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How do Wide/Narrow chainrings improve chain retention?

On a wide/narrow chainring the wide teeth guide the wide chain links and prevent excessive lateral motion of the chain. Thus the chain has a guiding force on both the narrow and wide links compared to a standard chainring where only the teeth contacting the narrow links aid in alignment

 

What causes a chain to fall off when riding with a traditional chainring?

In most cases, chains fall off when they bounce up and down and simultaneously move laterally out of plane. The narrow-only teeth of a conventional chainring allow this lateral movement when they interface the wide links on the chain. When the unguided chain lands outside of the chainring tooth it will fall off as you pedal.

 
Chain & Tooth Profile Differences

  • SRAM 12spd Flattop chain — narrower chain compared to 9, 10, 11spd and Eagle chain, chain rollers are slightly larger diameter
  • Shimano 12spd Hyperglide+ (HG+) — chain has chamfered edges that aid in chain to chainring alignment, inner width of the Quick-Link is much narrower than other chains

 

DROP-STOP A

  • Wolf Tooth Drop-Stop A is the original patented wide/narrow chainring compatible with multiple drivetrain brands including 9, 10, 11, and 12spd SRAM Eagle, KMC, Wippermann, etc.
  • NOT compatible with 12spd SRAM Flattop, 12spd Shimano HG+, or 12spd Campy

DROP-STOP B

  • Compatible 9, 10, 11, and 12spd SRAM Eagle, 12spd SRAM Flattop, 12spd Campy
  • Not compatible with 12spd Shimano HG+ chains

DROP-STOP ST

  • Compatible with 12spd Shimano Hyperglide+ chain only 
  • Symmetric Trapezoidal (ST) tooth shape is optimized for Shimano HG+ chain

 

Quick-Links & HG+ Chain

  • 12spd Shimano Hyperglide+ Quick-Links have an inside width narrower than the rest of the chain so there will be interference if you use any chainring not specifically designed for HG+ chains.
  • The extended inner link plates of the HG+ chain will also quickly wear into the wide teeth of a non-HG+ chainring so the hack of using a KMC quick-link on Shimano chain is not a recommended solution
  • The HG+ chain requires a chainring specifically designed to be compatible with its unique shape