I’ve been sold on the 1×10 gearing set up for a couple of years now. The security of not having the chain fall off the chainring, combined with the protection of a bash plate is really important to me. On my 26er I was happy running a 32t chainring with a 10 speed 11-36 cassette most of the time in the UK. However when I started riding a 29er, the same 32 / 11-36 gearing with bigger wheels was giving me gear ache! It was just too hard to climb big hills especially when I was riding longer days, particularly on my trips over to the Basque country and the Alps.

I was due to go to the French Maritime Alps to work as part of the Mountain Staff for the Trans Provence race. This means riding for 7 days in the Alps with 10,000m of vertical ascent and 15,000m of descent on properly technical trails. I was therefore overjoyed to discover, thanks to a bit of tweeting (thanks @chainlinephil) that there is now a solution to the problem. The MRP Bling Ring is a very smart single ring specific chain ring that comes in 28 and 30 tooth sizes (as well as 32, 34 and 36). I chose to go for the 28t as this is the equivalent to a 30t chainring on a 26er.

The chainring fits directly onto the splines of the new SRAM X9, XO and Truvativ AKA cranks. This means you can do away with the spider altogether for a lighter and neater solution. For chain security I fitted the latest version of MRP’s Micro chain device which is adjustable to fit a range of 28-32 chainrings. The chain is fully enclosed by the upper guide and has a sturdy lower guide with pulley wheel and a strong bash plate. This device is available in ISCG 05 and ISCG standards.

Gearing with the 28t ring was spot on for the climbs and I was glad I’d gone for this over the 30t ring, even though it seems ridiculously small, especially when viewed next to the wagon wheels! I was worried that I might spin out in the higher gears, but when on singletrack trails there was no problem at all. Only when riding sections on the road or on boring tracks was I under geared, a compromise I’m happy to make.

Blinged & Microed

I never once lost the chain, didn’t feel any drag and was pleased that the device was quiet. Maximise your performance pleasure by also fitting a clutch type short cage rear mech. Downhill bike security with trail riding friendly gearing makes this set up a winner and gives a genuinely practical 1×10 option to the 29er rider.

More details including pricing on the MRP and Ison (UK distributor) sites.