Last fall, Bikerumor previewed a wide selection of chainrings and derailleur pulleys from a Ukrainian company called KA Engineering. Since then I was given the chance to test out their titanium chainring & aluminum pulley wheels, which have endured this summer with hardly a scratch to show.

Read on and we’ll toss a few parts on the scale, and fill you in on how they performed.

KA Engineering titanium 28t chainring, Cinch style

KA offers a wide range of spiderless chainrings to fit most popular crank spindles. Buyers can choose between ti or aluminum, and round or oval shapes. Regardless of model and tooth count, KA’s spiderless ti rings sell for 179€ while the aluminum models range from 54-60€.

KA Engineering ti chainring on scale, actual weight

The Ti chainrings are made from aerospace-grade TI-6AL-4V. Weights will vary depending on model and size, but my round titanium 28t non-Boost Cinch ring hit the scale at 67g.

KA Engineering aluminum 30t chainring, actual weight on scale

The aluminum rings are made from 7075-T651 alloy, and offer tons of anodized color options. This beautiful blue 30t ring weighs just 53g.

KA Engineering aluminum pulley wheels on scale, actual weight

The company also produces sealed-bearing pulley wheels in both ti and aluminum. The pulleys feature narrow/wide teeth but the profile is different from the Sharktooth design used on KA’s chainrings. Aluminum prices range from 40-65€, and they come in a rainbow of colors. The Ti pulleys sell for 110€ per pair.

Ride Report:

KA Engineeringaluminum chainring and pulley wheels on bike

I installed KA Engineering’s components while converting/updating an old mountain bike to a 1×10 drivetrain. So a new chain, derailleur, and cassette were all put on with the chainring and pulleys. Right away I was stoked on the appearance of the colored pulleys and machined ti ring (and that ano aluminum ring too), they definitely add a little flash for your cash.

KA Engineering, ti chainring wear

I made this upgrade in late May, so between test riding other bikes I have ridden a little over half a season with KA’s ring and pulleys (I only briefly installed the aluminum ring until the ti version arrived). At this point the ti ring is showing so little wear that if I cleaned it up nicely it could be mistaken for a brand new part.

KA Engineering, aluminum pulleys wear pic

The aluminum pulleys are also still at 95% or better. The chain has worn down some of the anodizing, but beyond that there’s only a minuscule amount of wear on the wider teeth. I did notice that the profiled teeth tend to retain a lot of dirt and grime, but in the dusty conditions I’ve had, I never experienced any issues due to excessive buildup.

KA Engineering ti chainring, front side

For the chainrings KA has created their own narrow/wide design they call Sharktooth, in reference to their teeth’s hooked-back shape. The width profiling isn’t really complex; every second tooth gets a thicker step on both sides. The ridge between the steps gets a little grimy, but overall the chainring’s teeth stayed much cleaner than the pulley wheels.

KA Engineering ti chainring, Sharktooth teeth protruding from chain

With no proper tensioner or chainguide in place (but a clutched SRAM derailleur), I have not dropped a chain since installing the KA components. Perhaps the retention owes something to the depth of the teeth, which actually stick out above the chain (see pic above). But between that and the Sharktooth profiling, something is working.

I haven’t felt any penalty as far as drag or friction. KA’s ring and narrow/wide pulleys run just as smooth as any other drivetrain I’ve ridden. With all new components one would expect good performance, and luckily that’s all I’ve had.

KA Engineering, titanium chainring, flat

One shop guy I know thought titanium might be a bit soft for chainrings, but with 1×10 or 1×11 setups the rings are so small they’re likely to avoid most trail bashing abuse. Consequently, I haven’t smacked the ti ring on anything yet, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I never do.

I’m pretty impressed with the chain retention and lack of wear on the chainring and pulleys. Since they’re also lightweight and look great on the bike, I expect to be riding them for quite some time.

KAeng.pro

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22 Comments
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Marin
Marin
4 years ago

What’s the longevity of Ti chainring?
Alu rings last me about 3k until they star making annoying noise.
If this lasts for 10k it would be a decent deal but I somehow doubt that.

