WickWerks Bicycle Chainring Shift Technology
WickWerks chainrings are known for awesome, fast, stable shifting. The shift technology that makes this performance improvement is something we call BRIDGE — a little different technological approach to chain movement.
Please follow the video link (right) for a good explanation and demonstration of the WickWerks shifting technology (filmed by a visitor to the WickWerks booth at the 2013 UCI Masters World Cyclocross Championships in Louisville KY.) Please also see the graphics and text explanation and comparison contained below.
Though the shift technology is simple and straightforward, proof is in the final performance – where the chain meets the teeth. That’s where you’ll see that it really works … and many great athletes say the same thing. This is the story of the WickWerks shift technology given as a comparison to more common front shifting technology you may be familiar with.
For more detailed information, please also read our Technical Blog Post – WickWerks Shifting Examination on the same subject – a more detailed written explanation with lots of images.
Shift Technology Comparison:
WickWerks BRIDGE Chainrings
WickWerks chainrings have multiple bridges spread out every three, four or five teeth, providing a fast positive engagement of the chain no matter where in the crank set revolution you choose to shift.
WickWerks chainrings have low profile teeth near each bridge and an angled area above the top portion of each bridge that allow the chain to lean in and mesh smoothly onto the next ring during an up-shift. The low profile teeth around the chainrings allow the front derailleur cage to physically move the chain past a cut tooth allowing for very faster downshifts, especially under load.
Traditional Chainring Pins
Traditional chainrings have two sets of pins 180 degrees apart (some now have three sets of pins 120 degrees apart) providing fewer chances to engage the chain than with WickWerks ramps that circle the entire chain ring.
Traditional pins snag the chain by a link to pull it onto the next chain ring when up-shifting. When downshifting, with traditional chainrings the chain often stays engaged with the teeth due to chain tension and because all the teeth are full height – thus not allowing a place for the front derailleur cage to physically move the chain past the teeth. This results in slower downshifts, especially under load.
WickWerks Chain Support During a Shift
BRIDGE Shift Technology lifts the chain from the bottom of the links directly below multiple load points of the chain. This way of lifting holds the chain firmly in place with much more stability – partly because there is more contact area with the chain, and partly because of lifting under the load points rather than in the middle of a chain link. The result is superior engagement without the slippage of traditional pin designs, especially when the pins wear.
With WickWerks chainrings it doesn’t matter when the chain contacts the ramp, it engages quickly because there are lots of ramps! WickWerks shift technology was the FIRST in the world to lift BOTH the inner and outer chain links from two or more multiple load points of a chain. Whether the ring has a pin above the ramp or not it’s our Patented Ramp & Shift Technology that allows this unique engagement of the chain to happen, and happen fast.
End result? WickWerks chainrings provide superior contact between the chain and ramps for faster and more solid engagement. That’s BRIDGE shift technology.
Pin Type Chain Support for a Shift
Traditional chainrings use pins that put the entire chain load on the small contact area between the pin and a single outer link plate – hence, the chain can more easily slip off the pin, and it puts more stress on local points of the chain. It is most noticeable under load and when the pins begin to wear.
Pins that lift at the center of a link also have some stability issues. As the chain is picked up from the nearly horizontal position at shift initiation, the angle of engagement changes as the crank rotates. That angle change causes the link on the pin to pivot a little as the load direction changes — causing a quasi stable condition that can result in the chain “falling” off the pin. Contrasting that to the WickWerks shift technology, the load direction does not change as the crank rotates – it stays perpendicular to the chain – adding to stability.
Traditional chainring pins can only grab an outer link! The pins are designed to slip between outer plates and under the inner links. They physically cannot grab an inner link. WickWerks shift technology, on the other hand, holds BOTH outer and inner chain links because the lift is at the connection where the links come together. The WickWerks bridges also lift at multiple points simultaneously to firmly support the chain on the ramp for superior stability.
Some Final Words on Chainrings:
The technology differences are more than just pretty pictures and explanations. BRIDGE shift technology is a significant leap forward in chainring shift performance. The implementation of these radical ramps with an associated change in shifting behavior yields amazing and quick results for most riders.
Yes, to effectively use BRIDGE shift technology, it does require a change in the way a shift is initiated (we recommend fast, deliberate shifter motion — as opposed to babying the shift). Try it. It’s the only true way to understand how this newer technology will effect your bicycle world. It works.