Why you want: You've worn out your Shimano rings and the costs of replacement rings have you down. OR you're not satisfied with the performance of your current non-forged setup and you're looking to improve shifting.
Pros: Forged - Only Shimano and Praxis offer forged rings. The Forging process not only strengthens the metal, but because it's a quick-shot process, if allows Praxis to offer a ring with more details and features not commonly found on simply CNC'd rings. The process also keeps the cost of the rings low; allowing Praxis to offer their rings in matching pairs for roughly half the cost of one Shimano outer ring.
Cons: The rings are exceptionally particular about the chain, for optimum shifting, a KMC, Shimano, or Campagnolo chain are recommended. The classic rings may also clash with the look of some of the newer cranks, though for Dura Ace 7900 owners, Praxis does offer a simple solution.
RoadBikeReview's Take: For anyone that's had to replace their chainrings because they've worn out, you know the cost of those replacement rings sometimes gets pricey. Up until recently, there was only one company manufacturing forged chainrings, and they charged a premium. That was until Praxis Works, a small upstart; down in Santa Cruz County began offering forged chainrings. The company is actually the retail arm of a much bigger company who've been forging everything from Singer sewing machines, automotive parts, and possible even parts of your computer since the 60's. We profiled them back in 2011, check out our original post for all the background information.
The big difference between Praxis and many aftermarket chainring offerings is that Praxis chainrings are fully forged from 7050-T6 alloys, unlike the others, which are either stamped or machined. The forging process not only strengthens the alloy, but much of the details of the teeth of the ring are formed when that giant hydraulic press comes down to press the rings into shape. The rings are then machined, but only to cut out the boltholes and to shave some weight. The process not only allows Praxis to keep the cost of the final product low, but it also makes for a more feature packed ring.
As evidenced when we replaced perfectly working Dura Ace 7950 chainrings with a set from Praxis Works. The installation process is fairly straightforward. Praxis has clear instructions and indications on each ring making it easy to setup properly. Once installed, we took the bike out for a ride that would eventually find us cresting several peaks with a couple of sprints in between. Now, it would probably be fitting to say we instantly found nirvana with the new rings installed, but that would be disingenuous of us. We had taken perfectly working Dura-Ace rings off; the gold standard of front shifting, and replaced them with an aftermarket set. We weren't expecting the rings to shift better, how would they? And that was our Aha moment. The Praxis rings replaced our Dura Ace rings, and we didn't notice any difference. Shifting was just as smooth and quick - upshifts, downshifts, they all felt as satisfying as the Dura-Ace rings they had replaced. That speaks volumes right there about how well the Praxis rings are engineered. The R&D that was put into LevaTime shows, and at half the price of a single ring from Shimano, the rings pack quite the value. After several hundred miles on various setups with the Praxis rings, we'd recommend them in a heartbeat to anyone needing to replace their chainrings or would like to improve their shifting right from the start.
Praxis offers replacement rings in 53/39 130 BCD for standard cranks, 50/34 110 BCD for compact cranks, and the new popular semi-compact 52/36 combo. The semi compact fits 110 BCD compact cranks and offers a top gear similar to the typical 53/39. Also available now, are unique caps that help transition the classic look of the Praxis rings with the raised design of the 7900 crank with the Praxis rings.
Price: $170 MSRP for semi-compact rings 110 BCD and Standard 130 BCD, $160 MSRP for compact 110 BCD
More Info: For more information and pricing, visit the Praxis website here.