Fresh Goods: Wolf Tooth Components 104 BCD XX1 Compatible Chainrings

Fresh Goods: Wolf Tooth Components 104 BCD XX1 Compatible Chainrings

Here they are, proof that aftermarket XX1 compatible chainrings exist other than on paper. As one of the first companies to bring narrow-wide 104 BCD compatible chainrings to market, we’ve talked about the Wolf Tooth Components rings a good bit after we spotted them at NAHBS. The company seems to be progressing at a very quick pace and will soon offer a number of narrow-wide chainrings for quite a few different crank standards but the 104 models are the first to hit the shelves.

We just received a 30 and a 32 tooth ring to test out, and have already bolted up the 30t for some first rides. Did the chain drop? Answer, after the break.

Fresh Goods: Wolf Tooth Components 104 BCD XX1 Compatible Chainrings

The rise of the narrow-wide chainring phenomena is an interesting one that harkens back to the early days of mountain biking where small companies could really get their name out there with a few well engineered, needed products. The Wolf Tooth Rings are made in Minneapolis and come shipped in simple, yet effective packaging.

Fresh Goods: Wolf Tooth Components 104 BCD XX1 Compatible Chainrings

While both chainrings are incredibly useful if you want to ditch the front derailleur, the 30t is the real interesting piece since it required some tricks to get a 30t ring to fit on a 104 BCD crank. Essentially, if nothing was done, the end of the spider arm on the crank would interfere with the chain. To counter this the 30t ring is threaded, so you must use 8-10mm long chainring bolts without the nut. Keep in mind that longer chainring bolts are not included with the ring, so you will need to source your own. I’ve amassed a collection over the years, but strangely the first set I picked out wouldn’t thread into the ring as I think they were from an old Truvativ bash guard though any standard chainring bolt the proper length should work fine.

Fresh Goods: Wolf Tooth Components 104 BCD XX1 Compatible Chainrings

The ring features posts that nest inside the bolt holes on the spider allowing perfect alignment and preventing the threads from supporting the full pedaling force. Make sure to RTFM, and torque the bolts down to 7-8Nm, and use a bashguard if you tend to hit a lot of rocks. The threaded rings are plenty strong, though it’s still threaded aluminum.

Fresh Goods: Wolf Tooth Components 104 BCD XX1 Compatible Chainrings

The posts then serve to push the ring out far enough from the spider that when the chain is wrapped around the ring, the plates clear the spider. This also pushes the chainline inboard a bit which in the case of my Pugsley that it went on, was actually beneficial.

Fresh Goods: Wolf Tooth Components 104 BCD XX1 Compatible Chainrings

At 36g for the 30T and 40g for the 32T, the WTC rings are at least as light as most other rings on the market. I measured a 32t single chainring I had that wasn’t narrow-wide, and it too came in at 40g so it’s not like the tooth profile will make a noticeable difference on weight.

First Impressions:

As mentioned, the 30t ring was mounted to my Pugsley as I wanted to ditch the front shifter and get the bike as light as possible. I had been running it 1×10 with ghetto chain tensioner I made from some spare parts, but the snow, slush, salt, and mud wasn’t too kind to it. Currently, the bike does not have a Shadow plus derailleur, so this test was with a standard 10 speed Shimano XT M771 drivetrain.

I really expected the chain to drop since it was 10 speed and had a non-clutched rear derailleur – but it didn’t. As all the snow is gone, this was a rather bumpy ride over roots and rocks so it wasn’t smooth sailing over soft snow either. Down steps, over roots, and across creeks the chain held firm. When it comes to my trail bikes I would assume I would need the clutched derailleur, but for fatbikes – at least initially, it seems like it isn’t necessary. If the rest of the test goes as well as the first few rides I’m sold. Not only is the 30×11-36 a great gear range for the fatties, for anyone considering a 1×10/11 conversion these rings are an incredibly simple and (relatively) cheap way to try it out.

Comments

SV - 04/04/13 - 11:56am

Um Cheap? They’re $79-120!? 2x-3x the price of regular American/Canadian CNC single rings. There is no extra labor involved here that warrants this price, and probably very little engineering outside of a cad drawing, as it’s a copy of someone else’s design. Seems like they are being a bit greedy by being 1st to market before the big boys (MRP, RF, Blackspire, etc) put them out of business.

Zach Overholt - 04/04/13 - 11:59am

@SV, I was referring to the fact that a 79-even $120 ring is relatively cheap compared to buying an all new crankset to run anti drop rings, not that the rings themselves were cheap.

