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Garbaruk GXP chainring review – a massive range of fit options and sizes at a good price

Do these colorful multi option Polish single chainrings deliver a polished performance?

Garbaruk GXP chainring
(Image: © GuyKesTV)

Bike Perfect Verdict

9-12 speed compatible MTB chainrings in a massive range of fit options and sizes with a performance we can’t fault so far – and at a good price.

Pros

  • +

    Great fit and pedal feel performance

  • +

    Good price

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    Very wide size range

  • +

    Very wide fit range

  • +

    Plenty of colors

Cons

  • -

    Not quite as ‘clean’ in feel as SRAM XSync2

  • -

    No 38T size

Garbaruk started making upgrade drivetrain components in the Ukraine but they shifted to Poland a few years ago. We’ve been running road and MTB-sized versions of their SRAM chainrings alongside the excellent Garbaruk 12-speed MTB cassette for several months and we’re very impressed with the performance, range, and price so far. 

Design

We picked the SRAM/GXP 3 bolt standard to test but the chainrings are available in e*thirteen, Easton, Hope, Race Face, and XTR fit too. They go further below and above most chainring sizes too, starting at a 26T for rock crawlers and up to 36T for XT sprinters. There’s also a range of Gravel/Road rings that drop down to 40T. That does leave a Nino Schurter-sized 38T gap in the range if you’ve got one of the rare MTBs which will take a ring that large and the legs to make it useful. There are Boost and non-Boost spacing design, and oval or round (which we stuck with to stop pedaling feeling weird on other bikes).

Our testing explained

For information on Bike Perfect's testing procedures and how our scoring system works, see our how we test page.

In terms of details, the rings are all computer-controlled machined from 7075 alloy with a T6 heat treatment to increase strength and wear resistance. They’re then anodized in eight different colors which also helps reduce wear as well as looking pretty. The teeth are compatible with all 9 -12 speed chains and the deeper profile uses alternating hexagonal shaped wide teeth with a chamfered ‘dirt channel’ shoulder.

Garbaruk MTB chainring

(Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Performance

Given that official SRAM chainrings are damned pricey (fair enough – they developed the concept and their performance is fantastic) it’s always tempting to try cheaper options.

You’ll often start regretting that choice as you fight to get over tight or slightly misaligned rings to slide neatly onto your cranks. Or find the frame clearances are off. We had zero issues of that type with the Garbaruk, though. It slid on nice and snug but without sticking and their Variable Chainline Technology (VCLT) means larger sizes sit slightly further outboard.

They’ve been equally trouble-free in use, too. No grinding ‘bedding in’ to start with, even when I was running a flat top chain on a particularly perverted ultralight MTB build. While we’ve not had a lot of mud in the test months, what it has met hasn’t bothered it, and the anodizing has also held up really well. They still feel ‘fresh’ after plenty of miles on them, although the double-dip X-Sync2 SRAM tooth profile still holds the benchmark for the cleanest pedal feel.

We’ve not had a chain drop-off or hook-up when spun backwards either, although that’s a pretty rare issue these days with any ring. The rings are also slightly lighter than SRAM official pieces, although they aren’t quite as stout and reinforced, which might make them vulnerable to sumping out on rocks and logs – but again, they’ve been fine so far.  

Verdict

Testing chainrings is generally a two-part process – initial fit and feel feedback, and then the first few months of grinding about in filth. That’ll throw a lot of rings off the recommended list in itself but then you’re into the long haul on the really good ones. And to be honest it’s really hard to be anything but anecdotal with those results. Because even if you rode different rings on different bikes on all the same rides you couldn’t guarantee the loadings and wear exposure would be the same. 

What we do know is that the sample Garbaruk ring has gone through the first phase with zero issues, and we’ll keep you updated as we get more and more miles on it.

For now, though, it seems a great option, especially as it comes in so many esoteric fit and sizing options to suit pretty much everyone. Apart from Nino Schurter – though he probably gets a pretty good deal from SRAM… 

Tech specs: Garbaruk GXP chainring 

  • Price: $71.05-$77.07 / £58.99-£63.99 / €69.81-€75.73
  • Sizes: 26-36T
  • Options: Black, silver, blue, gold, green, orange, red, and violet; Round, oval; Boost, non Boost; SRAM GXP, e*thirteen, Easton, Hope, Race Face, and XTR 
  • Weight: 54g (32T)

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg