Performance Chainrings, Faster Shifting

WickWerks is a small company based in Ogden, Utah that makes innovative chainrings for mountain, cross and road bikes. What sets their chainrings apart from other rings is their patented B.R.I.D.G.E. technology, which uses 'bridges' instead of pins on the rings to move the chain. Their rings are made out of CNC 7075-T6 aluminum and made in the USA. The company promotes their chainrings as being faster than conventional chainrings. We received a set of 2x10 chainrings in 38/24 teeth size that replaced the same size on our SRAM X7 equipped test bike. We found the WickWerks chainrings to be a worthy upgrade.

WickWerks on the trail, close-up.

First Impression

Upon first receipt of the chainrings, we noticed two things. They felt significantly lighter than normal rings and the CNC machining and anodizing ("MIL Type 3 True Hard Anodize", according to WickWerks) make for a visually appealing product. Many might not care how the rings look, but as long as you are going to upgrade, why not get something that adds a little flair?

It is also nice to see a small company like WickWerks endorse a big name racer in one Katie Compton (USA Cycling Cyclocross National Champion many times over). They are also a sponsor of the Kenda/Felt Mountain Bike team as well as a few other cross and track racers. They have also run product sweepstakes right here on Mtbr.com and via their Facebook page.

The WickWerks chainrings are available for a multitude of mountain bike, road bike and cross bike drivetrains including 2x10, mountain triple, mountain double, road compact and standard and about 6 variations for cross bikes. They have bash guard ready models, too. Prices range from $95.50 to $159.50. The 2x10 38/24 we tested sells for $132.50. Currently, WickWerks products are sold manufacturer direct only via their website.

Install Process



Left: WickWerks install outer view. Right: WickWerks install inner view.

The install was very simple and the hardest part of the whole process is unrelated to the WickWerks chainrings themselves. Depending on who built your bike, removing the cranks can be a bit difficult since they require a lot of torque when installed. On my Airborne Hobgoblin test bike, I had to use a breaker bar on my 8mm Park Tool Allen wrench to get enough leverage. Once the cranks are off, unbolting the stock X7 Truvativ rings was easy enough (5 and 6mm Allens required).

When bolting on your new WickWerks rings, be sure to properly align the big ring, placing the triangle indicator in the same direction as the crank. This is the same position where the crank protector pin is located on the stock big ring. (If you match up the teeth pattern on the big ring, it is also the same as the stock ring.) After you install the big ring, install the small ring and re-install the cranks. The types and sizes of tools you need will vary depending on what brand and model of cranks you have. Also, be sure to torque the cranks back on with the manufacturer recommended torque specs. You don't want to have your crank fall off mid-ride!

WickWerks recommends replacing your chain when installing your new rings, but our Airborne did not yet have a ton of miles on it when I did the WickWerks install so the chain was still fairly new. It has not been a problem during my testing. Once on the bike, I did have to do some barrel adjustment to the shifter cable even though the new rings are the same size as the old, but just a touch.

Continue to page 2 for WickWerks Technology, Performance, Bottom Line and full photo gallery.

BRIDGE Technology



WickWerks has more in-depth info on their website (https://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 2x10 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: https://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.