Race Face's new Narrow/Wide rings might just be the finest product of 2013.
Sliced bread - it's often held up there as 'the greatest product ever'. The highest echelon of what we consumers can expect from anything, ever - pre-sliced bread in a plastic bag.
Granted, it's been with us for some time now but aside from the occasional post-ride bacon sandwich it hasn't really impacted upon mountain biking a great deal. In that respect, the new Narrow/Ride ring from Race Face is threatening to make somewhat of a bigger splash.
SRAM's much-hyped XX1 was the first 1x11 drivetrain and they swiftly backed it up with the marginally cheaper but apparently more 'real world' X01. Aside from the obvious extra cog offered by the systems, we all swooned at the prospect of a single ring up front without the need for a chain device.
At first it looked odd, then strangely alluring and then finally the most desirable thing out there.
The two groupsets negated the thermoplastic confines of the chain device with cleverly profiled chainring teeth which 'gripped' the chain and when coupled with a clutch-equipped rear mech, held things in place.
Race Face recognised that the vast majority of us didn't have the required (and substantial) wedge or inclination to swap out an entire drivetrain to take advantage of these benefits and so produced the Narrow/Wide ring - a CNC cut chainring with a (you've guessed it) narrow then wide tooth profile.
Of course, if you've a low BB and ride fast over big rocks, you may still want to run a device but for the vast majority of us running 1x10 on the trails, the Narrow/Wide rings offer an elegantly simple solution to improving our everyday riding - more of this please, bike industry.