When the narrow wide chainring first hit the markets people thought it was a fad. Fast forward to the present and they are still here and more manufacturers are making them than ever before.
I recently purchased a Superstar I/O Chainring for just £25 – nearly half price compared to others – and this is what I’ve made of it:
Superstar I/O Chainring
Firstly the price. Superstar are well known for producing some really great products at some absolutely amazing prices. Not everything they make is great and their customer service has a reputation for being very poor, but when you’re faced with components that are cheap as chips nobody’s going to be arguing!
Superstar’s Narrow Wide ring comes in a variety of offerings, ranging from 30t to 38t and coming in black, blue, gold, gunmetal, lime, orange, purple, red and silver. So, those of us who like to bling our bikes are probably already getting a little bit excited about this product.
The I/O design uses a pattern of alternating profile teeth to help prevent any sideways movement that may occur when going over bumps, jumps or rough terrain. They also utilise precision machined debris gullies which work to remove mud, gunk and much so that you can ride all year round.
All chainrings use a four bolt, 104mm design for use with most crank sets and can be used for any type of 1x set up. As with all things Superstar, these chainrings are designed and CNC machined from 7075 T6 aluminium in the the UK. Which is pretty cool if you think about it.
I’ve been using the Superstar I/O narrow wide ring with my Shimano XT Shadow Plus mech and no other guides or devices to keep the chain on. To be completely honest, I’ve been absolutely stunned with its performance. I’ve taken it on a lot of local trails, done both the Twrch and Cafall with it and even taken it down the new downhill track at Cwmcarn, Pedalhounds, without losing the chain once!
This design definitely works and Superstar have managed to product a component that works just as well as their rivals at a fraction of the price. I’ve been using this set up now for just over 2 months and the difference it has made to my normal riding is amazing – there’s much less noise, much greater chain security and it looks bloody awesome!
For the price it is a bargain and it works an absolute treat. I have yet to find a downside to this component, although I’m guessing that it isn’t likely to have the longest lifespan on the bike, but only time will tell and I’ll do my best to keep you updated.
When you consider that even the closest matched competition is still priced at £10 higher than Superstar, I would not be surprised at all to see a lot of bikes featuring this component in their 1x set up. This has now firmly replaced my RaceFace Single Ring and I highly doubt that I will be straying far from the Superstar Narrow Wide chainring unless something really good comes up!