Narrow Wide Chain Retention

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    • #174836

      Narrow-wide (or thick-thin as some Europeans and Jim are calling it) chainrings are a huge improvement over traditional chainring setups. I switched both my mountain bikes over this year and haven’t  lost a chain since.

      At Interbike Kore was showing off their own (patented) narrow-wide design and claims it offers better retention than the design being used by SRAM and others. In the demo shown here they’re hanging a full bottle of bourbon. I’m told other narrow-wide chain+ring combos can do this but haven’t tried it myself. Has anyone done this?

    • #174843

      I don’t think I’d risk the Bourbon 🙂 While narrow/wide helps with chain retention, it isn’t 100%… unless Kore’s is just that good.

      While this might not speak to Kore specifically, plenty of enduro racers run narrow/wide AND chain guides. Also, word on the street is that a few narrow/wide chain ring producers are starting to release chain guides, but I haven’t able to dig up specifics yet…

    • #174844

      Welp, it felt super solid to me–much stronger than I imagined it. In fact I want to say Kore had an entire bike hanging from a chain at Eurobike but I could be wrong. Whatever it was, it was something a lot larger than a bottle of bourbon.

    • #174865

      I run my RaceFace narrow-wide in conjunction with a shadow derailleur and have never had a drop. Seriously, not one time. I personally don’t need an improved system but can’t help but be impressed by that picture.

    • #174982

      Is that only for 1x setups?

    • #174983

      Narrow-wide is 1x only as it trades the shifting ramps and pins designed to move the chain to another ring for teeth that do everything possible to keep the chain on that ring.

    • #174986

      Is that only for 1x setups?

      Wait, what else is there? 🙂

    • #175034

      I have used the RaceFace Narrow/Wide with a Shadow Plus as well as the E*Thirteen, never had a drop with my RaceFace, had one with my E*Thirteen, ended up finding that my derailure clutch needed to be tightened. I most recently bought a Pivot Mach 6, it is an XO drivetrain with RF Turbine crank and RaceFace Narrow/Wide chainring. Only a few rides but no issues yet.

      As for the bourbon test, I was at my LBS and saw the new Shimano XT 1×11, I couldn’t pull the chain off at certain angles with my hand. I am a believer that the Narrow Wide has plenty of retention for 99% of the riders out there.

    • #175152

      I’ve used a variety of NW rings from RaceFace, OneUp, Hope, SRAM, Shimano, and Wolf Tooth. They’ve all worked very well and I don’t know that I would be able to say that one is definitively better than another. In a few instances, I have been able to drop a chain, but it’s been rare. Less than ten times in the past 3 years.

      Some of the instances have been in really chunky sections. The way I’ve had a chain come off multiple times though is a stick getting thrown up from my front wheel and then getting caught in between the chain and chainring, which derails the chain. You’ve really got to hit a stick just right for this to happen, but it’s been the most “common” way for me to drop a chain.

      If you’re really concerned about chain retention, the new crop of top only guides that are available add a minuscule amount of weight (40-80g) but provide some extra insurance.

      No matter what, you’re going to have better chain retention with a NW and clutch derailleur setup than a 2x or 3x drivetrain.

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