2015 is the second season that Fluid Fin Race Team has been sponsored by Minnesota based engineering company Wolf Tooth Components, and their market leading Drop-Stop chainrings.
The aftermarket chainrings allow for a single front ring setup without the need for any sort of chain device to hold the chain in place on rough terrain. This is achieved through the company’s precise, and beautiful, engineering. The teeth on the rings are machined in to a narrow-wide profile that sits in tune with the male and female links of the chain. They are also slightly larger than on a conventional ring. This creates a perfect fit between chain and ring allowing the two to run in perfect harmony and eliminate any chance of the chain bouncing off.
In 2014 the team used the 88mm BCD ring for the Shimano XTR M985 cranks. This allowed us to run a 1x 10 setup without the use of a chain device rather than 2x 10 which was the only factory available option from Shimano. Aside from the obvious weight saving of losing a chainring, front mech, front shifter and cabling, the setup allowed much more simplistic and bombproof gearing than before.
This season we are using the all new 96mm BCD ring for Shimano’s latest generation of XTR, M9000. The ring has the same impressive functions as the 88mm version, but in our opinion the detailing that has gone in to this chainring is even more impressive. Not only does the ring look gorgeous and fit seamlessly with the M9000 crank arm, installation couldn’t be easier. There is no need for spacers or even a female side to the bolt. Using the stock Shimano bolts that come with the cranks they screw directly in to the ring’s own machined thread. Now that is awesome!
We have always used the rings in collaboration with a rear mech sporting a clutch that tensions the spring to reduce chain slap. This way we are yet to drop a chain using the 96mm BCD ring and have no reason to think it will happen. Even when the chain is at the bottom of the cassette and in its slackest position there has been no sign of it dislodging. However we have ridden with the clutch off, and have also seen other riders without it engaged whilst racing, and have had no problems either. We have found that the detail and quality of the product is so good that even with the chain bouncing around it has remained almost glued to the ring.
Having already ridden the ring in a mix of terrain, conditions and race types this year, we are yet to drop a chain using the 96mm BCD ring. If you are serious about your riding and racing, and want the best single ring setup, no matter what cranks you are using, then Wolf Tooth is without question the way to go!
From chainrings to cassette cogs to bottle openers and beer koozies, see their array of amazing products here: http://www.wolftoothcomponents.com