Renthal 1XR retainer chainring review

By in Reviews

Product Full Name: Renthal 1XR chain ring
Retail Price: £49.99
Available From:

We’ve been riding the brand new Renthal 1XR retainer chainring for a few months now on a couple of bikes, and have been very impressed with the performance it offers. Like other Renthal products, the 1XR comes in their trademark gold finish, and there are numerous sizes to fit a 104bolt circle diameter from 32-38teeth – though a smaller 30t version is in the pipeline for a summer 2015 release.

The brand new Renthal 1XR chainring

Research and Design

Whilst others brands reacted rapidly to SRAM’s innovative X-Sync chain ring system, Renthal stepped back and chose to do it their own way. Initially they looked at the durability issues in other designs and how muddy conditions hampered performance. And they went to the drawing board to tackle those two major points. Renthal experimented with a few designs initially, including some extra tall teeth and a strange design with three in-line teeth. The most reliable chain retention was achieved however, with an alternating narrow/wide tooth profile – so using that as a basis, Renthal’s designers addressed issues with the leading brands – and the 1XR is the result.

Constructed from 7075 T6 aluminium, the 1XR uses a 1.8mm/3.5mm alternating tooth profile that interlocks with the male and female chain links, to offer chain retention without the use of a guide.

Opposing narrow and wide chain ring teeth mate perfectly with the male/female chain links

There are three noticeable differences compared to other narrow/wide chainrings we’ve seen:

  1. The machined channel of the narrow teeth extends further down, so mud holding on the shoulder won’t affect the chain, or build up enough to lift the chain and de-rail it.
  2. In each tooth bed, Renthal has machined an angled clearing groove, so mud is purged down and out whilst the chain ring rotates.
  3. The shape of the wide teeth have a profile that allows the ring to wear for longer before being replaced. When chainrings wear, the chain plates rub on the chainring tooth face as well as the rollers – this increases wear on both chain and chain ring, and adds friction. Renthal has machined the wide teeth so this doesn’t occur until the chainring is so worn that it will need replacing anyway.

The machined channel for the narrow teeth has a low shoulder to avoid mud build up

As the chain engages, it purges mud down and away from the tooth bed

Note the angled tooth bed grooves, and profile of the wide tooth to ensure only the chain roller contacts the chain ring

On the trail

Like most things we’ve ridden in the last few months, the weather has been mostly wet and muddy out – perfect to put Renthal’s new technology to the test.

One retainer chainring has been used with a Shimano 1 x 10 set up, and the other with SRAM 1 x 11.

The Shimano set up has been silent for the entire test period in all gears, there is virtually no signs of wear yet and chain retention has been flawless. The SRAM set up has been silent in all but the biggest 42tooth sprocket, though that extreme only suffers very minor noise – and it’s only usually for those get me home moments when the tank is empty. Again, chain retention to date has been flawless.

Silent performance with Shimano, and no wear effects – yet

As expected, both sample 1XR chainrings run perfectly true and have offered quiet and reliable performance in normal conditions. Out in the really foul mud though, is where Renthal’s research and development has really come in to effect.

Thin gritty mud – the stuff you tend to get at trail centres – never really builds up enough to affect retention performance, but that horrendous grinding noise always lets you know when your expensive transmission is wearing out with every crank revolution. The clearing groove comes in to amazing effect here, and we found that when on group rides at trail centres, that the Renthal ring was a lot quieter – and inspection revealed far less grinding paste on and around the actual teeth.

We avoided over cleaning during our test period. This SRAM set up may look a bit muddy, but it runs silently.

In thicker, claggy mud that collects on the bike there is far less of an issue with wearing your drive train down, but on many chainrings the clogging up can lift the chain away from the teeth enough to come off entirely. This has happened to us on occasion with various chainrings – on the sort of rides where your wheels stop going round too! So far, the 1XR chain ring has continued running in conditions that can clog a Rockshox Pike with a 2.3in tyre up completely – we’re impressed.

We say

Although it’s been a while coming, Renthal’s entrance to the narrow/wide retaining chain ring market is damed impressive. It’s nice when companies take a step back to make a genuinely great product – Hope did this with their crank set, and now another great British company have cracked it again.

Must be something in the water.

The Renthal 1XR chain ring is an absolute no brainer. Highly recommended.



In Reviews


You might also like...

Crank Brothers Iodine 2 Wheels Review

This is the latest Crank Brothers Iodine wheel – a unique design in mountain bike wheels that sees the nipples mounted to the hub, and spokes to the rim…

ExclusiveSRAM Eagle Longterm Test

We’ve been riding the SRAM Eagle 12 speed transmission for 11months now. Check out what we think of the shifting performance, durability and overall package

Why not try..?

Tom Grundy: 2011 BDS, Round 1 Nant-G

Factory Jackson blogger Tom Grundy has put this sweet edit together for the peeps at Check it out! Round 2 at Moelfre is only 2 weeks away and with the Athertons and Gracia racing, […]

Federal BMX – Barcelona 2013

This is a “pop the kettle on, sit down and absorb” edit from the crew at Federal as they destroy everything the streets of Barcelona have to offer – “Last month we sent a bunch […]

Skyline Gondola – Queenstown Bike Park

Ride Skyline with New Zealand’s only Gondola assisted bike lift. In amongst the pine trees of the Ben Lomond Reserve, the newly named ‘Queenstown Bike Park’ boasts world class trails with varying terrain for all […]