Wolf Tooth DropStop (V2) 32T Chainring

Why Does the Chainline Matter?

The chainline is the distance between the center of the chainring and the center (side to side) of the frame/wheel. So a 49mm chainline means that the ring is 2mm further inboard than a 51mm chainline.

SRAM’s X-Sync debuted with a 51mm chainline on a 74mm 4-bolt spider because it included 36t and 38t rings. To keep these larger rings clear from the chainstay, the ring simply needed to be pushed out a little further from the center of the frame.

Race Face followed suit, running a 51mm chainline on its direct-mount rings.

For my needs, a 49mm chainline works a bit better while climbing, since it puts less angle on the chain in the granny ring (42t) of the cassette.

My chain frequently drops down the cassette when I run setups with a 51mm chainline and pedal up technical trails. This generally occurs when I am forced to “ratchet” (i.e. quick and sudden backpedalling) the cranks in order to reduce the chain angle and decrease drivetrain drag.

Wolf Tooth has made the important decision to design their smaller rings (that can physically fit closer to the chain stays) with a 49mm chainline, and then only bump out to a 51mm chainline for their big, 36T ring.

This narrower chainline on the “normal person” sized chainrings matches my riding style much better than the 51mm chainline used by their competitors.

Chain Retention

Really the only time folks seem to lose a chain off a modern Narrow/Wide chainring is while back-pedaling during a compression of the rear suspension. As discussed above, this can be influenced by the chainline as much as the tooth shape.

On a personal level, the only time I seem to loose my chain off any NW ring is when doing trials-style pedal ratchets to loft my front wheel while riding with some speed in rough terrain. This is not frequent at all, maybe 1-2 times per summer, and could easily be eliminated with a micro guide like the new MRP 1x. I have lost my chain about an equal number of times with first generation Wolf Tooth rings, Race Face rings, and SRAM X-Sync rings.

Marshal Olson reviews the Wolf Tooth DropStop (v2) 32t Chainring for Blister Gear Review
Marshal Olson on the Wolf Tooth DropStop (v2) Chainring.

I have yet to lose a chain with the updated Wolf Tooth ring, but since it is such an uncommon occurrence anyway, I can’t conclusively point to improvement in this area. The new Wolf Tooth ring does distinguish itself in some other critical ways though.

Noise and Friction

The original SRAM X-Sync rings are quite loud while pedaling; I can hear the chain grinding away at the teeth when things are dusty and dry.

The rings themselves would develop scallops on the trailing edge of the tooth, and wear out pretty quickly as a result. (I typically saw around 600 miles of life from X-Sync rings.)

The Race Face rings and the first gen Wolf Tooth rings both offer a marked improvement over the X-Sync rings. They have run much quieter for me, and have lasted much longer (1000+mi). I believe that that Wolf Tooth and Race Face’s addition of a bevel on the top of the teeth helps the chain clear the chainring in a much smoother and cleaner fashion, and also reduces wear.

I was quite surprised by how much more quiet and smooth the new offset and angled Wolf Tooth ring felt when I first installed it. That impression remains when I swap between the Race Face or the older version of the Wolf Tooth rings. I feel less friction in the system, hear less noise while pedaling, and feel like I have a little more snap in my legs each day I ride with the new Wolf Tooth ring.

Mud Clearance

I live in Utah, so while I ride in the desert all summer, I do also ride in the high alpine, frequently cross streams, and ride through small patches of muck. I also sometimes get lazy about cleaning my bike, and tend to wash it only when really needed rather than after most rides.

My experience with the second generation Wolf Tooth ring is that there is a modest improvement over the competition in how well the ring clears itself. The SRAM X-Sync rings were the most prone to accumulate debris—both in the short term (stream crossings) and long term (after a week of muddy riding).

The Race Face and original Wolf Tooth rings were pretty similar to one-another, and performed about one full notch better than the SRAM X-Sync.

The revised Wolf Tooth ring feels one more notch better than that. After a week of riding, there is less gunk stuck to the ring, and any noise from the chainring after a stream crossing goes away faster.

Bottom Line

This updated Wolf Tooth DropStop Chainring is an impressive step forward. It is the smoothest and quietest Narrow/Wide ring I’ve used, and I prefer the 49mm chainline to the 51mm chainline found on its competitors.

Wolf Tooth offers a ring that is compatible with just about every crank setup imaginable, and at a competitive price. While I would not buy one and throw away a still functional ring, I have yet to use a chainring that works better for a 1x setup, and recommend it for anyone looking for a new Narrow/Wide ring.

3 comments on “Wolf Tooth DropStop (V2) 32T Chainring”

  1. Any oval ring testing currently being carried out by you guys (Absolute Black or similar)? I’m happy with my 11-36t cassette range for how I ride but rarely use the top gear so might switch to a 30t ring next summer, maybe oval. I get the theory but internet biker opinions seem pretty varied on any benefits, both perceived and real.

    • Lorne, we will be starting to test the Wolftooth Elliptical ring in the very near future and might try some of the others as well. We’re curious too about the stated benefits.

  2. Is the wolf tooth v2 designed to be compatible with SRAM and Shimano rear cassettes? Could it be used with an 11 or 12 rear setup?

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