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  1. #1
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    Tough long-lasting chain rings?

    I've just replaced my 10-speed XT triple rings with a 38/26t pair of TA Specialites 10-speed Chinook rings. They are working nicely on my Salsa El-Mariachi, I've done a couple of rides and I think they're gonna be fine.
    It occurs to me, however, that each of the two rings on the double are gonna do a lot more work than the three on the triple. The 26t ring in particular will get quite a lot of use now, whereas on the triple it would be a last resort. Have any of you experienced shortened chain ring life on your double setups, and if so can you reccommend tougher longer lasting chainrings for your double setups?
    Thanks for reading. Tim

  2. #2
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    Apart from steel, 7075 is as tough as it gets.

  3. #3
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    Different forming processes and surface finishes can effect the wear life of something subject to friction. Do your own research on this, I don't pretend to be a metallurgist. But my understanding is that forged and appropriately heat-treated chainrings are going to be about as good as it gets in aluminum while a chainring CNC machined from a sheet wouldn't be as good, even assuming the sheet was formed the same way ahead of time. (Which it frequently wasn't, or the comparison doesn't make sense, anyway.)

    Of course, since you already have the rings, this should be a non-issue for a couple seasons.

    EDIT: Note that most forged metal parts still need some machining to hit their final tolerances. It shouldn't particularly matter whether this was done by a dude with a mill or a robot. (Probably with the same mill.) Getting the piece into close to its finished shape by forging was the important difference.
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  4. #4
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    No experience, but I have been thinking about that same point for a couple months: Less rings may mean being in one more often which increases wear. And this might seem like heresy, but go back to a 3-by system. You can get steel and mix it up on the front rings while you ride to make your drivetrain last even longer.

    Universal Cycles -- Shimano Deore M532/533/590 Chainrings

    And Blackspire makes nice stainless steel 22/24s.

    Steel is real

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    Well, I'm not sure if this is really true as a general statement....it all depends how and where you ride. For example: I never ever use granny in a 3-by, so two rings are all I ever use. Also, the 44 big ring tend to get less use as, unless the ride is all flat, then I'm in it less. Hence the 32 gets a lot of flogging.
    With my 2x I spend more time over both chainrings, therefore I'll get less wear on either
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  6. #6
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    Thanks for your input guys.

    I did smile at this: "Of course, since you already have the rings, this should be a non-issue for a couple seasons."

    You Clearly don't ride in the muddy/gritty New Forest or Winchester/South Downs area LOL.
    My 10-speed XT triple rings lasted about 9 months and I was pretty pleased with that as in the past I've had other brands of 9-speed kit that has worn out much more rapidly.

    On the plus side, I guess that replacing two smaller rings is cheaper than replacing a triple set.

  7. #7
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    Replacing the chain more often will extend the life of the rings significantly.

  8. #8
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    As 40AET said, consistent and regular drivetrain maintenance and chain replacement will extend the life of your entire drivetrain - I normally replace/relegate to the loaner bikes, my chain when it's stretched anything over 1/16 -1/8" over 24".

    As to the actual chainrings, from my personal experience, Blackspire make some damn fine rings and they last a long time. I've had a set of Super Pros for over 4 years and thousands of miles in lots of mud and grime. It was originally a triple set 24/34/46, that I logged about 3k miles on (1.5 years), it then became a double set 24/38 using the original 24 and new 38, the 34/46 was moved to another crankset on my rigid MTB which I used for a lot of road and some trail, logged another 3+ years on them before the 34 wore out (used the most) and the 24/38 is still going on my current ride, but I did have to do a little filing of the teeth recently to take off some burs. I will be replacing them and the chain very shortly, so I'm happy with the 5 years I got out of the 24, which is all that really needs replacing, 38t is still good for another year or two, but could as well replace both while I'm at it.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    As 40AET said, consistent and regular drivetrain maintenance and chain replacement will extend the life of your entire drivetrain - I normally replace/relegate to the loaner bikes, my chain when it's stretched anything over 1/16 -1/8" over 24".

    As to the actual chainrings, from my personal experience, Blackspire make some damn fine rings and they last a long time. I've had a set of Super Pros for over 4 years and thousands of miles in lots of mud and grime. It was originally a triple set 24/34/46, that I logged about 3k miles on (1.5 years), it then became a double set 24/38 using the original 24 and new 38, the 34/46 was moved to another crankset on my rigid MTB which I used for a lot of road and some trail, logged another 3+ years on them before the 34 wore out (used the most) and the 24/38 is still going on my current ride, but I did have to do a little filing of the teeth recently to take off some burs. I will be replacing them and the chain very shortly, so I'm happy with the 5 years I got out of the 24, which is all that really needs replacing, 38t is still good for another year or two, but could as well replace both while I'm at it.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tea@Dimbola View Post
    Thanks for your input guys.

