WOOLFTOOTH „Drop-Stop“ Chain Rings- Out Of The Box (& SRAM Type2 Update): by c_g
While the new SRAM XX1 group set seems to bet he latest hype for everyone, we have been testing the conversion of a 1×10 drive train on our tester CUBE Stereo SHPC 140. I hadn’t planned on going 1×10 but the by testing SRAM X.0 Type2 rear derailleur one thing lead to another and now I have a hard time going back. Why? Well, no more screwed up front shifting, no more front mech and no more left shifter occupying my cockpit … it simply makes biking feel more simple. (I have to admit that it make biking harder as well because the gearing range is greatly reduced, too ;))
If you want to recap my intro on the SRAM Type2 rear derailleur including my first impressions, click here. Back then, with only a few rides under my belt I was really impressed by its great performance and … and I continue to be, but in the past months I have come to learn that Type2 (or Shadow Plus for that matter) does reduce dropped chains dramatically, but won’t eliminate them completely. Especially after jumping or running through high-G compressions, I found myself spinning helplessly – it didn’t happen every ride, but enough to make me wonder if the secret is solely within the rear or if the wide-narrow chain rings may not play an important role as well. Unfortunately XX1 chain rings follow their own bolt pattern and getting a complete new crank was out of the question (I really like the RACE FACE NEXT SL).
Just in the midst of these thoughts a one man company called WOLF TOOTH COMPONENTS with their „Drop-Stop“ chain rings came to my attention – one of the earliest companies to offer narrow-wide chain rings to retrofit to existing cranks. Mike Pfeiffer, the owner and founder of WOLF TOOTH COMPONENTS (or WTC) wanted to offer an option to achieve XX1 functionality on existing drive trains … or give XX1 conversions the chance to keep their current cranks. He achieves this by the a very similar wide-narrow tooth pattern as found on the XX1
Needless to say these chain rings made of 7075-T651 alloy will work just fine for single speed applications, but the real advantages of the design are when running 1×10 or 1×9. The rings at least are compatible with either chains. We have asked for two samples of those Drop-Stop chain rings by WOLF TOOTH COMPONENTS– one with 32-teeth and one with 30 teeth.
30 teeth?!? … we all know with 104 mm chain ring bolt pattern the smallest attainable size is 32 teeth, right? WTC does the trick by putting the chain rings slightly offset to the inner side of the crank’s spider. When designing the ring Mike simply has added a small spreader to the rings and machined them all in one piece. This way the chain is slightly shifter inward and won’t interfere with the otherwise too large spider. Additionally WTC has threaded those spreaders/spacers so they act as the female part of the bolt screw as well. To not have all pedaling torque on the male alloy bolts alone the spacers have smaller diameter ends that act as guidance pieces and load bearers. You only need male screws of 8-10 mm length, set the chain ring into the right position. Though you are only running one chain ring, Mike pointed out never to use short single speed bolts on these rings
For those of you considering the weights – the 30 teeth version comes at 36g and the 32t at 40 g, so about the same as any high quality alloy rind that size. The rings come in a simple package – the 30t rings including detailed instructions for their installation.
Mounting the WOOLF TOOTH 30t chain ring is simple and straight forward – simply position them, screw the male bolts into them, tighten with 7-8NM … and done. In the pic it is clearly visible how the chain perfectly clears the crank’s spider. Now we are off on the trails to see how the WOOLF TOOTH COMPONENTS chain rings really do in terms of retaining the chain. Stay tuned for more on the soon.
You can get Drop-Stop chain rings directly in the WOLF TOOTH Webshop, or via one of the growing number WTC retailers – for Europe its via web shop only . Retail is USD 79.-for the 32, 34 and 36 tooth versions and USD 86.- for the 30t version (due to the more complicated production).
p.s: The Drop-Stop chain rings for 104-bolt pattern have only been WOLF TOOTH’s first product. Since their introduction Mike hasn’t been idle and came up with a narrow wide one piece spider/ring for SRAM cranks in 32t (Msrp. USD 86.-, later on in 28-36t) and one for MIDDLEBURN cranks with 30 t for USD 120.-. Soon he will be doing rings for the SHIMANO XTR dual cranks and SRAM XX