WickWerks Chainrings are designed to work in the typical applications with typical equipment — mountain rings on mountain bikes, 10-speed rings with 10-speed configured bikes, etc.. Most bicycles, front derailleurs and chains work well with WickWerks rings. However, for maximum performance, the following are things to consider. Note: Subtle equipment differences can effect overall maximum shifting performance.
Cranks: Most cranks work with WickWerks chain rings — provided the bolt circle, hole pattern and hole size match the ring specifications. Please double check when ordering. Note, there are some brands and configurations that require slightly different accommodations, notably the ZIPP Vuma Quad and the 2012+ SRAM Red cranks that include one fastener inserted from the back side directly into the crank arm. Please take note of these applications when selecting parts and ordering WickWerks chain rings. (Unfortunately, we do not make some sizes, configurations or bolt patterns yet.)
Make sure the crank is properly mounted with spacers and bottom bracket as recommended by the manufacturer. The main chain line should be as defined for the bicycle and derailleur.
Front Derailleur: Use a Front Derailleur with a relatively stiff derailleur cage. Light duty cages can bend out (bow slightly) with the added shift pressure of fast shifts. As the cage bows, shift quality deteriorates.Typically, a derailleur cage that is not perfectly flat on the outside surface (something with a stamped or molded contour) will work best. All the big manufacturers make good choices, but beware of the really light weight derailleurs as they often take weight out by making the cages thin (and therefore weak). A good stiff cage will keep the shifting crisp and precise over the long term.
Make sure the derailleur is positioned and adjusted correctly.
See Adjusting the Front Derailleur for more info.
Chains: The choice of chains can be important. Most chains work very well with WickWerks chainrings. However, in dirty environments, the very lightweight chains — especially those with lightening holes in the side plates — have shown problems.SRAM and Shimano both make high-end chains that perform well with WickWerks rings. Most KMC chains also work well. In our experience, the high-end Shimano chains have the best surface finish inside the chain links. That increases ring life and helps avoid chain suck in dirty environments — but, remember, nothing works perfect in the nasty.
9-Speed / 10-Speed / 11-Speed: Please also note the specification for number of ratios (cassette ratios) for a chain. The different chain types have slightly different widths and characteristics. We recommend you choose the rings designed for the correct number of ratios. For example, WickWerks rings designed for 9-speed applications, may not work as well with a 10-speed chain. Likewise, rings designed for 10-speed may not work as well with an 11-speed chain.
Side Note: Many customers have experimented with 11-speed chain on our 10-speed rings. We are aware that some dealers recommend this as OK, and in many cases it works fine, but if the rings are specified as 10-speed rings, we give no guarantee that they will work well for 11-speed applications.
Chain Catchers: Some people prefer to use a chain watcher or chain catcher to keep the chain from shifting down off the small ring. These are not necessary with the WickWerks rings, but when riding on rough or bumpy roads it is possible to drop or over-shift a chain. We have the best solution that also protects from over-shifts, our dual sided chain catcher we call the Sentinel.
Bash Guards: Also Optional, bash guards that go on a mountain bike triple in place of the large ring can certainly be used with WickWerks rings. Just like in other applications, the large ring of the chainring set is just not used. These work just fine with the WickWerks rings if your preference is to use one.