First Look: Race Face Prototype XX1 Compatible Narrow/Wide Chain Rings

First Look: Race Face Prototype XX1 Compatible Narrow/Wide Single Chain Rings

It appears that it won’t be long until Race Face joins the growing list of companies providing XX1 compatible chainrings that will retrofit existing cranks. Official details won’t be released until Sea Otter, but we got a little sneak peek at what’s down the pipeline.

Get all the details as well as why companies are able to make these rings, after the break!

First Look: Race Face Prototype XX1 Compatible Narrow/Wide Single Chain Rings

Built on the same narrow-wide principle as all of the other XX1 compatible single rings on the market, word is that the Race Face Narrow/Wide Single ring will be compatible with 11, 10 and even 9 speed chains allowing you to ditch the front derailleur with almost any set up. Built with the characteristic stiffness and performance of other Race Face single rings, the narrow/wide rings will be offered in 32-38t, 104 BCD rings with plenty of Ano color options to match your current Race Face cranks. Weight of the new 32T ring is said to be 38g. Full details from the Otter!

On a side note, we asked Race Face why everyone has been able to produce narrow/wide rings without infringing on any patented designs from SRAM. The surprising answer, is that the concept of narrow-wide chainring goes back to an expired patent from the 1970’s. Race Face, and we’re assuming everyone else other than SRAM, has designed the tooth profiling within the scope of that expired patent, to avoid any patent infringement and create a ring with excellent chain retention properties. Sram will likely be able to patent some of the aspects of XX1, though companies like Race Face have been very careful to design their own versions of this what’s-old-is-new-again technology.


28 thoughts on “First Look: Race Face Prototype XX1 Compatible Narrow/Wide Chain Rings

  1. So when are we going to see this for a 5 bolt road crank?

    i would love to see a 110 or 130 BCD in say 36 to 44 tooth, so we can use it on cyclocross and commuter bikes, would even be an option for those doing hillclimbs.

    Please component manafacturuers, those of us who like 1x(whatever u like) drivetrains ride more that just MTB’s

  2. Right on Andy! Race face give us 38, 40 and 42 with compact/road bcd. Combo with the new clutch rear derailleurs and you have a bomber single cx set-up that doesn’t need any front guard.


  3. This RF ring does not look like the Sram ring because of the potential patent issues discussed in the article. They are working within the confines of the old patent of the narrow/wide tooth profile.

  4. @Lev Where are you getting that information? You do realize that every single part gets designed in Canada by Raceface themselves, right? Raceface =/= knockoff.

  5. I agree with Lev. The shaping the XX1 single ring is really simple, wide teeth for wide links, and skinny teeth for skinny links. Its surprising that no one came out with it before, for mtn, CX or town bike use. However, the didn’t, Sram was first. The fact that now everyone comes out with similarly shaped chain rings for XX1 or other 1x applications, even if they did their own design, is still a cheap knock off of Sram’s idea.

  6. The main point being that it really isn’t Sram’s idea or concept either. You defeated your own point with your own argument. Very nice work Reid…haha…

  7. So you are telling me that Race Face was developing this chainring and SRAM beat them to it with XX1? Rubbish. They are jumping on the bandwagon and don’t deserve any praise.

  8. Opening the market to other options is a good thing. Do you want to be stuck buying SRAM-manufactured-only rings at a huge markup for your shiny new XX1 system?

  9. Lev who cares if it’s a cheap Canadian knock off. Race Face has produced plenty of high quality products over the years. I’d rather buy this ring in a 32 and a 34 and run a X9 Type 2 with a 11-36 for the fraction of the price of a full XX1 system.

  10. @Reid Somebody else DID come out with it before – there’s a(n expired) patent from the 1970s, which is why RF and others can produce the wide/narrow tooth pattern without fear of patent infringement. The only reason it didn’t hit then is the rest of the drivetrain and the style of riding in the 1970s, along with the manufacturing technology, didn’t make it feasible to be a commercial product.

    Now, with wide range cassettes, faster riding and rougher terrain, it makes a lot more sense – and CNC machining allows it to be produced much cheaper and more precisely. SRAM brought it back, and they may have come up with the idea again independently, but they didn’t invent it.

  11. @Lev, you need to realize that there is a difference between a high quality imitation and a cheap knock-off. RaceFace produces high quality components, and are trying to remain competitive in one of the most competitive markets in the world. RaceFace recognized a good idea with XX1 and created a direct competitor. By your logic, any bicycle in the world is a “cheap knockoff” of the first diamond-framed bicycle ever. This is business, there is no room to be offended by a company using another company’s idea. It’s not infringement, it’s competition. If you’re offended, by the SRAM chainring instead. Let your purchases speak for you.

  12. @Andy: for this to work one needs a one way clutch rear derailler as well. That is why nobody bothered with the concept before Shadow+ and SRAM’s knockoff became available.

  13. @Lev, what part of “the concept of narrow-wide chainring goes back to an expired patent from the 1970?s.” don’t you understand?

  14. Got one of these the first week they came out, approx June 11th. 36 tooth red on my Rocky Mountain Vertex 950rls. Works perfectly!!!! The rear derailleur is a 10 spd Sram x9, not type 2. I have not dropped a chain as of yet. Keep in mind this is a hardtail 29er and is ridden as such. That being said I do ride my bikes hard up and down. By removing the front derailleur and everything associated with it I removed over a pound on the bike. This product simply works! Plus it makes for a very clean looking, simple setup. Thank you Race Face!

  15. I would like to test a 50t N/W chainring with 10-42 casstte on a road bike, this setup has greater range than 34-28 and 53-11

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