Review: WickWerks Performance Chainrings

Components
BRIDGE Technology

WickWerks has more in-depth info on their website (http://wickwerks.com/technology/chainrings/) about the specifics of the BRIDGE Technology, but in a nutshell, it uses a “bridge” or “ramp” instead of pins for lifting the chain from the small ring to the big ring (as shown in the illustration above). More points of contact equate to faster and “crisper” shifting.

WickWerks shift ramps/bridges.

On Bike Performance

So how did the WickWerks chainrings perform? When shifting up (from the small ring to the big ring) we did notice a faster, more positive shift compared to the stock X7 setup. As recommended on their website, WickWerks says that the rings respond better with a “fast, deliberate shifter motion” vs. “babying” the shift and we agree that this method yields the best results. There are quite a few reviews on our site for the WickWerks chainrings and the most common words used to describe the front shifting action is “fast, crisp and smooth” and we agree.

One thing we noticed was that there was not as big a performance difference when shifting from the big ring to the small ring. Naturally, the shifting mechanism when going from big ring to small ring is a “release” and not a lifting up, so this does not come as a surprise.

For you weight weenies out there, there is also some weight to be saved by upgrading to WickWerks rings. The stock X7 Truvativ/SRAM rings came in at 122 grams and the WickWerks came in at 94 on our postal scale. Not a huge difference, but since the real upgrade here is the improvement in shifting action and speed, the weight savings is an added bonus.

Left: Stock Truvativ 2×10 rings weight (122g). Right: WickWerks rings weight (94g).

Bottom Line

The WickWerks chainrings are a worthy upgrade that offer improved small ring to big ring shifting action and speed. Compared to the top of the line Shimano XTR or SRAM X.0 rings, WickWerks rings are also less expensive. If you have a less than top of the line drivetrain (like the SRAM X7 we upgraded from), you will definitely notice an improvement in shifting. You will also save about 30 grams and as an added bonus, you have the satisfaction of knowing that WickWerks chainrings are made in the USA.

For those cutting edge road cyclists out there wondering about 11-speed options, WickWerks has been doing testing and the unofficial word is that they have models that will work with 11-speed. Contact them for more info.

Value Rating

4 out of 5 Flaming Chili Peppers

Overall Rating

5 out of 5 Flaming Chili Peppers

From the manufacturer

“WickWërks chainring technology is shifting — fast, stable, precise front shifting. We accomplish this with our “Bridge Technology” (some call it “Radical Ramps”) which is integrated within all the chainrings we make. Bridge Technology makes front shifting Fast, Stable and Dependable so you can shift in conditions where the competition cannot.”

For more info: http://www.wickwerks.com/
“WickWërks is the source of the best, and fastest shifting bicycle chainrings for road, mountain and cx bikes.”

Or visit the WickWërks
Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WickWerks.

Review: WickWerks Performance Chainrings Gallery
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WickWerks - on the trail, close-up

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WickWerks - install outer view

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WickWerks - install inner view

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WickWerks - shift ramps/bridges

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WickWerks - big ring

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WickWerks - rings

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WickWerks - on trail

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Stock Truvativ 2x10 rings

122 grams on my postal scale
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WickWerks rings - weight

94 grams on my postal scale
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WickWerks - BRIDGE Technology

About the author: Gregg Kato

Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato has been the Site Manager of Mtbr.com for over 12 years and enjoys riding local Santa Cruz trails. Besides being an avid mountain biker, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.


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  • Finch Platte says:

    Hey!

    I’ve heard about rings that let you ride without a chain guide, that it keeps the chain on all by itself. Are these the same ones? This wasn’t mentioned in your review, so I’m wondering if I have the WickWerks confused with another brand.

    Thanks, Greggg!

    Ggary

    • Hammil says:

      You are thinking of either the wolftooth brand chain ring or the raceface brand.
      I have seen the raceface in action with a shimano rear derailleur with a clutch and it works great, no chain guide required.
      Just purchased the setup.

  • Gregg Kato says:

    Hey Ggary! I think you are referring to different ones. I’m not sure which brand you are referring to, but WickWerks is mainly for faster, crisper shifts, not necessarily built-in chain retention. Interesting idea, though! If you remember the name of that brand, let me know!

  • whatevs says:

    Finch, you’re referencing thick/thin tooth profiles available from SRAM XXn, Wolftooth or Raceface. Importantly, those ring designs are ONLY for single chainring setups. So really an apples/oranges comparison to these Wickwerks rings.
    The reason that thick/thin only works on single rings is multi-ring setups can’t predict/control which chain link will land on which ring tooth. You also cannot have odd numbers of teeth on a thick/thin design.

