WOOLFTOOTH „Drop-Stop“ Chain Rings: Final Review- by c_g

(Also with a Final review on the SRAM Type2 derailleur technology)

Every once in a while we see innovations that may be relevant to just about any mountain biker out there – click pedals, disc brakes or going for 36 tooth max on the cassettes are such in my eyes – and SRAM’s Type2 rear derailleur technology (along with the similarly working „Shadow Plus by SHIMANO – covered by GT here already) may just be such a thing.

Phase I – Type2 on a 2×10: Besides the numerous bikes we rode with such a rear derailleur on, I have been running a SRAM X.0 rear mech on my permanent test rig since the beginning of the year ( for the intro – see here). Anybody living in central Europe knows we have had a very bad spring and whatever the summer has been so far – it was anything but dry or pleasant, and so the drive train components had been subject to constant spraying by mud and water and despite me doing nearly no maintenance other than cleaning and lubing the chain regularly – the rear derailleur is still running as strong as on the first day.

It is plain great how the clutch mechanism does eliminate almost any chain slap (something you get reminded ever so often running a bike with a „standard“ rear derailleur). Dropping a chain is reduced also. The only slight point of criticism is that sometimes I feel like shifting takes just a tiny bit more finger force, but that difference is so small I wonder if it may not be me. All in all the derailleur has been super reliable with no peculiarities and did its job just as good as the standard X.O before only with nearly no chain slap.

Phase II: Type2 in 1×10: To give the mech a bit more of a challenge I went from my standard 2×10 (with front derailleur, to a 1×10 – running a single speed chain ring up front and taking the front derailleur off. This showed me that I was able to enjoy running a 1×10 in terms of reliability, with very few dropped chains. While not on every ride, I did have the occasional reach down and get the chain back into position … nothing annoying, but certainly not perfect.

Phase II: Type2 and WOOLFTOOTH „Drop-Stop“ chain rings: Just about that time WOLFTOOTH COMPONENTS came out with their aftermarket Drop-Stop“ chain rings for running a standard drive train in 1-by mode (fort he intro of them – see here). Those chain rings have a alternating wide-narrow tooth pattern, as the SRAM XX1 chain rings, only that they are running on the common bolt patterns, for all of us to mount on our existing cranks with very little effort and low cost. I found it particularly interesting how WOLFTOOTH COMPONENTS managed to offer a 30 tooth ring for the mid ring Position, where usually nothing smaller than 32t would fit. That is particularly interesting since on a standard 10-speed cassette with a 36t max count (opposed to the 42t max count of the XX1 cassette) I would be happy to go for the smallest possible chain ring to still get me up the steeper climbs.

So after I had ridden the 30t WOLFTOOTH Drop-Stop ring on my bike in combination with the SRAM Type2 rear mech on my rough home trails with no issues whatsoever, I took that set up on my 2 week long trip to Sedona and Flagstaff, AZ, bringing it from constant wet and mud to super arid and sandy, dusty. For that trip I did mount a small 24t inner ring for those longer and steeper climbs around Flagstaff (yep, that meant manual shifting for me), but I always took care to run the chain on the WOLFTOOTH chain ring whenever possible and on every downhill. So after countless technical rides on the grippy but harsh trails of Sedona and in the rock gardens of Flagstaff, I can say:

It works … believe it or not, but I haven’t had one single chain drop all the time. The combination of a wide-narrow chain ring, such as the one by WOLFTOOTH COMPONENTS and a SRAM Type2 (or SHIMANO Shadow Plus) derailleur do the job of keeping me happy when running a 1-by set up. No more chain slap and no more chain drop. From my side both receive a full recommendation.


Preview: The long outings with my 1×10 have also shown me how ambitious it is to try running 1×10 all the time and that it may not be suitable for every terrain and rider – in the Alps I likely would return to a 2×10 configuration … or try the larger SRAM cassette that reaches up to 42 teeth. In this context I am happy to announce that we recently received a new test bike that is equipped with a SRAM XX1 group set, with which we are able to investigate further. We will keep you posted.