For value, the best idea are SRAM steel chainrings that last 2-3x more than alu and cost 1/3 the price. 🙂

Pinko
Pinko
4 years ago
Reply to  Marin

I have had the sram steel ring, it is made by cheap material, mine bended after a little impact going over a log at slow speed. None of my alu rings bent in the same situation.

Kermit
Kermit
4 years ago
Reply to  Pinko

That’s strange. Mine is holding up pretty well. It feels like the rocks I regularly impact get damaged more than the ring. I use it with the Sram Hard Chrome chain and the drivetrain seems to last forever.

Thomas Skubiszewski
4 years ago
Reply to  Marin

I ride KA’s ti ring since their first prototypes. more than 5500 km so far all year long without compromises. not a single chain drop with the tooth profile. I won’t go for steel as it is soft & heavier than Ti.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
4 years ago

Few steels used for chainrings are softer than even average Ti alloys Ti has poor marring properties. This should be a good compromise between steel’s durability and aluminium’s weight. It’s not a smart move with money though. They’re heavier than aluminum rings and they won’t last so much longer that it’s a financially smart decision. But I’d buy to have cool Ti stuff for the hell of it.

J S
J S
4 years ago

Looks similar to the Garbaruk Melon, which is great in dry weather, but horrible in thick mud (mega chainsuck!). I’d like to hear about this one in the mud because the Ti one is very tempting.

Thomas Skubiszewski
4 years ago
Reply to  J S

I can tell it is a game changer when played with the matching KA’s pulleys, they clear mud much better & last… last…last… it is even annoying since I have no excuses no more for buying other pulleys 😉

Kutikhikn
Kutikhikn
4 years ago
Reply to  J S
Chase
Chase
4 years ago

And now we know why derailleur pulleys are black. I am interested in one of their oval cinch rings though. They look great.

Frank
Frank
4 years ago

To is very hard, so it might last 10k or more. Unless you smash it into something. And with MTB tech changing so fast right now, do you really want to invest in a chainring for the long term?

With that said, I’d totally get one for something like Tour Divide or extended bike packing trips.

Frank
Frank
4 years ago

*Ti is very hard. #autocorrect

Christopher Kwok
4 years ago

Ti is not that hard compared to tool steel… but it is hard wearing, still it is up to the condition of the chain which is the major killer of any drivetrains.

JBikes
JBikes
4 years ago

What chainring is made of hardened tool steel?

Shafty
Shafty
4 years ago

The biggest cause of wear is almost always dirt/dust, and it’s much harder than any chainring material. Perhaps if the steel SRAM uses has any real hardness, it might keep wear at bay a while longer. Something tells me cheaper doesn’t equal hardened steel. The KA titanium will probably wear at a similar rate to typical steel.

I think for 1x/NW rings, go for the cheaper options unless you keep it spotless and/or replace your chain often. It’s hard to justify a fancy ring, outside of aesthetics, when a new chain and Race Face ring cost less than their Ti option.

blah blah blah
blah blah blah
4 years ago

mmm shiney!

Primach
4 years ago

I want to say that even with aggressive riding on IXS EU Cup during the season, their rings are still as new, I advise!

Bikejunkie
Bikejunkie
4 years ago

There’s been a lot of chain suck on that frame!

Thomas Skubiszewski
4 years ago

Mud anyone ?
https://www.flickr.com/photos/skubi/37539272586/in/datetaken/
from an Ukrainian national team bike…

rasputin
rasputin
4 years ago

I just read the last comments on the linked article about KA Engineering…

Andy Ra
Andy Ra
4 years ago

Somebody who pays 200 bucks for a chain ring needs his head checked!

Crossmax
Crossmax
1 year ago

If someone finds this post looking for recent feedback on this company – don’t order! They haven’t been shipping for a year and you are likely to face a lot of frustration (and no product) if you decide to order.