After the great 1x migration, quite a few manufacturers at this point have jumped in with narrow-wide chainrings of their own. And why not? The chainrings seem simple enough to design and any patents seem to be fairly easy to circumvent. However, not all narrow-wide rings are created equal, and as more riders switch over to the single front chainring options, tooth wear is becoming a common topic of conversation.
So how would a company go about creating a chainring with proper chain retention but with a design that doesn’t wear out as fast as others? Based on their first 1x mountain chainring, WickWërks is looking to replace narrow-wide with a Z…
Where other chainring companies are using a narrow wide pattern for their chainring teeth, WickWërks is using a z-pattern. That is, one side of the chainring is the mirror opposite of the other. Using the photos above as an example, the wide tooth of the ‘narrow-wide’ pattern on one side of the ring would be the narrow tooth of the narrow-wide pattern on the other side of the ring. It’s difficult to make out in photos, but the concept seems very similar to the MRP Wave Ring design, but uses an alternating left-right z-pattern instead of the left-center-right pattern of the Wave Ring. Much like MRP’s chainring, WickWërks claims the design results in better chainring wear. Check out the WickWërks product explanation page for a gif illustration of how the teeth engage with the chain.
From the outside the chainring looks just like any other narrow-wide ring, it’s only when you realize the two sides are flipped that the design clicks. Like other WickWërks chainrings, the Z-Ring is Made in the USA out of 7075-T6 aluminum with a MIL Spec. Type 3 True Hard Anodized finish.
On the back side of the chainring you’ll find a reinforcing rib to offer plenty of stiffness. Initially available in three sizes, the 30t ring uses a 64mm BCD while the 32 and 34t rings will be available in 104mm BCD. Eventually a 36t 104 BCD ring will be added to the mix.
Claimed weights are listed at 50g for the 30t, 36g for the 32t, and 43g for the 34t. Our test 32t ring came in 1g less at 35g. Compatible with 9, 10, and 11 speed chains, Z-rings will sell for $48.50 and are available now.