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Specialites TA X110 4 Arm 11x Chainrings

8
£98.98

VERDICT:

8
10
Great shifting quality and plenty of size options, and comparable on price to those they are replacing
Weight: 
165g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Specialites TA X110 4 arm 11x chainrings are a decent upgrade or replacement for your standard Shimano offerings and provide similar quality shifting across the inner and outer rings. Wear rates look to be pretty impressive too.

  • Pros: Decent shifting even under load; hardwearing
  • Cons: Bolt covers add to the price; no chain catcher pin on the outer

These TA chainrings are designed to work with Shimano's 11-speed four-arm cranksets with a PCD (Pitch Circle Diameter) of 110mm, so that covers the last two versions of 105, Ultegra and Dura-Ace.

> Find your nearest dealer here

> Buy these online here

Made from 7075-T6 hardened aluminium alloy, they are still looking pretty good after about 1,000 miles of testing in all sorts of weather. The coating has worn on the teeth but that's normal, and the teeth all look to be the same shape as they were when they were first fitted. I'll leave them fitted to bikes over the winter, though, to get a real feel for how well they stand up to abuse.

The 52/36 inner and outer chainrings been fitted to various bikes over the last few months on both 105 R7000 and Ultegra R8000 cranksets, and the gear changes have matched that of the standard Shimano offerings.

The TAs don't have as many ramps and tooth profiles that Shimano incorporates, but it doesn't seem to affect the shift even when under load, like dropping from the big chainring to the small on a steep hill while out of the saddle.

Tooth count

Shimano, like most brands, offers its chainsets in the usual setups of 50/34, 52/36 and 53/39, so the X110s enable some customisation thanks to a decent spread of options.

The outers are available in 48, 49, 50, 51, 52 and 53t, and the inners in 33, 34, 36, 38, 39 and 42t. TA recommends that you keep a difference of between 12 and 16 teeth for the rings for the best shifting.

> How to get lower gears on your bike

What with gravel/adventure riding becoming more common, it would be nice to see the rings available in smaller sizes, as some people might find 48/33 too large for riding off-road.

> How to get ultra-low gears for gravel adventures

I'd also like to see a pin on the outer to stop an unshipped chain getting jammed between the ring and the crank.

Value

Chainrings tend to last quite a few thousand miles, depending on your maintenance routines and the type of conditions you ride in, but if and when they do wear out the cost of getting Shimano replacements has made changing the whole chainset a more viable option.

A quick look on the usual internet shops shows that you can pick up a brand new Ultegra R8000 outer chainring for about £100 (an rrp of £130ish) and if you are going to replace the outer you'll be replacing the inner too at £25. You can get a shiny new chainset for just £150.

> Your complete guide to Shimano road groupsets

In a like-for-like setup, the 52/36 TA chainrings here work out a bit cheaper than the Ultegra options, even at full rrp.

The 52t is priced at £63.99 and the 36t is £34.99, so £98.98 in total. But if you want to maintain that smooth look of the rings blending into the cranks you will also need to allow for a set of bolt covers, another £22.99 for R8000 ones.

Conclusion

Overall, if you want to customise your ring sizes than the X110s make sense. They match the excellent shifting of Ultegra and look to be wearing well, but as direct replacements they don't offer a huge saving on price.

Verdict

Great shifting quality and plenty of size options, and comparable on price to those they are replacing

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Specialites TA X110 4 Arm 11x Chainrings

Size tested: 52/36 tooth (126g outer, 39g inner)

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Specialites TA says, "Manufactured 100% CNC 7075T6 aluminum alloy aerospace, our rings will be light, rigid with optimal durability.

"Our wide choice of teeth will allow you to adapt your transmission to your performance."

Well made and they offer plenty of size options.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Material: 7075 T6 Aluminium,

Unique PCD: 110mm 4 arms.

Outer : 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53 teeth.

Inner : 33, 34, 36, 38, 39, 42 teeth.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

They offer the same shifting quality as Ultegra, which is impressive.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Very good shifting across the rings.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

No chain drop pin on the outer.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The rings are intended to replace Shimano 105 through to Dura-Ace and comparing them to the middle option Ultegra they are reasonably competitively priced, although you do have to factor in the bolt covers on top.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

The X110s replicate the great shifting of Shimano's Ultegra and seem to be just as hard wearing. The come out a little cheaper too.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 41  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed

As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for road.cc, off-road.cc and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

Add new comment

5 comments

Avatar
othello | 4 years ago
1 like

If you are the parent of a youth rider, needing to get within the correct age group rollout, and have new Shimano 4 arm cranks, these rings are the best option. Much cheaper than Shimano, and also available in the sizes you need. 

48t for an U14 gear (48x16), and they even do a 49t if you are able to eek out a little bit more. Or use the 49t at Assen. 

Only thing I found was I needed to get the file out to fit the outer on Ultegra R8000 cranks. But that might have been v1 of these rings which didn't quite fit. They do now...

Avatar
CyclingInBeastMode | 4 years ago
0 likes

Stu, if you want smaller chainring sizes without having to dump a dinner plate on the back, why not do a review on a triple chainset/groupset for gravel riding? Why not look at what is already available in smaller BCDs.

I've never needed a drop pin, only feckwits who can't be arsed to set up their gear properly drop a chain that way, it makes them learn a valuable lesson to do the maintenance they should have done in the first instance!

Avatar
cm2white | 4 years ago
2 likes

Yep, when I read the reviewer's request to offer smaller chainring sizes then I knew immediately that this is someone who doesn't know enough about chainrings to write a meaningful review.

Avatar
philhubbard replied to cm2white | 4 years ago
2 likes
cm2white wrote:

Yep, when I read the reviewer's request to offer smaller chainring sizes then I knew immediately that this is someone who doesn't know enough about chainrings to write a meaningful review.

 

Absolute Black are one of the brands that offset the chainring (theres being oval helps) so that you can fit 46/30 on the standard shimano crank

Avatar
simondbarnes | 4 years ago
0 likes


Quote:

What with gravel/adventure riding becoming more common, it would be nice to see the rings available in smaller sizes, as some people might find 48/33 too large for riding off-road.

They'll be limited by the bcd of the cranks.

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