Where have all the 53 chainrings gone?

I run PRAXIS Works rings on my Specialized Power Crank, and while I’m currently rocking the 50/34 I’ve been considering swapping in a 52/36 for a long time now. That said, I live in Illinois, so I could even get away with a 53-tooth 1x setup with an 11-23 in the back… So when I was at CABDA I took the chance to ask one of their product managers about why they don’t sell a 53/39 for my crank. The short answer: safety. Slightly longer: safety and liability.

While there’s no chance in H.E.L.L. I make the kind of power that could actually do it, there are people who could bend an aluminum ring with the vertical profile necessary to fit 53 teeth on an 110BCD crank. Obviously Shimano has figured it out with their HOLLOWGLIDE chainrings. Which according the fellow I spoke with, comes down to the anti-bending features inherent in their design, and something that would be very difficult to replicate with a traditional flat ring. We touched briefly on liability which came into the conversation when asked about the Wickwerks Ultra Wide 53/34 (i.e. clearly possible, but each company needs to figure out comfort level for risk). So basically, it comes down to engineers and accountants being unwilling to take the risk. Which, I’m totally behind, even though it is incredibly unlikely that I’ll ever be able to actually test this edge case :).

All is not lost however, as the PRAXIS product guy was only too happy to steer me towards their ZAYANTE line which makes it super easy to swap in a different set of rings because the spider can be swapped with minimal effort. While I don’t think I’ll be giving up my Power Crank anytime soon, and I’m not too keen on running their M30 BB, it is nice to know that the option exists should I ever really want to move beyond that 52.

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