Review – Wolf Tooth PowerTrac Elliptical Ring
Wolf Tooth Components is always looking for ways to improve products for mountain bikers. That could be anything from a dropper post lever with a lighter feel to a better way to store the essentials for a trail ride. Wolf Tooth has been making high-quality chainrings for quite some time, but has recently found a way to improve on its own product with the new PowerTrac ring. We installed the new PowerTrac on a couple of our favorite test bikes to see if it could truly improve on what was already a solid product.
Tech info: The PowerTrac Elliptical is an oval chainring optimized for 1x drivetrains. Oval chainrings are designed to deliver different amounts of power to the drivetrain at different points in the pedal stroke. Oval chainring-makers claim this minimizes the dead spot in your pedaling and takes advantage of the points in the stroke where you’re able to put down more power. Think of it as having a higher gear for the powerful part of your pedal stroke and a lower gear when your legs aren’t putting out as much. Each Wolf Tooth ring is machined in Minneapolis, and the PowerTrac is available in 7075 aluminum or stainless steel with various BCD and direct-mount options. Wolf Tooth designed the PowerTrac with its own 10-percent ovality to minimize the transition period and allow for smoother pedaling than other oval options. The PowerTrac is compatible with Boost and non-Boost chain lines. As with the rest of WTC’s single rings, the PowerTrac uses Wolf Tooth’s patented DropStop tooth profile for consistent chain retention. The 34-tooth, direct-mount ring tested weighs 76 grams and has a retail price of $75.
On the trail: We mounted the PowerTrac to a set of SRAM Eagle XX1 cranks that were installed on our Trek Top Fuel. Wolf Tooth includes a marking on the chainring to give riders some guidance as to what position is best. We were surprised at just how subtle the PowerTrac felt once we hit the trail. The pedaling motion felt more natural than with other oval rings we have tried and didn’t result in achy muscles after the first ride. There was never a moment of revelation in terms of pedaling performance, but over the course of longer rides our legs did feel fresher thanks to the lack of a dead spot in the pedaling. Some of our test riders also felt they could accelerate quicker out of corners with the oval shape.
• Smoother feel than other oval rings we have tried
• Quick acceleration out of corners
• Felt fresher on longer rides
• Some might not like the shape