These chainrings have the wide/narrow/wide profile to prevent chain drop even without a front deraileur or chain guide. Also, they have a cool chainring design that allows installation of a 30T chainring in the middle position- normally a 32T is the smallest you can go. Not only are these rings cool, they are also made in the USA- specifically Minneapolis. I rarely if ever use the granny, and going to a single small front chainring should work just fine, along with simplifying the bike and saving weight.
With the cranks off- I could directly inspect the bearings. The non-drive side bearing seemed OK, but the drive side bearing sounded like it was filled with rocks and felt about as smooth. I don't have any spare 6806-2RS bearings laying around. Rather than waiting for new bearings to arrive, I popped the seal off with a X-acto knife, sprayed it out with some degreaser, let it dry, and packed as much Park Tools grease into the bearings as I could. I kept on rotating the bearing and applying more grease until the grease coming out looked mostly clean. Even after the grease packing they still feel a bit rough. I'll order another set of bearings and install when these start grinding again.
After the bearings and cups were back into place, I could swap out chainrings, put everything back together, and remove the now-unneeded front deraileur and cables. The chainring install actually turned out to be a big weight savings:
+41g: Wolftooth 30T 104BCD chainring & 4 chainring bolts
-163g: Shimano XT Front deraileur
-71g: 32T Chainring, 22T chainring, chainring bolts
-165g: SRAM X7 front shifter, cables & housing
Total: 358g weight savings (0.78 pounds)
It looks great on the bike. Hopefully it works as well on the trails as it looks.
|Nice clean look|
|Lots of chain clearance- ~ 13mm|