We’ve had this ring on Cale’s KramPugs for a few months now and what can we say? Does this thing do, what it says on the tin? Does it help keep your chain on your bike? Let’s hear what Cale has to say about it after a few thousand miles of testing out in California. – ~gomez~
So when I got this ring, I was slightly skeptical of its claims, having used my fair share of SS specific rings on various 1×9 bikes with generally mediocre results. The chain always came off, at the worst possible moment, either on a rocky downhill or right before you stood up to mash your way up some wall of a climb. Both are frustrating and sometimes dangerous. But a 1X drive train is a thing of beauty when its working well. No front shifter to mess with, no chain-suck, and less weight… which in my book is always a good thing.
The Wolftooth claims to provide all those things without even the added weight of a chainguard…so how did it do? I paired the 32t chainring with a SLX clutch-type rear derailleur and an 11-36 rear sprocket set which on the 29+ platform of the KramPugs was honestly a bit steep for my taste. I think it would be perfect for trails around the Midwest but out here it started to get real heavy on the 40-50 minute grinds. However, that has nothing to do with the performance of the chainring itself. As for its performance it has been holding up admirably, with only a slight bit of wear starting to show even after several trips to the beach and no rock, root or tree has been able to damage the teeth in any way.
I took the bike to Noble Canyon – a semi famous downhill run in the Mt. Laguna area to really test the chain retention capabilities. The trails I rode combined about 20 miles of variously rolling / uphill to get to Noble proper which is a 14 mile long rocky, ledge-y, root-y downhill where AM and even DH bikes are most at home. So a fully rigid bike may not have been the best choice, but hey sometimes bad decisions are fun. Besides what better way to see if the Wolftooth holds up to its claims? Well… hold up it did! Nary a skip was heard or felt and not once did I even think about the chain derailing. With the Clutch derailleur and the Wolftooth ring, the drive train was silent
as a single-speed and just as reliable. The drop-stop tooth profile really keeps the chain on and lets you concentrate on riding, rather than worrying about weather or not you are gonna drop your chain on the next ledge.
That noble run wasn’t it though, over the past few months, I have probably put 1,500-2,000 miles on the bike and I have NEVER once dropped a chain. Overall I cant recommend this chainring enough, for those without the budget or desire to go 11speed this chainring paired with a Clutch type rear derailleur gets you 90% of the performance of a XX1 or XO1 group for a fraction of the cost. Sure you don’t get the super duper wide gear range or the ability to run a front ring smaller than 30T (at least on 104BCD cranks) but other than that, it’s an excellent substitute, that will satisfy you 99% of the time with only really, really steep climbs or really, really fast downhills being outside of its range.
Learn more about Wolf Tooth Components at http://www.wolftoothcycling.com/