  • jim says:

    xtr m970 24×38 double conversion, -tempting!

  • Rex says:

    How would you rate these rings in comparison to the shifting action of a SRAM X0 or X9 level chainring?

  • Learux says:

    How is the longevity of those? if they hold up, I will score a pair.

  • Jimmy Dee says:

    Funny. It seems that the improvement in shifting feel comes largely from the increased number of points. I asked Chris at wickwerks if there were any numbers as to how much weight was being carried by the broad surface of the ramps and he freaked out at me as if I was pissing in his morning coffee.

    Over the course of 19 emails, he kept telling me how I was stupid and not a real engineer and I just kept saying that I was not interested in how a bunch of people felt, I was just interested in whether or not the ramps were helping in carrying the load.

    The conversation ended by him telling me that he had ‘tons’ of evidence, but ultimately refusing to show any of it. Specifically, I was asking for a comparison of the load carried at the end of the ramp compared to the load carried by a pin.

    My conclusion therefore is that there is no such evidence and that the performance increase happens because there are 10 points of engagement rather than the conventional 4.

    On their website, they claim that the effects are that the chain resists slipping off by virtue of the increased contact of the ramps, however 3 points of contact at the bottom of the links vs a broad surface contact on a round pin that fits into the form of the chain doesn’t improve it. Primary load bearing is still at the end of the ramp, where it is lifting the chain. I showed the pictures to 3 engineers where I work and they all said the same thing without me saying a word.

    It may have less chance of slipping, but it seems that the reason is not what they think.

    My suggestions to use a shaped ramp to match the curve or to mill away the sections of the ramp that were not in contact with the chain (therefore not contributing) or to use an partial tooth or lip to hold the chain in place as more effective ways of accomplishing their goals were laughed off as infantile. In spite of the fact that these very methods are used on Shimano cassettes for many years.

    I don’t deny that the cranks improve things. They clearly do. But not for the reasons described on wickwerks’s website. I am concerned about a company that doesn’t really understand how their own product works and would rather write 11 lengthy emails telling someone how stupid he is and how great their engineers are instead of simply answering the question asked and providing a simple and basic proof.

  • TBCamarillo says:

    Hey Jimmy Dee
    I work with a bunch of engineers and I would recommend you let them keep their secret sauce and quit prying into their design since this is what keeps their business in business. I think they know exactly why it works and they are not calling you stupid because what you are asking is stupid but because you are stupid enough to think they are stupid enough to give you their trade secrets jus because you request it. If there is a possibility that you will publish why they work or steal their idea or sell their ideas then they are smart enough not to give away this to any crazy person that requests it. Hey company ABC can I have all your secrets? Hell no, quit calling and emailing and if that doesn’t work here are some insulting emails that say effectively “go away dumb#%+”.

  • Chris Wickliffe says:

    Thank you TBCamarillo! Well said!!! I certainly didn’t want to give any design secrets to jimmy Dee nor did I want to have my engineer Eldon spend any of his time on this guy. I thought Jimmy Dee’s opinions were one sided especially considering he’s never even seen or examined the rings on a bike in person. You are absolutely correct, I was not about to give up any secrets to any person, crazy or not, just because they emailed me and asked. This guy was like an annoying fly that wouldn’t stop emailing me, I finally had to brush jim off and I had to block him and automatically send his emails to spam so I could focus on positive things with my time.

  • Chris Wickliffe says:

    Thank you TBCamarillo! Well said!!! I certainly didn’t want to give any design secrets to jimmy Dee nor did I want to have my engineer Eldon spend any of his time on this guy. I thought Jimmy Dee’s opinions were one sided especially considering he’s never even seen or examined the rings on a bike in person. You are absolutely correct, I was not about to give up any secrets to any person, crazy or not, just because they emailed me and asked. This guy was like an annoying fly that wouldn’t stop emailing me, I finally had to brush him off and I had to block him and automatically send his emails to spam so I could focus on positive things with my time. Have fun biking everyone and best wishes in everything you do in life!!!

  • JA says:

    As a consumer who bought these chain rings based on the manufacturer claims, I’m extremely pleased with the shift speed and feel over all my previous experiences. I don’t need to know the engineering details so long as I’m not being BS’d about the end result, and believe me, these are a worthy upgrade to any bike. It werks! har har

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