FSA D10 Chain Rings & 10 Speed Chain: Quick Review- by Guitar Ted
Late last year we learned about a new set of chain rings and a chain from FSA. While the component manufacturer makes several types and models of crank sets, chain rings, and more, we were not aware about the chain and the rings are something unique as well. These rings are designed for folks that may have a perfectly good 104/64 BCD four bolt, triple ring crank set, but want to go to a “proper” 2X10 set up without purchasing new crank arms. It works in a unique way, so let’s take a look here.
The chain rings come in matched sets and are designed to work in concert with each other. Available sizes are 38T/24T, 36T/24T, and 36T/22T. I received the 36T/22T option along with some little doo-dads that essentially spiff up the outer appearance of the crank set when you remove the outer ring. The rings themselves are offset slightly outboard to get you from a 45mm chain line to a more optimal 46.5mm chain line which will be more ideal with a double ring set up. The little “beauty tabs” worked perfectly with my older SRAM made Bontrager branded ISIS crank arm and gave the crankset a finished, purposeful look. Plus I did not have to source single ring crank bolts, or mess with a bash guard, which really isn’t necessary for where I live. The crank bolts are Torx style, which I like over the traditional slotted style crank bolt any day. (Please- can we just get rid of all of those? )
FSA also makes a set of these ears for the D10 conversion rings in a carbon crank compatible style, so if you have that sort of set up, you have that choice as well. Assembly was straight forward and easy, since the Torx head bolts really make this job a snap. I installed the FSA 10 speed chain next. It uses a guide pin, similar to Shimano, to guide in the connector pin and when you have it pressed into place with a chain tool, you break off the guide pin and you are done. FSA should have a connector style link for the chain soon. The chain is not directional, so installation is pretty straightforward here as well.
MSRP Prices on the rings are $69.99USD for the big rings and $19.99 for the inner rings. Tab covers are $14.99 a set. The chain goes at $34.99. See your local bike shop for availability.
Ride and Shifting Performance: Once installed on my Salsa Cycles Titanium Mukluk, the chain and chain rings showed a slight reluctance to shifting, but this went away after the first ride or two. Perhaps the SRAM 10 speed cassette wasn’t 100% “happy” with the FSA chain, but again, it was a very minor thing that went away almost immediately. The chain rings shifted fine after a good fine tuning of the derailleur, and have worked well ever since then.
Obviously, this installation may not be the norm, so a word about the chain line and tire clearance. I did gain a bit more granny ring to the biggest rear cassette cog clearance to the 3.8″ Larry tire. This is a big deal with fat bikes, so I thought I’d throw that out there. I wouldn’t say it would allow me to go to a 4.7″ or 4.8″ tire on 100mm rims without rubbing the chain by any stretch though, so it won’t solve a lot of folks issues in that regard.
All signs point to positive after the initial break-in with the FSA parts being subjected to snow, mud, dirt, and rain consistently since the installation. The chain shows little wear and shifts have been consistently good throughout the test period.
Conclusions: The drive train parts from FSA have certainly been subjected to the worst possible conditions without showing any bad traits or hiccups in performance. Shifting has been on par with what I would expect from a Shimano or SRAM upper end drive train bit. Not at the XTR/X-0 level maybe, but XT/X-9? Yeah…..the FSA stuff is on par with this. The fact that one can opt for a “proper” double crank chain line yet utilize a triple ring design crank set they might already own is a nice option to have out there. The “beauty tabs” that finish off the look really are a nice touch as well. This might prove to be a good solution for those riders looking to get into a double ring set up and not have to replace their current crank set. It definitely works well, and with a few gearing options available, might just cover your needs in gearing range while simplifying your drive train. The chain is also a nice bit, works great, and seems to handle off road abuse with aplomb, but I might hold out until FSA can get the quick link for it available, just because it would be a nice additional feature, especially if it is a more than one time use link.
NOTE: FSA sent over the D10 rings, tab covers, and chain at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches for test and review. We are not being bribed, nor paid for this review and we strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.