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Single narrow / wide chainrings - performance in the mud for CX

What is everyone's thoughts on using single narrow / wide chainrings in muddy CX race conditions (vs. a standard single chainring with bashguard)? I like the idea of narrow / wide chainrings in dry conditions, because it is much harder to drop a chain (if you bang the rear wheel on a barrier or the ground). Interbike is showing a bunch of upcoming design changes to single narrow / wide chainrings that will help with the problem of the chain being clogged with mud (but they are not out yet).

i.e. from Wolf Tooth's website:

"Note on mud: wide/narrow chainrings do no work well in heavy mud (Wolf Tooth or any other brand) if you plan to ride in very muddy conditions, we recommend a chainguide or chainkeeper and clutch-type rear derailleur! Without these precautions, you may experience chaindrops and/or chainsuck."

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Absolutely no problems in 2x fairly muddy races for me this year.  Including lots of leaves/grass clippings on both courses.  I run RaceFace ring with X9 short cage, and it seems like most of the mud just gets pushed out to the sides.  These are in 60 and 40 minute races with no bike change.  My wife has the same setup on her bike, 30 minute race, even less buildup/worry.  Have been both peanut buttery mud and thin soupy mud. 


I do swap chains every 4-6 weeks during the season tho (3 chains per bike).  Running the cheap SRAM chain (1030?)

I heard rumors of people having problems with CX1 chainrings at the apparently very muddy midwest regional championship race in Michigan this past weekend.  Anyone out there care to confirm?

Adam, is your X9 RD a type 2?

yup. Type 2. I raced at the regional 40 minutes no bike change. Never lost the chain or had a bad shift until last lap. I had to drop 3 speeds to get out of the 28 to the 23 or whatever the gear is 2 down from the 32. 42 x 11-32. Keeps me out of the 32 most of the time and that in turn keeps the RD away from spokes. B bike has 40 11-28

This is interesting to me.  I wonder if there are subtle differences between raceface vs wolftooth vs sram 1x chainrings affecting their performance in extra muddy conditions.

Then again maybe it has to do with the chain width of a 10s chain vs an 11s chain.  If 11s chains are narrower than 10s, it might be easier for the spaces between the chain pins/rollers to get clogged leading to chain drop.

I have the cx1 groupset.I live in Italy and I race all the winter and I haven't any problem with te mud,absolutely fantastic the cx1 with the dedicated chainring

wolftooth chainrings are the real deal when it comes to not dropping a chain. i have tried all other methods leading up their ring with mixed to disappointment. The rings work in all conditions of wet, sloppy thick mud, to even when its dry and you make the dumb mistake dropping the bike instead of setting it down after dismount. No drop. Ran with regular derailleur no clutch....most important thing is to get the chain length correct. 

It depends on the mud.  I ran all season CX1 last year with zero drops.  At cx nats however, on the Monday re-schedule day during the practice two juniors, both with Wolf tooth rings, had repeated drops right in front of the pits.  The mud was thick and sticking to everything.  Just 30 minutes later another junior had no issue with CX1 but the course had been beat in a little bit and while still very muddy, it wasn't coming up near as sticky.   I can't state with any science whether the CX1 ring performed better than the wolf, or whether the conditions were slightly better.


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