Joel - 04/04/13 - 12:14pm

The high cost comes from fabricating relatively low quantities compared to the big companies.

Duncan - 04/04/13 - 12:29pm

Wait for the Raceface rings. They look good in the flesh, and i bet they’ll be cheaper….

ccolagio - 04/04/13 - 1:00pm

@SV…considering the big boy Sram charges $92 for their replacement xx1 ring which uses a propritary 80BCD that goes on $275+ carbon cranks…id say that wolf tooth is doing a damn fine job at getting these out the door for…LESS than Sram

why dont you go open up your CAD program and start up your NC machines and make and sell small batch, very special chainrings for cheaper…that nobody else has for sale yet for aftermarket

right…thats what i thought

WolfTooth - 04/04/13 - 1:03pm

All of our standard rings are $79-$89. This is 10-20% less than XX1. The Middleburn snowflake for $120 was a special project, only made a few of them (and most are sold BTW). The wide/narrow tooth design requires a lot more machining than a standard design. These will be more expensive regardless of what company makes them. How much more, we will know soon enough…
Smaller companies have done well making premium-quality standard chainrings, why not with these?

Savage - 04/04/13 - 1:52pm

@Wolftooth great response, and an awesome product. For some us riding in the past, would these work on a 9speed setup? Really like the idea of ditching the chain guide on my trail bike…

Dementia - 04/04/13 - 1:56pm

What was the chain model used for these tests ?

TheGooch - 04/04/13 - 2:47pm

will you be making a non-snowflake Middleburn version?

NCMTB - 04/04/13 - 2:59pm

@WolfTooth, I got in on the first batch of USA made 30T rings from Wolf Tooth and am really impressed with the technology, performance, fit and quality. Thanks again. The 30T chainring with 11-36 gearing is perfect for me for all the riding I do in NC on my 29er dualie, and the 1×10 weight savings are great for the dropper post I now want. Plus I haven’t dropped a chain once in the first 100 miles of riding, even with my predisposition for taking the worst lines possible.

And for those of you on the 9 speed set up there is tons of forum response on the positive use of a 10 speed chain with a 9 speed drivetrain. I ran the narrower 10 speed chain for a year on my last 9 speed set up and never had any issues. Wolf tooth does recommend the clutched rear der with this chainring, but it looks like Zach is using a regular rear der so I think it can totally be done with only the chain swap. If you are really in the hacker mood, I hear you can run a Sram 9 speed shifter with the new Shimano 10 speed rear derailleurs as the cable pull is almost effectively the same. That would be a sweet set up.

Zach Overholt - 04/04/13 - 3:21pm

Dementia, I guess I could have made that a bit more clear – it was a 10 Speed XT HG94 chain.

Dementia - 04/04/13 - 3:29pm

Ok, thanks, so a “classic” 10 speeds chain. Thanks !

Jesse - 04/04/13 - 4:25pm

Will the SRAM crank specific chainrings also be in black? Somewhere along the line I read that Wolftooth wasn’t anodizing, so I was expecting silver/raw, but the black looks great!

Greg - 04/04/13 - 4:49pm

Any plans for 36 or 38 tooth for us mashers?

Tes - 04/04/13 - 5:19pm

@Wolftooth: Please consider making the SRAM direct-mount rings in small sizes to enable real mountain 1x climbing for mountain bikes. For 1×10 using 11-36, this requires 27T, 26T, 25T by my calculations and possibly smaller for the big wheels.

slyfink - 04/04/13 - 5:32pm

I received and mounted my 32 tooth on Tuesday and rode wednesday night. It looks beautiful and dealing wolftooth was pleasant and simple. The ring is replacing a regular ramped 32 tooth ring. On that same ride on my previous setup I lost my chain at least 6 times. Last night, not once. It’s only one ride, but it seems promising. For reference, I’m running an 11×36 xt cassette, zee short cage derailleur, kmc chain, on an Ibis Mojo HD.

I’m a happy camper.

Woof - 04/04/13 - 6:44pm

@Tes – Right on !!! We need smaller sizes in these rings for mountain climbing and for use with 29′er wheels. I’d like to see a 28T or 26T ring.

