Saturday, October 19, 2013

Wolftooth Chainring Install & First Impressions

After last week's Fatbike Adventure ride, my 9:zero:7 needed some serious love. The bike was still covered in mud, and the bottom bracket was making some serious grinding noises. I had some time tonight to attack it, and I decided as long as I had everything apart, it was time to install the Wolftooth components 30T 104BCD chainring.

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

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