smooth trails and tarmac. Shortly after it started too fall of every time I crossed ruts and rocks at higher speeds. About a month ago I had to put a chainguide on my bike, to avoid having to put my chain back on after every other descent.

The narrow/wide profile of the teeth keeps the chain centered, and (perhaps) makes it possible to ride without a chain guide - and still keep the chain on.

After I had put the new narrow/wide version on my bike (and taking off the guide), I took it out for a test ride. Little less than three hours of mostly technical trail, lots of small ruts, drops and jumps.
Didn't drop the chain once. Even tried to provoke it by backpedaling over obstacles.
Now that's not very different from when the standard version was new, but it was nice to be able to ride without a guide again.
The real test will be the next 4-500 km's. I'll report back over the winter to follow up on this.

The rings are identical, except for one important detail. Every other tooth on the new ring is wider.

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