Saturday, 26 April 2014

Test: Absolute Black N/W chainring

During the last winter I've had it with my chain guides. First, the Hope chain guide including the fancy Integrated Bash Ring sucked at keeping the chain on. Despite using the clutch rear mech I was just dropping it on and on. Then on one of the rides the lower roller on Gamut P30 seized up permanently. MRP G2 Mini SL got screwed up in Hafjell, in a stupid slow speed crash the boomerang got bent and I have never managed to straighten it up so that the chain wasn't rubbing on the upper guide. That was just before i lost the lower roller to it... lots of bad luck aye, enough to turn my eyes on narrow wide chain ring...

I decided to try that hyped thingy before buying a new guide. There were plenty of options but I wanted to buy something made in Europe, and it happened that there is a Polish bloke in UK making those. He runs a small manufacture called Absolute Black making very nice looking components. So I gave it a try. I bought a beautifully carved 34t chainring fitting my old XTR cranks. The finish quality is top notch and it arrived quickly in very nice packaging. I like such approach to business.

I rode it both on my full suspension Blur TRc and on my hardtail, equipped accordingly with Shimano Zee and Sram X9 Type2 rear mechs, so no compatibility issues. Through the course of approximately 20 rides I haven't dropped a chain even once, despite having no chain device what so ever. Trails around my place are very rocky so I am really amazed with the performance. On a hardtail I have no bash protection and hit a rock twice slightly and the thing stays straight. Once I even forgot to turn the clutch on my Zee mech and the chain haven't fallen off which means that most probably it is so good that you don't even need a clutch rear mech which will make it work with older mechs. I used it for trail riding and it requires a check in high speed situation in proper mountains. I also bought a Works Components spiderless chain ring and haven't had problems either. Long term test on both is to come after the summer.

So far it seems that narrow wide thingy is awesome, and Absolute Blacks incarnation of that brilliant idea is as good looking as well working. I recommend it big time!

Here you can see the offer of Absolute Black:

Arguably Yours
Wacek Kipszak


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