Absolute Black xx1 style mountain bike chainring

Absolute Black, which makes the exquisitely machined single chainrings we recently reviewed, just sent over images and info on a few more goodies they’ve been working up.

Their XX1 style chainring with wide/narrow tooth profiles was announced a while back, but now we’ve got images (and a test unit on the way!). The ones shown here are for 104bcd cranksets, which means many from Shimano, Race Face, etc. Founder Marcin says he’s had athletes testing them for seven months with no chain drops. They’re available in 32, 34, 36 and 38 tooth counts.

Think they’d be perfect for cyclocross? So do we. And so did Marcin, so he’s been developing them for 110bcd and 130bcd, also using the wide/narrow tooth profiles. Check those, and some beautiful CNC’d bash rings, below…

Absolute Black xx1 style mountain bike chainring

A couple more photos of the mountain bike chainrings.

Absolute Black xx1 style mountain bike chainring

Absolute Black xx1 style cyclocross chainring

The cyclocross versions will look similar. They’re in development now, and Marcin says each one takes just over an hour to machine.

Absolute Black 104BCD machined alloy chainring bashguard

The bash rings are machined from the same 7075 Txxx alloy as the chainrings, then hard anodized. They’re available to fit next to 34t and 36t chainrings now, with 32t coming soon.

Absolute Black 104BCD machined alloy chainring bashguard

The design’s meant for moderate protection for trail/enduro style riding, not full downhill action.

Absolute Black 104BCD machined alloy chainring bashguard

Absolute Black 104BCD machined alloy chainring bashguard


  1. From stirrings over on STW forum absolute black = absolute Sh@te!

    That bashguard is horrible – a ball mill finish for the whole thing? that’s insane and looks like it has been scratched out of metal or something.

    This guy just makes everything overcomplicated, its a bashguard ffs!

    I think Raceface, Works Components etc have it dialled with this stuff…

  2. The irony is, on his site he states they are ‘simple clean and elegant’

    Also loads of other crap like ‘turning dreams into manufacturable form’

    I have never seen such cheese in the cycle industry in my life, especially describing a god damn chainring!

  3. Please post when they are shipping. Raceface, wolfe, SRAM you out there? This is a no-brainer, clutch with narrow/wide will sell like hot cakes. 4 weeks till the start of cx in New England, let us have them…


  4. they look great. the bash guard looks machined using a ball end mill, but actually take a look at the ring and the machining is much more clean with a little accent work done with a ball end. i really could care less what they look like as long as they work!!!

  5. Derek;
    I agree with you. After doing some CNC machining, it does look pretty crappy. Looks like they never finished it; just roughed it with a ball mill and left all the toolpaths visible. I guess to someone who’s never seen a CNC run before, it might look cool, but to me, it looks unfinished.

  6. The point of these is to be used with a clutch derailleur, right? I was under the impression that mountain derailleurs were made to work with the wide range of a mountain cassette and would not work well with the narrow range of a road cassette. I feel like I must be missing something…

  7. I like the ball milling. It tells the word it’s CNC. I ordered the XC version in blue yesterday. Regarding the cleaning…I’ll clean it with a preassure washer, same way I clean everything else on my bikes.

  8. off-roadie

    You’ll see a lot of cross guys running an X0 10spd or X01 11spd short cage clutch rder this season. Both were made specifically for gravity guys running tighter road cassettes.

  9. _Gotta be skeptical when they claim ‘no chain drops in 7 months of testing’…
    Either their test riders are not up to snuff or they are out right lying. I know for a fact that most of the top 10 XC world cup guys who are on SRAM have at least a few drops this season with XX1 / wide / narrow rings….especially in the wet.

    at least give us a bit of respect and say ‘the wide / narrow design dramatically reduces drops’ which it does.

    Ball-end bit or not is a matter of taste and fashion. Truth in advertising has staying power.

    thanks anyway.

  10. Hi,
    I have just made CX rings ready to pre-order.
    They should be ready to ship before 15th Aug. For now only 42T but if you have any other requirements then let me know via email. (i know already about 38T 130).

    Cleaning the rings/bash should not be a concern. These grooves are really shallow and they don’t get more dirty then a regular chainring/bash. Only front side is made like that on the side note..

    Regards chain drops. As far as i know from top riders using Sram XX1 rings, the only chain drops they had were in muddy (really sticky) conditions. We haven’t done tons of testing in such particular condition as 99% of people refuse to go on the bike in such weather. So to make that comment fair – yes it is possible to drop a chain in certain unforgiving conditions, but most people will not encounter that.


  11. thank you Marcin for the work you are doing, few companies take the time to read feedback and then quickly turn around an create the desired product. also, to be fair to Absolute Black, the possibility of dropping the chain in muddy conditions is in the description on the website, so no one is trying to slip one past anyone.

  12. I installed mine tonight.

    Do not waste your money!!

    I have an 11 speed SRAM Force setup and the chain won’t even stay on in the stand. It won’t even work with a chain guide. It may work with a 10 speed setup (that is the only thing I haven’t tried) but the website claims that it will work with 11 speed chains. I am asking for my money back. This is the first bad review I have given anything bike related ever!

  13. John, I have not received any message from you yet…
    I am sure that you use KMC chain and this is whole your problem. As stated clearly on my website i do not recommend this chain as it has too big chain rollers, so it will not fit well to my chainring and result the problems you describe. 11spd chains work perfectly fine, same as 10spd. You can use any brand except KMC.
    Besides if you use “worn” chain i would not be surprised as well that it does not work properly. Always use the new chain, otherwise your stretched chain just simply will not fit to the chainring as it is very precisely machined to mirror chainlinks.
    Here is the review from independent ukcyclocross magazine:
    and here is how they work in real life conditions:

    So please change the chain to new one and all your problems will go away.

    If you have any problems just please write to manufacturer first. 99% of problems are always due to improper build up by user. This is valid to all bicycle parts.

What do you think?