The Bike List

Rideworks Narrow Wide – Thick Thin MTB Chainrings £38

Tested by Ben Horan, tester for The Bike List

"Drop my chain?!" I said with suprise, when asked about my chainring at the local trails. "Never!" I happily replied! The line of questioning had begun after a few of the chaps noticed my chainring, run without a chain guide or device. They had also noticed it was a brand they hadn't heard of before. I was running an elecric blue coloured Narrow Wide Chainring 100% British made by Rideworks.

Rideworks state they are a British company formed with a passion for engineering, and that all of their parts are made in the UK and CNC machined from Aircraft Grade Aluminium.

The chainring I had on test was the 32 tooth version. Rideworks produce the chainring in other size options including 32, 34 and 36 tooth versions, giving riders a range of choice, though not as many as some other companies out there offering narrow wide chainrings. Rideworks do however compete with other brands in a good range of colours including Black, Green, Clear, Orange, Red and Blue to assist you in pimping your ride. And I have to say, the finish of the chainring was very nice indeed. Pricewise it sits in the middle of other existing brands with the likes of Raceface being a tad more expensive at £60 and Blackspire being very similar in price.

Rideworks state the chainrings are hard anodised giving them 10 times the wear resistance of other chainrings. On this point, I have to be honest; I have run this chainring for about 4 months now, as i have done previously with a Raceface Narrow Wide chainring and the wear is similar on both - basically cosmetic on the area in which the chain meets the chainring, the colour naturally wears away. I certainly couldn't say one was tougher than the other, but only a longer test period would show this.

The chainring comes in a 104BCD version, which slotted straight onto the Shimano SLX crankset in place of my large chainring. Other companies do offer more sizes for differing crank bolt circle diameters. With running the Rideworks chainring as a 1x10 setup, Rideworks kindly provided me with a Front Derailleur Direct Mount Cover Blank Plate, to cover the area left by removing the front Derailleur. It probably doesn't warrant its own review, but this little piece of machined aluminium shows the attention to detail Rideworks provide, and the thought given to the set up of a bike. It kept the muck out of the derailleur mount and it was nicely logo'ed up with a bit of machining too! I had the 32 tooth size ring which weighed in at 37g; in comparison to Raceface this is pretty good as they state their sizes range from 37g to 57g, with their smallest ring being 30 tooth.

So, back to where I started; have I ever dropped my chain? In 4 months of riding, and 350 miles, using this chainring for XC, Trail, Enduro and Downhill disciplines, I didn't drop my chain once! Pretty amazing I thought. Rocks, roots, logs, mud, water, dry, pine-needles, nothing clogged this chainring or caused the chain to derail once. It has taken plenty of knocks from rocks, roots and logs too but not been damaged. After the 350 miles of tough riding, the chainring shows little wear and is operating perfectly.

I have to admit that some climbs had me blowing like a steam train, with a 1x10 standard set up running the 32 tooth ring. But hey, maybe you probably wouldn't run this setup for thorough XC purposes. What struck me though was the silence when pedalling; no little chinks to be heard, no chain rubbing on a front mech, just silence. Having only one mech shifter on the bars also meant I could run my dropper post button close to my grip too.

At a glance

Verdict All in all, this was a superb bit of kit. I hadn’t considered running a 1x10 set up before, but now I am converted! This is a brilliant quality chainring 100% British made by Rideworks; it takes bumps and clunks, but doesn’t drop your chain, is reasonably priced and competitive on weight, meaning you can fully concentrate on the important part – riding!

Rideworks says:

Narrow Wide - Thick Thin Chain Rings - 104 BCD from Rideworks

Designed to help prevent chain drop. The unique tooth profile with alternate thick thin teeth provides more contact area with your chain to reduce the chance of a drop.

All our chain rings are HARD anodised giving them 10 times the wear resistance of many similar chain rings.

Fit to your XC, Enduro, downhill, or free ride bikes.

Fitting a narrow wide - thick thin chain ring can negate the need for a noisy chain device.

The coating produced by the hard anodising process is chemically akin to many gemstones and shares their property of extreme hardness and resistance to abrasion