Wolf Tooth Components has built their reputation on quality Drop-Stop chainrings that are made in the USA. Part of that has to be their knack for offering solutions to drivetrain and BCD problems before we knew they existed. Problems like finding a replacement chainring for your fancy new Shimano XTR M9000 crankset. We have yet to test the Shimano 1x chainrings which do not use a narrow-wide profile, but even if they work as promised their reported price tag somewhere around $160 will be hard to swallow if you want to change ratios.
That’s where WTC components steps in. Already turning out chainrings in the newer 96mm BCD, WTC’s Patent Pending tooth profile now goes to 9000…
When it comes to the new M9000 crankset, not only is there a different BCD which is also found on the XT M782 and SLX M672 cranksets (though it’s not clear if the bolts are in the same location – we’re looking into it), but there is also a new bolt system for XTR. UPDATE: Wolf Tooth confirmed our assumption that the bolt spacing for the XT and SLX cranksets are NOT the same as the XTR, even though they are both 96mm BCD. The XT and SLX cranks use a symmetrical 4 bolt pattern, while XTR uses unevenly spaced bolts. WTC does plan to offer XT and SLX compatible 96mm BCD chainrings in the near future.
Instead of the traditional M8 chainring bolts that work for other chainrings, Shimano has made the move to M7 hardware which threads into the chainring. Because of this, Wolf Tooth recommends using the stock Shimano hardware with the new ring. Using a design much like the WTC 30t chainring for 104 BCD cranksets, the Shimano ring has built in threaded standoffs to dial in the chainline. According to WTC, the M9000 1x ring is listed as having a 51mm chainline, yet WTC feels 49mm is ideal due to the fact that the 40t cassette cog is dished towards the spokes.
If you’ve ever wondered what makes the WTC tooth design unique, there is a new section on their website that explains the tooth profile in detail. The short version is that the directional design is specially designed so that one side of the tooth engages securely with the chain, and the other side is specifically shaped to clear mud and grease. Machined in Minneapolis out of 7075 aluminum, XTR 9K chainrings will be available in 30, 32, 34, and eventually a 36t. Price is set at $74.95.