Absolute Black’s XX1-style narrow/wide chainring for cyclocross is an appealing option. It’s light, it’s pretty and it uses a common 110BCD mounting pattern. It also has their excellent tooth profiles, which we’ve been pretty happy with across several different bikes and chainrings.
My CX chainring came in at the tail end of last ‘cross season, so it spent beginning of the year getting abused at the last of our local NCCX races. After that, it spent the spring and summer bring ridden around town, through gravel paths and along for some random ‘cross training rides. All the while keeping the chain perfectly intact and rolling smooth.
I installed it on my Moots with an otherwise Ultegra Di2 6770 group, swapping out the double crankset for a standard 110BCD FSA SL-K carbon crankset. This was done mainly for aesthetics, matching the black chainring to a black crankset with more traditionally shaped bolt arms. But also to test the Chris King PFBB with a true BB30 crankset, more on that separately.
The system kept the original Shimano DynaSys 10-speed chain, which has held up admirably well to several years of use on my ‘cross bike. It also kept the rear derailleur set up in it’s stock configuration. Marcin, AB’s founder, strongly recommended that I increase the return spring’s tension, but I wanted to test it as-is first. Here’s how it all went…