It’s not often I review chainrings, but Praxis Works products have always intrigued me. So much so that I decided to review two of their rings. The first is an Mtb specific Direct Mount set with three bolt interface. The second came in a cyclo-cross friendly 36/46 set-up with a 110 BCD. The test period included some harsh race conditions as well as long training camp rides in Southern Europe
The Direct Mount-3 Bolt Interface rings are compatible with Praxis’ own Mtb cranks and SRAM’s 3 Bolt Mtb cranks. They come in 28, 30, 32, 34 or 36 tooth versions. Our Praxis Works chainrings are stamped and machined from 7075-T6 Aluminium and have a hard black anodised finish. They are also 10, 11 and 12 speed “Eagle” compatible, as long as it’s a clutch type derailleur. We tested the 32t variant on a Trek Top Fuel, with a direct mount configuration.
But what had really caught my attention was their Wave™ tooth pattern. The Praxis Works Wave™ pattern has teeth that shift from one side of the rings centre-line to the other. By alternating the teeth, they grip the sides of the chain, holding it in place and preventing the chain from de-railing. This differs from other rings that use a thick-thin pattern to achieve a similar end result.
The alternating pattern also leaves room for mud to be squeezed out from between the teeth. Build up of mud on the rings is another factor in your chain jumping off. This should help prolong the life of the rings as well as keeping the chain in place.
During the test period I didn’t drop a chain once. Part of that is down to using a clutch type derailleur; in this case SRAM’s Eagle. The chainring ran silently for most of the test, despite being left uncleaned on long, mud spattered stages. I must admit I went a little overboard when it came to not cleaning it. It went untouched after 100 kilometre stages and river crossings and despite getting a little noisier, I had no problems.
So no chain suck or any other issues that caused me to slow down or stop during the test period. In fact the only problem I had involved an unsuccessful landing and a large rock, which bent one of the teeth. Said tooth was quickly straightened and I was able to carry on without any shifting problems.
Now the question is, is this Wave™ tooth pattern really outstanding? Compared to standard chainrings I didn’t experience any disadvantages, so that’s a plus. The chain ran smoothly under some tough conditions, despite a deliberate lack of lubing. It’s 12 speed compatibility with SRAM Eagle was spotless, a bonus if you’re running that setup. Chain retention was on a par with Shimano and SRAM, even after hundreds of kilometres.
I also tested it with a clutchless derailleur as well, but nothing too brutal. Surprisingly retention was good here too, so kudos to Praxis Works for that. Wear is hard to determine in the time I had and conditions were very varied. However I was positively surprised by the minimal wear the rings showed. I expect this is due to the forging and anodising processes used in its manufacture.
Next up are the Praxis Works Cyclocross/Gravel chainrings. These are made of forged and hard anodised black 7075 T6 Aluminium. They’re compatible with five armed Shimano 10/11 [110BCD], Campagnolo 10/11 and SRAM 10/11 drivetrains. Praxis Works recommend using KMC, Shimano, or Campagnolo chains; we stuck with Shimano 11 speed.
These rings went through a tough test period, they’ve been used in regular late season CX races and gravel events in Italy. They even had to weather some brutal cyclo-cross races in the UK.
Previously I’ve had problems with other manufacturers that provided top end gear that performed faultlessly under favourable conditions. Once the weather turned sour however, performance suffered. The Praxis Works chainrings were on the edge of calling it a day during a particularly brutal three days. With the help of constant maintenance though, they survived the relentless rain, punishing cold and generally horrible conditions.
While I hadn’t expected them to be on a par with Shimano in terms of shifting quality, they did shift as well; although a little noisier. When the going got tough however the Praxis Works rings outperformed Shimano. Their stiffness guaranteed instant front gear changes
To be honest all I expect from a chainring is that it that it does it’s job while maintaining a low profile. The Praxis Works rings did this with minimal wear and maintenance. They’ve produced a very sturdy product that guarantees precise shifting at all times. It’s no wonder that Praxis Works rings appear as OEM products on many well-known bike brands.
So to sum up, if you stick to the Praxis Works recommended applications and maintenance you can look forward to pain-free shifting on your bike. After testing their chainrings they’ve got my endorsement and I am eager to try out their other products, stay tuned for more Praxis Works!