GARBARUK’s expertise in bike technology stems from their motorcycle racing background. The team consist of competent and passionate engineers. While talking with the funder Dmitry, his savvy in mechanics is more than evident just like his enthusiasms all things bike widgets.
Back in the motorcycling days they were developing various high-performance racing components, chassis [handlebars, engine elements, etc.] So the transition into the cutting edge bicycle world was seamless. Since then the global outreach of the in Kyiv, Ukraine residing company skyrocketed.
GARBARUK’s product range is made up of lightweight wide-range cassettes, chain rings and complementary accessories. The flexibility to adjust to market needs and new standards is facilitated by 3D computer modelling and designing. The first samples are CNC milled and anodized, whereas all manufacturing phases take place in Ukraine.
In this yearlong test I had the opportunity to subject the BB30 (Short Spindle) Round direct mount 34T chaining to a profound test. The test mule was an Orbea Oiz. For this frame 34 teeth were the optimal size that handled gnarly muddy conditions without objection. I have tested a 36 teeth version too, and even though it is the upper size limit for this frame, in my case it worked in dry conditions. Contributing factor is though my mediocre power output, meaning I am unable to twist the frame the same way a 90Kg sprinter would able to do. Otherwise the space between the chain stay and CR is very tight.
Another thing is the suspension kinematics. The Oiz works great in this range [32-34], going beyond this size [36 teeth] the anti-squat start to suffer – even though minimally – at the end of the stroke
Mounting the round direct mount narrow/wide GARBARUK chain ring was a breeze. It is even practical to have alternative chain ring sizes at hand just like my team mates had at some stage races. It is common practice to swap the chain rings depending on the topography.
I would say, the silence and shift quality [cross-chain] is on par with SRAM XX1 I tested before. Maybe a tad louder than XTR’s 1x configuration. An absolute must is an ideal chainline, however. It was assured by GARBARUK‘s variable chainline technology (VCLT).
GARBARUK follows a slightly different path in terms of chain retention. The variable teeth thickness makes a chain guides superfluous. As far as XCO application go I haven’t experienced any chain dropping. I can’t speak for demanding AM and enduro stuff though. Having said that, we were confronted at times with EWS tracks in Spain, and even if my speed didn’t reach that of a gifted EWS rider, the CR didn’t let me down by a dropped chain. While some of my competitors had to stop due to numerous chain drops.
GARBARUK claims that its special tooth shape guarantees softer pedaling. That might be the causative of a tighter contact with chain. But more importantly I welcomed its mud shedding abilities given its uniquely chamfered edges. It occurred to me only on 2 occasions that the CR got massively muddy, plus mixed with nasty grass. I had to dismount the clean the CR including the whole drivetrain. Running with chain wax instead of oil, plus applying some Teflon like mud shedding treatment helped to ward off the majority of the grime. It is hard to back up GARBARUK’s statement of good mud shedding abilities, however besides these extreme cases the CR held up nicely and didn’t collect mud excessively.
The CR are manufactured using highly durable aluminum alloy. Not that I had an unnecessary concern of premature wear, but based on my not so brilliant experience with other aluminum CR manufactures, I was intrigued by GARBARUK’s long term durability. Granted, the CR wasn’t tested in mucky conditions on daily basis. Yes, from time and time again we were hit by monsoon like, albeit brief, rain pours, but mostly all test rides and races happened under almost ideal conditions. That being said, a yearlong distress I subjected this CR to is a long period for in a life of a CR. Other than chain change [2x] proper lubrication and meticulous cleaning, no extra care was taken and necessary. After 7 month I opted for a 1×12 variant. Neither in terms of shift quality nor in chain retains did I notice a difference. By the way Garbaruk endorse this CR for from 9 up to 12 speed applications.
For me 2 attributes stand out. For one there is its remarkable durability whereby the silence and quality of shifting lessened only negligibly. The piece of mind of a reliable chain retention is another trait I highly appreciate Garbaruk’s CR. I don’t think GARBARUK is in any need of a common advertisement. The word of mouth ad as well as plentiful positive feedbacks backs GARBARUK’s claims. Their product range is growing and I am very much looking forward to kick off another test with this humble brand with proven engineering.