The Bike List

Race Face Narrow Wide Single Chainring £50

Tested by Ben Horan, tester for The Bike List

Race Face have the mountain bike market all sewn up. If you have been a dirt bike rider for any length of time, then you're bound to have heard of them - they make items across the board, ranging from backpacks, clothing, body protection and components. Their products are generally made to a high standard, and this Narrow Wide chainring is no exception.

The 38-tooth chainring, priced at £50, features teeth alternating in thickness. The green ring complimented the colours of my Santa Cruz V10 Carbon downhill bike - while lurid green won't suit everyone, Race Face provides many colour options. The ring also comes in a range of sizes from 30 to 44 teeth, weighing in at 37g for the smallest to 57g for the largest. It went on to the bike simply, with four standard crank bolts. Placing the chain onto it correctly was also child's play - each wide wide link sits into a wide chainring tooth and therefore each thin link onto a thin tooth. The ring is also available in a five-bolt option.

The testing ground was set to be the area of Ports Du Soleil in the French Alps, with a base in Morzine. As such, for absolute confidence, the chainring was paired up with an E13 LG1+ chain guide, and run with Shimano Saint drive-chain without a clutch rear mech. I ran a nine-speed set-up, but the ring is compatible with nine, 10 and 11 speed.

As expected, the terrain ranged from smooth dry hard-pack, to roots, rocks and some of the deepest mud you could anticipate. Throughout a 12-day trip, through the deepest fast paced braking bumps, roots and rocks (where in the past I have lost chains between the chainring and chain guide) not once did I drop the chain. Furthermore, whilst my mates stopped for chain-guide and chainring-related issues, my confidence grew. Every time I put the power down, I knew everything was going to work. And that's the beauty of this item; as it works so well, you completely forget it's even there, just doing its job as it should. I have read reviews of similar products in the past, collecting mud and derailing chains; there was none of this here.

During one outing, I damaged the roller on the bottom of my chain-guide, and so took this opportunity to run the ring without the bottom of the guide to assist in chain retention. This is where I was truly gobsmacked, on the same terrain, in dry and in wet, using a rear mech without clutch, the chain still didn't let go; a true testament to the capability of the product.

After two months of testing, there's nothing bad to say about it. It's priced well and has never failed during our testing. It's competitive on weight, being on the lighter end of the market compared to some other well-known brands, and similar on price, too. If you need a single chain-ring, this should be your first port of call.

Buy from Chainreactioncycles

At a glance

Verdict Your first port of call if you’re in the market for a single-ring set-up. Reasonably-priced, easily-fitted, super-robust, it allows you to concentrate on your lines, rather than whether you’re going to drop your chain.
Value
Performance

Race Face says:

Race Face Single Rings - Now with performance enhancing chain retention technology. Burly enough for DH Racers and Dirt Jumpers, yet light enough for XC/singlespeed. Single Rings are machined from 7075 aluminum and tested in some of the most punishing riding terrain. Built to last.

Features

  • Narrow Wide tooth profiling ensures ultimate chain retention
  • Stiff 4mm plate thickness and I-beam construction transfer loads without flexing
  • 7075-T6 aluminum, aerospace grade strength
  • Reversible laser etched graphics.
  • Compatible for 9, 10 and 11 speed.

Specification & Colours

SIZES:104 BCD (4 bolt)30, 32, 34, 36, 38
COLOUR: - Black, Red, Green, Blue, Orange, Purple

30T 104BCD NW single ring are threaded with a standard M8x0.75 chainring bolt thread, see hardware chart for appropriate bolt length required for your combination.

Supplier: Silverfish UK, +44 (0)1752 843882, Silverfish-uk.com