At this point in the MTB game, probably one of the greatest inventions in the past few years has been the narrow wide chainring. Sure, there was a patent from a century ago, that called out a similar design but at a much larger scale but it was SRAM who first applied that technology to the cycling industry.
Later, companies like Wolf Tooth and Race Face adopted the narrow wide ring design, making it applicable to a wider platform. Basically, any system can use this ring design and work.
I’ve ridden the shit out of my Tallboy with XX1 and have never dropped a chain. It really has changed how I feel about MTB gearing. I’d rather sit forward on the saddle and dig hard on the 34t x 42t than rely on a front derailleur for my trail bikes.
Without sounding like a complete idiot, who is crying Wolf about the big bad front derailleur, let me emphasize that they are very, very important. Especially if you’re riding an off-road tourer or embarking on a bikepacking trip, but for a daily shred sled, a 1×10 or 1×11 is a lot of fun.
After bending the big ring on my Indy Fab 29r, rather than buying replacement Shimano ring(s), I sprung for a limited edition Wolf Tooth chainring in blue. Since I wasn’t going for the 42t add-on cassette, I sprung for a 32t.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been crushing the trails on this bike and haven’t dropped a chain yet. Wolf Tooth recommends a clutch rear derailleur, but I don’t even have that. Granted, with no swing arm, this bike has less movement than a full suspension. Still, no dropped chain, no need to shift up front, just immediate swiping up and down the rear cassette.
The Wolf Tooth ring has made this bike even more fun! I also like that the blue matches the bike so well.
Too bad those bosses are lonely…
Wolf Tooth rings come in just about every mount, BCD, in 32t and 34t for cross and MTBs. They’re made in the USA and range from $68 to $89 depending on mount.