October 19, 2013

AbsoluteBlack Chainrings [short review]

I first heard of the thick/thin type chainrings while looking at SRAM’s XX1 mountain bike groupo. This group was a new class in it’s own right.  The removal of the front derailleur and the expansion of the rear cassette was ground breaking stuff and I wanted in.

Unfortunately the cost of the group is in the pro/elite category of bike components.

How does a father with two kids and who is not a “racerguy” get a hold of this magical technology?

Enter the 3rd party component builders.  Namely MRP and RaceFace.  They announced similar rings, but they were a bit out on timing as I was looking.  Then BikeRumor ran a story about AbsoluteBlack and upon first seeing the craftsmanship of the gear I was hooked.  Some quick questions to the manufacturer and an order was placed. I ordered a 34T for my On-One 456 and a 42T ring for my On-One Dirty Disco.

Apparently, I was not the only one interested in ditching the front derailleur completely.  My order took a bit longer as the rings proved to be popular for the small brand. A couple weeks went by and a little package ended up on my door from overseas.

My MTB ring showed up first and the thing is beautiful.

I was excited to rip apart my 456 and get it installed.  I was missing one part though and had to wait. When going from a 3 ring setup to a 1 ring “to rule them all” setup you need a different type of chainring bolt. By golly they are hard to find here in the middle of no where.  I eventually went in to Columbus and picked up some washers that would work.

Badda-bing-badda-boom bob’s your uncle and I got the bike setup.

And here is all the stuff I took off:

I took the mountain bike out to Alum Creek near Columbus, John Bryan park near Yellow Springs, and Huffman Trails in Dayton over the course of the last couple months.  Each trail system has some unique features, but they are all typical Midwest trails. Twisty tight singletrack with roots and plenty of things to knock the chain off the front ring.  So far it has yet to fall off, which to me is surprising and awesome!

Everyone that I show the ring to thinks it looks beautifully Medieval in make with the best craftsmanship. I think they are right.  I’d consider myself a thick/thin ring evangelist now.  No reason to have a front derailleur anymore in this Gilded Age of wonder!  I now have no front derailleurs mounted and am loving it.

Anyone need a couple front derailleurs, shifters, and chainrings?

Thanks for reading,

Jeremy

NOTE: Here is the Dirty Disco Drivetrain now, I’ll tweak a couple things but I love it so far.