I am planning to convert my bike to 1x12 setup. Since it is an old bike I want to keep it as low budget as possible. I am looking to keep my existing BB an crank. I have read multiple posts about people just dropping high and low chainrings from 3x ring chainset and replacing middle ring with specific narrow-wide chainring suitable for 1x by setup. It does not look very slick, but there is no reason why it would not work.

So far so good. But now I am in the market for a narrow wide chainring. I can get BCD and number of tooth that I want, but some of these chainrings are advertised as 10speed compatible, others say 9x, 10x, 11x etc.

So the question is: what exactly is so specific in narrow-wide chainring that makes it compatible with say x10 but not x12? Any advice appreciated.

2 Answers 2


I would have thought that most narrow-wide rings would work with 9 through 12 speed chains. as they all have the same internal (roller) width.

Chains from 5 to 8 have an inner width of 3/32″ (2.38 mm), chains from 9 to 12 speeds have an inner width of 11/128″ (2.18 mm).

Looking at a Blackspire ring:

For use with 9, 10, 11, or 12 speed drivetrains

For 9 speed drivetrains you must use a 10 speed chain.

Same for Wolf Tooth:

Compatible with all 10-, 11-, and 12-speed chains except Shimano 12-speed chains.

If using a 9-speed drivetrain use a 10-speed chain( shifts and works well on a 9-speed drivetrain and fits the ring tighter for better chain retention)

They obviously think there is something about 9 speed chains that does not work with their rings as well as a 10 speed chain.

  • 2
    I will go ahead and buy narrow wide chain ring advertised for 9-11 speed. I will report later how it performs. For now marking this as accepted answer. Feb 26, 2020 at 22:38
  • Installed it this week. First 200km no chain drop, no slipping Apr 2, 2020 at 14:59
  • Done over 2000 km by now. Did not experience any problems. Jun 24, 2020 at 11:05

Most narrow wide chainrings will work on 1x10 and 1x11 setup.. for 1x12 the chain will be really tight and most cases the chainrings intended for 11 speed will not fit for 12 speed chains. At least that’s what I experienced with my absolute black narrow wide 48T, I plan to grind it slightly (24 of them😭) until it fits... by the way it’s for fitting the sram force AXS 12 speed chain..

  • 1
    Welcome to the site. Can you edit your answer to qualify what it is that is too tight? OP wants to know what is specific in narrow-wide chainrings that affects compatibility between different chains
    – Swifty
    Feb 28, 2020 at 12:04

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