Words by NSMB | Images by NSMB, AJ Barlas

Building on the success of our Variable Tooth chainring line, North Shore Billet is excited to release our 1x rings for the 2016 XT M8000 cranks. Committed to North American manufacturing—from raw material sourcing to the creation of the final product—we’re proud to don the “Made in Canada” moniker.

Our latest range of rings for the M8000 cranks keep true to this statement while adding an exciting “first” for the XT line of cranks; 28T ring compatibility.

Due to the high demand for small rings, we’ve designed a 28T ring for 1x use. By mounting to the 64mm BCD and offsetting the ring towards the spider, we are able to achieve a 49mm chain line—the perfect place for a 1x ring to be.

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Specs:

• Fits Shimano Deore XT M8000 FC-M8000-1 FC-M8000-2
• 49mm Chain line
• CNC machined from 7075 T6511 Aluminium
• Ring Sizes: 28T 30T 32T 34T 36T


Our Rings, Our Process

Material

High quality parts come from high quality metal; we’ve found this to be important for any component, but most notably for chainrings. As a result all chainrings are created using US made Kaiser 7075 aluminum. The raw aluminum starts as large, rolled sheets that we have saw-cut to our required specifications. These blanks are then delivered to our Whistler factory ready to be machined.

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Machining

When the time comes to create a new ring we grab a stack of the saw-cut pieces of aluminium which we refer to as “ring blanks”. These blanks are loaded into our high speed machining centers where the ring is cut precisely into shape. We use custom carbide cutting tools that create unique features that are otherwise difficult to achieve with standard tooling. Haas DT1 and the whole machining process only takes a few minutes to produce a complete ring. Producing thousands of rings per year, this machine rarely anything else.

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Deburring

After the machining process the rings are still unfinished with many sharp edges and small burrs that need to be removed. To clean up these edges we run the rings through a vibratory deburring machine. This has a similar appearance to a bucket full of pebbles but the process is much more controllable and consistent than manual deburring. The vibratory action gently rolls the rings through the ceramic media removing the sharp edges without removing metal from tight tolerance areas such as the teeth. Depending on the size of the chainring, this process can take anywhere from 30–60 minutes to complete and can run from 6–10 rings at a time.

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Quality Control

Once the deburring process is complete the rings are gathered and each is carefully inspected and measured to ensure that all of the features are within tolerance. Our standard tolerances are pretty tight, and important features like the teeth are made within +/- .002”; the thickness of a human hair. Any rings that do not conform to our measurement or appearance standards are immediately discarded. On a typical production run our scrap rate is less than 1%. These out of spec parts along with all the excess aluminum from the machining process to become new aluminum.

Finishing

Once the rings have passed our QC measures, we box them up for anodizing. Anodizing is an electrochemical process that adds the colour to aluminum parts and also gives it a protective finish. This is the only process that is not done in house at NSB.

With the ring cut, deburred, QC’d, and anodized, we’re ready to brand them with our laser etching machine. This process burns through the anodizing on the surface of the ring. The laser beam’s width is only .005” of an inch thick,   This is the fastest of the processes, with all of the graphics burned onto the ring in less than 10 seconds. With the laser etching complete the products are packaged and sent off to distributors worldwide.

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About NSB’s Variable Tooth Pattern

At NSB we’ve opted to utilize a variable tooth pattern that is designed to the ASME/ANSI B29.1M industrial standard, which provides a tried and true tooth shape with an alternating tooth thickness that helps retain the chain. While other companies have radically changed the fundamental tooth profile to reduce chain drop, we felt that the negative aspects of asymmetrical and ‘square’ teeth outweigh any benefits of chain retention. The NSB Variable Tooth pattern ensures efficient power transfer by allowing the chain to freely roll on and off the ring, and long wear life due to our thicker than standard teeth.

While not the first to release aftermarket M8000 rings, we’ve taken the time to ensure our rings have the best chainline and perform flawlessly. Our rings are now available from our worldwide partners and online through northshorebillet.com.


Since 2003, NSB has been making high quality Canadian made bicycle components. First located in North Vancouver, we were drawn to Whistler for its diverse riding and small mountain town atmosphere. While being a small company in Whistler has allowed us to stay close to the roots of mountain biking, we strive to keep up with the latest manufacturing technologies and to remain competitive on a global scale.

www.northshorebillet.com

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