One by drivetrains are great, but not all riders can or want to push bigger rings. Fortunately for them, a number of manufacturers have introduced ways to get rings that are smaller than the standard 32t on various cranks. Rings like the Wolf Tooth Components Drop Stop 30t which uses threaded posts in order to clear the spider on your average 104 BCD crankset.
The downside to downsizing your chainrings is that the smaller rings in some cases wear noticeably faster. After all that’s the theory behind Shimano’s Dynasys – keeping the chain in bigger gears up front helps to diminish overall wear. Rather than throwing out the chainring with the chain lube however, WTC has an answer. Utilizing a material that is by their own account incredibly difficult to make chainrings out of, WTC is introducing their second stainless steel chainring option which happens to be the first for 104 BCD cranks…
In spite of the fact that 416 stainless steel is expensive and takes longer to machine, WTC feels it is the perfect material for narrow-wide chainrings like their Drop Stop rings due to how much longer it will last. Claiming 5-10 times the lifespan of a comparable aluminum chainring, the SS rings are designed and manufactured in Minneapolis and use their patented Drop Stop tooth pattern.
Weighing in at 72g for the 30t chainring, the ring uses a standard 48mm chainlink when used on a 3x crank and 49mm chainlink when used on a 2x crank. The 30t SST ring joins the 24t SDM SST which WTC has been selling for now for about 6 months. According to WTC’s Brendan Moore, their testers have been on the 24t rings trying to destroy them, but without a single report of wear issues.
As an added bonus, WTC claims the 30t 104 BCD Drop Stop ring is the only 30t ring that is Quarq power meter compatible thanks to the little cutout at the edge. Currently only available in 30t, WTC says they may consider a 32t SST ring due to the popularity of that size. However, Brendan points out that once you get to 32-34t chainrings their larger size makes the aluminum rings fairly durable which means the additional cost of the SST rings will be harder to justify at $119.95 for the 30t 104 SST. However, WTC listens to their consumers and if there is a demand – they will be more than happy to make it.