WolfTooth - 04/04/13 - 8:26pm

@Savage — a few customers are running 9-speed setups and reporting good results. It will function just fine, chain retention may or may not be as good as you require. Try it and let us know.
@Jesse — black anodize is the only choice for now. Maybe colors eventually though.
@Greg — the 104 x 36T will be ready soon and we will do a 38T eventually.
@Tes — yes the smaller sizes are planned for sure. Note that only even tooth counts are possible with this design.

Osiris - 04/05/13 - 12:57am

I would love it if you guys made a 102bcd sizing, because right now theres only 1 single ring maker for m960 cranks Blackspire. And the M960′s are quite popular modded to run one ring.

Brad - 04/05/13 - 2:28am

I’m eagerly waiting for the XTR M985 1x rings.

JR - 04/05/13 - 7:01am

Any chance you guys are working on a 34-35t for 80 BCD? I think the threaded design for the 30 would work primo for that!

Haywood - 04/05/13 - 7:56am

Well, I’ve only had 1 ride on my 30t, but it performed flawlessly through a section of trail I know very well and can repeatedly drop a chain on with ease. I guess I’ll set up the 32t on my other bike without shadow plus and see if it yields similar results.

Brian - 04/05/13 - 8:03am

Anyone got a source for the long chainring bolts?

emike - 04/05/13 - 8:03am

+1 for 102BCD chainrings. 32/34/36T

Matt - 04/06/13 - 2:34pm

+2 for 102 bcd rings!

Ratas - 04/07/13 - 12:26pm

Yes, +3 for 102 bcd rings!

Dmitry - 04/07/13 - 5:41pm

102bcd would be a nice option

WilsonH - 04/08/13 - 9:07am

@brian – Problem Solvers makes them. Go to your LBS.

@NCMTB – I’ve run a SRAM XO 9spd shifter with an XT 10speed clutched derailleur and it worked great on an 11-34 9spd cassette with a 10spd chain. You have to run the low limit out a little farther than i like or it doesn’t shift to the biggest cog.

billybob - 04/10/13 - 3:56pm

Works Components – http://www.facebook.com/workscomponents

Their ring looks AWESOME and is £35-£40 according to their fb page – much more like it!

Andrew - 04/17/13 - 9:59am

Well I hope all things go well. I already ordered a 34t ring without doing my research. Hopefully I’ll have the same output as Zach coz my RD does not have clutch. Just a standard M780 and with a HG54 chain.

Megatryn - 05/05/13 - 1:02am

Got my 34t 104bcd ring a couple of weeks ago (first batch) and am very impressed. I’m running a 11-36 SRAM XG1080 cassette with a PC1091 chain and a X0 Type 2 derraileur on my enduro bike. I’ve activly tried to drop my chain for a couple of rides, jumping and landing sideways, back paddeling though rough sections and generally being a fool with shifting. Nothing. I’m impressed.

I mounted two cams, filming the drivetrain to see what’s actually going on. I’ll post a quick edit if anyone’s interested. A small portion of it in this edit: http://vimeo.com/dansefoto/singletrack-frognerseteren-vettakollen-on-snow

RV - 05/16/13 - 4:03pm

Recently picked up a 34t direct mount from wolftooth. I have it mounted, but have not had a chance to ride it yet. From what I can tell the ring appears to be very good quality and the shipping was very fast. Thumbs up so far!

Due to this I was able to re-use my X0 crank instead of buying a brand new XX1 crank with a 32t… then still having to spend $90+ on a 34t SRAM XX1 ring. $89 was fairly steep, but in the end saved me a bit of money. Options are always good, I’m very glad wolftooth jumped on this design asap since other companies seem to be dragging their feet.

If this ring works out well I’ll most likely be picking up another for my XTR 985 cranks, and another direct mount depending on how 34t works out.

Jontanimo - 06/15/13 - 6:15pm

+4 102 BCD please, in fact I will have 2 please (in silver if poss)

Carbon Limiter - 08/08/13 - 10:05am

+6 for a 102 bcd, i have 3 cranks XTR M960 ready for a new life

Runningwild@46 - 09/29/13 - 6:44pm

I just placed my order for a 32 tooth ring. I gladly paid $70 instead of $300 for a new 1x crankset. Hopefully it works as advertised, we will see. Thanks Wolf

Niwla - 12/12/13 - 5:04am

Received my direct mount 30t Wolf Tooth chainring, ran it with a med cage Sram X0 non clutch type RD and happy to report no dropped chain at last weekends 50km xc endurance event in the wet and muddy trails here in Malaysia. :) Fyi running a 29er hardtail.

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