Tech: SRAM licenses X-Sync chain ring technology

Words by SRAM | Images by SRAM

Since its successful and celebrated introduction 2 years ago, SRAM’s popular single-ring 1X™ Drivetrains featuring X-SYNC chainrings continue to gain popularity. In an effort to provide consumers more choice – SRAM has licensed this valuable, precision-based technology to two industry partners.

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This December we formally signed two license agreements for the technology, one with Canadian-based Chromag, the other with the Accell Group. Both of these top-tier industry suppliers will be manufacturing their own versions of SRAM’s X-SYNC rings, to be distributed through their own networks. Both suppliers will continue to use and support all SRAM 1X™ Drivetrain components in addition to this license.

This narrow-wide design (also referred to as thick-thin) is an original SRAM technology, designed and engineered to be paired with matching SRAM components to ensure proper function. Imitation rings not manufactured to proper SRAM specifications may result in rapid wear and poor mud clearance, both of which may result in dropped chains.

SRAM has filed numerous patent applications on narrow-wide / thick-thin tooth geometry. Our German engineering teams invented narrow-wide / thick-thin chain retention for bicycles and we continue to improve on it. We strongly believe consumers deserve both choice and design integrity in the products they purchase. SRAM reserves the right to enforce its intellectual property in all matters relating to X-SYNC.

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We're not exactly sure what SRAM are trying to achieve here by 'officially' licensing their X-Sync chain ring design - it kind of seems like shutting the gate once the horse has bolted. SRAM_MTB_X01_Chainring_Detail_web.164523 SRAM may have been the first manufacturer to use the thick-thin (or narrow-wide) chain ring tooth profile in mountain biking with their XX1 and XO1 groupsets, but the concept has been used in the past in the motor bike world. Plus there are already numerous manufacturers making their own variants of thick-thin chain rings now, such as Race Face and Wolftooth. Will SRAM be looking to stop these other manufacturers in the future? The wording of their press release would suggest so. We'll have to wait and see!