Clutchy mechs & narrow/wide rings. Downsides?

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  • Clutchy mechs & narrow/wide rings. Downsides?
  • JonEdwards

    So I’ve come to teh conclusion that the old LG1 chain device I’ve got on my BFe is causing a lot of drag – especially when filled full of shite.

    So I’m considering ditching the full chain device and going with a top guide, Sram type 2 mech and possibly a trendy ring.

    Now there seems to be a hint of “latest cool toy” about N/W rings,and I’ve heard tales of premature jockey wheel & clutch failure on the mechs, so before I commit I’d like to hear about your BAD experiences with them!

    I tend to use my BFe as a foul conditions bike, so it’ll be out in thick gritty mud, snow, ice etc. Particularly interested to know if the N/W rings can clear mud properly.



    Premier Icon jam bo

    so far so good and no need for a top guide either.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv

    Particularly interested to know if the N/W rings can clear mud properly

    I’ve heard this too – rumours that the tolerances are tight and a bit of mud and grit can cause them issues. Not seen in practice, granted, but I’ve not had too many nastily claggy rides. Yet.

    But other than a possible issue that hasn’t yet manifested, suffice to say I’m very impressed.

    Premier Icon rockhopperbike

    I get a bit of grinding for a couple of hundred meters or so after coming out of slop- wouldn’t say its anything significant- more of a feel it through the pedals- I would say they don’t wear the chain any more- as the teeth are touching a wider proportion of the chain- less contact pressure if anything

    5 months in on XX1 , still perfect, albeit I’m a habitual cleaner after most rides………


    the rings do wear noticeably quicker in sandy conditions. its not been an issue with chain retention.

    and clutch mechs breaking… common problem, not caused by the rings, caused by overtightening the clutch adjustment screw…

    been running a N/W ring and clutch mech for several months now, no chain drops and noticeably free pedaling compared to running a guide.

    if the only downsides are a bit quicker wear on the chainring, i’ll take that!

    Premier Icon ddmonkey

    I have a standard single front ring, clutch rear mech and now MRP AMG front guide with a top guide only and a taco to avoid bashing the front ring. All good so far…

    Premier Icon Northwind

    No drawbacks that I’ve found yet. No sign of mud buildup being an issue though I can see how it could happen (getting rid of the chain device means the chain and ring get much less muddy anyway)

    bent udder

    I’m going to blatantly ignore your request for bad stories. 🙂

    Running a Raceface ring and Zee rear mech as of a month or so ago on one of my bikes. Not a peep. The anodising on the teeth of the ring pretty much came off on the first ride, but it’s still happy several hundred miles later churning through Surrey Hills greensand. No more grindy than the singlespeed setup it replaced, and the clutch mech makes things very, very quiet.

    If you want to save a bit and are still on SRAM 9 speed, the Zee + 7mm spacer option is open to you.


    Bear in mind also that not all NW rings are equal, different manufacturers use different profiles for balancing chain retention and mud clearing. The chain also affects these issues as one manufacturer reckon KMC are made out of spec, with larger rollers than SRAM/ Shimano meaning sometimes the chain does not sit properly on the ring.

    Generally I like the NW/ clutch set up but the mud does not clear as well as a normal ring and occasionally the chain does drop when the chain can’t seat properly on the teeth. Most local rides are either very gritty or very clay based mud which doesn’t help. If you ride loamy, sandy or more watery mud then you’d proabably never have any issues. It isn’t bad enough to stop using the set up though and I wouldn’t go back!

    As KMC make Shimano chains for them I’d doubt the validity of the comment. I think the chain needs full contact to work so dropping issues in mud is likely because the chain is riding on top of the mud rather than sitting down in the ring.


    Blazin- see the Absolute Black website. I thought KMC make SRAM but either way KMC are a big manufacturer with enough experience to know what works and I get on better with KMC than any other brand. AB reckon their profile and tolerances are so tight that a KMC chain can throw things out of whack. Certainly my experience using KMC on and AB ring…

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