Sea Otter Report: Race Face

I was chatting with Banshee bikes about the new prototype short travel 29er they have at Sea Otter. I’ll have more info on that bike later, but I noticed the 1x drivetrain was running a Race Face ring. Looking closer, it was a wide/narrow tooth style ring, much like SRAM’s XX.


I stumbled over to the Race Face booth and got the low down on the new N-W (Narrow to Wide) rings. These rings are based on an expired 70’s patent from a touring crank set, but modernized for any 8, 9,10 or 11 speed chain.

Right now they are available in 32, 34, 36 and 38, with a 30 tooth in the works, all for a four bolt 104 crank. The additional chain retention offered by the N-W style ring is pretty welcome, and should eliminate the need for chain guides for many riders. Get you color on with your choice of red, green, black or blue.

Also on hand are new SIXC carbon bars, now in a 785 width and a host of colors. Even at a scant 220 grams, these bars test stronger than Race Face’s alloy DH bars.

And finally the Flank core protector. Many DH riders are shedding heavy hard shell armor, and enduro riders are looking for more protection that isn’t uncomfortable to wear all day. The Flank core protector should fill that gap nicely, with thin D30 armor at the spine and shoulders, and more basic foam at the chest. Fully neckbrace compatible, and designed to fit like a base layer, this could be a great extra bit of protection when hard armor is too much, and a jersey is too little.