Review: Tree Lite Splined Sprocket Oct 21, 2009

Hailing from Missouri with production at Super Rat Machine in Kansas, Tree was one of the first companies to make a splined BMX sprocket. The Tree Lite splined sprocket was what saved BMX cranks on fixed gears for me. I know I’m not alone on this either because half of Tokyo is also riding these sprockets. Anyone I know who has switched to a BMX drivetrain is also riding one. It’s probably the simplest solution for the complex problem of riding a bolt-on sprocket; make it splined!

Pic by Andy T.

I’ve had mine on since July and it’s given me zero issues. The last set up I had with the Profile race cranks and Volume Krull looked nice and performed well enough, but I felt that the Tree was a more elegant solution.

Pic by Andy T.

Since I ride a larger bike, I like the way a bigger sprocket looks. Currently, the Tree Lite on my Bruiser is a 42t. If I had a 30t on, it would probably look dainty on the bike; don’t be mistaken, these things are beefy. It’s made from 5/16″ thick 7075 aluminum and with a unique cross-section, the Lite sprocket looks like a piece of art. The splined version weighs only 96 grams for a 30t too. Not bad.

Most people are riding more compact tooth count now, partially due to the scarcity of the 42t sprockets; Milwaukee sold out in hours! With a 33t ring up front, you could easily ride a 12t ot 13t cog in the back and with 38c tires, come in around 74 gear inches or so.

Sprocket Making Video from andy chapman on Vimeo.

The only negative thing I can say about the Tree Lite sprocket, isn’t really a bad thing as much as it is the nature of being a small company and funding your own production; availability. Dans Comp usually has some 28t sizes in stock, but the larger sizes are really hard to find. Maybe it’s possible to have your LBS contact Tree directly? I don’t know but if you can get your hands on a higher-tooth count ring, do so because it’s a legit product.

With other companies like Profile making their splined sprocket, it will come down to the aesthetics and design of the sprocket itself. That’s another thing Tree has going for it, the design of the ring is nicely proportioned. Hell, they know all about sacred geometries, as seen by their older Flower of Life shirt.

Tree certainly innovated the BMX industry with their design and now the fixed gear community has another re-appropriated product to use. In the future, more companies will follow suit with the idea and it’s all thanks to Tree. I commend Tree on their innovation and look forward to see what else they come up with.

  • prolly

    Milwaukee is getting more in stock soon…

  • Rob

    I’ve been running a 33t/13 since June and I love it.

    Probably my favorite new bike product of the year – next to the Hold Fast FRS straps, of course!

  • mwa

    So Prolly, does your Bruiser have an American bottom bracket? I’ve got an SE with an American bottom bracket and besides the bent fork (which will soo be replace with the Bruiser fork, the next thing preventing me from getting it road ready is the big bottom bracket and having to switch to a bmx drive train. You got any recommendations?

  • prolly

    My Bruiser takes an English-threaded bb. Profile makes one and you can get a shorter spindle specifically for a fixed gear.

  • no_future

    tree moved all there u.s. distribution to blackout a few months ago, so talk to someone there about where you could find them.

    the largest they currently have available is 36t.

  • Jeff

    can we start an online petition so that tree will get up off their backside and start making proper 30t and above sprockets and quit wasting aluminum on that retarded 25t flatland junk!

  • lyle

    I’ve had mine since June and haven’t mounted it yet due to not having an english 48 spline BB. I gotta get on this!