[Tested] Renthal Releases The 1XR Chainring

[Tested] Renthal Releases The 1XR Chainring

07/04/2015
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07/04/2015

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Today Renthal release their latest product the 1XR chainring. The 1XR is a narrow wide style chainring that has been engineered by Renthal to retain the chain under rough conditions as pioneered by SRAM with their XX1 chain retention systems. However rather than just produce “another” chainring, Renthal has spent time researching and focusing on how to further improve the drop stop/narrow wide style chainrings.

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The Renthal 1XR chainring.

Sometimes it is customary to release products to the press then send them out to test, in this case Renthal gave us the courtesy of a production 1XR chainring ahead of it’s release date to test in advance and gain an incite into their take on the now accepted drop stop style chainring that is found on 1x gear systems.

Specifications

Renthal has focused on producing the 1XR chainring in typical Renthal fashion, with one colour, quality machining and a direct appeal to 1 x 10/11 drive train users. Renthal have not launched the product quickly. They have spent time developing it so that it is right straight away.

– Alternating 1.8/3.5mm width teeth.
– Mud clearance and wear proof profiling.
– CNC machined 7075 T6 Aluminium.
– Hard anodised finish.
– Mud grooves in the tooth bed.
– Ultra stiff I-beam cross section.
– Available in a range of sizes.
– Weights: 32t – 36g, 34t – 42g, 36t – 50g, 38t – 58g.
– Price: €59.90

New tooth profile for Renthal drive rings.

New tooth profile for Renthal drive rings.

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A closer look at the notch. The teeth are fairly tall and have a distinct profile machined into them. Looking at the bottom of each chain well you can see the machined notch which is for mud clearance.

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The classic Renthal ring look continues over onto the 1XR from their other rings with it’s I-beam rigid structure.

On The Trail

Most of our testing took place on the trails of Punta Ala Trail Center in Tuscany Italy, which are a mix of Enduro World Series level trails.  After our visit to Renthal we were not allowed to say anything about what they had been working on, despite the obvious interest a product like this creates. Luckily Renthal gave us a ring to test in the meantime, and we have had that ring on our Cannondale test bike for around 2 months.

We rode in a variety of conditions including the dry, mud, rain and very very rough conditions. We have used a 104 bolt pattern 32T 1XR ring, mated to a Sram X9 crankset and a 1 x 10 standard 11-36T SRAM cassette, followed by a 9-42T Leonardi cassette. We used a type II X9 dérailleur and no other chain retention device.

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We decided one day to do our 1XR mechanic time on Punta Ala beach…

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Once installed we hit the trails.

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Our time on the trails was arduous and we made sure that we risked loosing the chain where possible.

Our time on the ring was varied with respect to trail conditions and  weather types. We managed some time in super muddy moments, but most of our riding was on fairly good dirt and some dust. In all cases we found the 32T ring ideal for our gear train set-up especially when used in combination with a 42T large cog on the rear cassette.

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One of our sessions was muddy and we noted how the mud groves did seem to allow the chain to sit better on the ring.

We have been using this type (narrow wide) of chainring retention system for a while without chain guides. With the Renthal version as well as with other brands it is clear the narrow wide method produces functional pieces of kit that create a secure retention system that really does work. Our time on the bike with the Renthal 1XR chainring, including riding very rough trails like rock-oh, only cemented our belief in this as a fully trustworthy viable chain retention system.

However we did note a few differences with the Renthal 1XR chainring. Firstly when used in muddy conditions the chain seemed to be sitting on the chainring better as the dirt cleared off the bottom of the groove more easily and did not build up or cake under the chain. The consequence of this over time seems to be less wear on the ring. We could not decisively decide if this improved chain retention as we simply did not loose the chain ever, but it makes sense that less crud build up and better chain positioning should mean that the chance of loosing the chain is lower and less risk of metal grinding against metal lubricated by dirt.

Secondly the I-beam structure of the ring gave us a very positive feel on the pedals. We felt that we had a solid smooth connection in our drive train that passed our energy along into forward movement. It was noticeable how strong the structure was as even with one bolt missing on the spider, we could happily pedal without the ring distorting.

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The tooth profile is long enough that loosing a chain on this is going to be tough.

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The wide ridges are lower than other rings stopping any chance of mud build up and less risk of chain loss.

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The chain stays on!

Conclusion
There is no doubt that Renthal brings a certain expectation of quality to a mountain bike product. The 1XR ring is no doubt one of the best if not the best chainrings out there that we have tried with respect to the narrow wide paradigm. It has a very solid feeling to it. It’s wear characteristics have been really good in our test trail conditions, and we have never dropped a chain. It seems that Renthal have done their homework and even with a simple object like this have managed to create a lightweight, solid, well performing, well priced piece of kit, that looks great.

Renthal Cycling

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