I was replacing a worn-out 34-teeth chainring on my MTB crankset. In the course of the work, I detached the granny gear chainring (22-teeth).
Compared to the big chainring, which has all these ramps and non-regular teeth shapes designed to facilitate gear change, the small ring is completely flat. It looked completely symmetric to me, apart from apparent slight wear on one side of teeth caused by chain contact.
After I'd given it some thought, I flipped the granny chainring over so that another side of teeth was used to contact the chain. This is a regular practice with single-speed chainrings which are symmetric, and it is used to double their useful life span.
However, after I'd put everything else together and adjusted it, I took it for a test ride. Immediately I uncovered that shifting up from granny gear to big gear was now accompanied with chainsuck, as the chain managed to "stick" to the small ring all the way around its circumference. It happened in about nine of ten shift attempts.
No amount of tuning of the front derailleur helped to solve this problem. Now I start thinking whether my judgement about the granny chainring was wrong, and it is asymmetric and cannot be flipped over.
Another possibility for chain suck that I can imagine is that the new big chainring is actually smaller — it has 32 teeth. It is also possible that I installed that new ring incorrectly (should have rotated it 90 degrees relative to bolt holes); but then again, I cannot see how it matters as the smallest ring has no ramps which could be aligned against the big ring.
So what should I do? Flip the granny gear back, look for a bigger chainring, or rotate it?
The crankset is Truvativ X5, 22/34t. The derailleur is SRAM X5.