    I did smile at this: "Of course, since you already have the rings, this should be a non-issue for a couple seasons."

    You Clearly don't ride in the muddy/gritty New Forest or Winchester/South Downs area LOL.
    My 10-speed XT triple rings lasted about 9 months and I was pretty pleased with that as in the past I've had other brands of 9-speed kit that has worn out much more rapidly.

    On the plus side, I guess that replacing two smaller rings is cheaper than replacing a triple set.
    I thought I rode in a pretty muddy place myself, but either it's less abrasive or I'm getting less volume.

    Get steel chainrings if you can. You might not be able to find one with the neat little tricks to aide shifting, but it doesn't really matter with the small chainring. Or just switch back to triple, and do the SLX triple set - I believe the small and middle rings are still the steel and steel teeth/composite reinforcement design; certainly the M-660 was built that way. The big ring is still aluminum, but at least there are more teeth to chew off.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by .40AET View Post
    Replacing the chain more often will extend the life of the rings significantly.
    definitely, especially if you avoid sram chains as they stretch at absurd rates and wreck cassette and rings prematurely

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    Oh my goodness - now we're into a whole new can of worms - CHAINS!
    Yes I do use SRAM cos I've always liked the power link and being able to remove it easily. What you you guys reccommend?

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    i only mention that because it happened to me. I couldn't figure out why i was going through rings so quickly. After a second complete new drivetrain was installed including an sram chain i couldn't believe i was having issues after only 3 or 4 hundred miles and sure enough it was stretched beyond an 1/8 almost a quarter inch, then it all made sense 500 plus dollars later. Anyway the kmc chains are far superior and use a power link

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by natrat View Post
    ........... Anyway the kmc chains are far superior and use a power link
    yup.. KMC all the way!
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  15. #15
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    Curious exactly which model SRAM chains you've used and had this problem with? I've used them in the past and they tend to not last as long as Shimano, but only by a couple hundred miles - Shimano's get about 1k miles, SRAM about 800 miles. In fact, I've had a SRAM chain on my main ride since last March and initially I think it stretched a bit, but as of right now it sits just between 1/16-1/8th, so time to replace, but a decent life span considering the amount of crap conditions I've ridden the bike in. FYI, chain is a PC971.

    Quote Originally Posted by natrat View Post
    definitely, especially if you avoid sram chains as they stretch at absurd rates and wreck cassette and rings prematurely
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tea@Dimbola View Post
    Oh my goodness - now we're into a whole new can of worms - CHAINS!
    Yes I do use SRAM cos I've always liked the power link and being able to remove it easily. What you you guys reccommend?
    Only one thing wears out the rings. CHAINS! But it is worth getting a chain measuring tool. A worn chain will wreck the whole drive-train eventually. I have Super Pro chain rings, and they seem pretty tough. 7075 Aluminum. I use middle 90% of the time, at a minimum, and it is holding up well. I have a steel Shimano ring in the parts bin, if and when it starts to go bad (chain skipping).
    My name is Chris and I ride a Prophet 650b with a Lefty.

  17. #17
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    Thanks for all this. I've been using the PC971, 991 for my older bike & 1091 for my 10-speed bike. I hose off the chain, sprockets and rings after a ride and then wipe chain and spray with GT85 before re-applying wet lub, (usually finish line green or TF2)
    I'm finding everything wears out after about 9 months. Which are the equivalent KMC chains that you guys are reccommending?

  18. #18
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    What drive train parts are you using? Do you cross chain a lot? Do you ride in mud/muck/grime a lot? Do you do regular maintenance and keep you chain well lubed? How many miles are you riding in those 9 months? Damn curious to hear replies for these questions as I just don't see how an entire drive train can only last 9 months when I've had YEARS and thousands of miles out of mine with the chain being the only item regularly replaced

    Quote Originally Posted by Tea@Dimbola View Post
    Thanks for all this. I've been using the PC971, 991 for my older bike & 1091 for my 10-speed bike. I hose off the chain, sprockets and rings after a ride and then wipe chain and spray with GT85 before re-applying wet lub, (usually finish line green or TF2)
    I'm finding everything wears out after about 9 months. Which are the equivalent KMC chains that you guys are reccommending?
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  19. #19
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    Ok then.
    XT 780 Triple with standard 42/32/24 . XT Shadow rear and XT front mechs, XT shifters, SRAM 1091 chain. I ride in New Forest, Canford Heath, and Winchester and South Downs singletrack and bridleways, and black mountains in South Wales. All those locations do get very muddy and the forest and heath are quite sandy in places. I tend to ride seated with not much 'mashing' at all. I ride about 25-30 miles twice a week.

  20. #20
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    I know you guys up in Jolly Old get nasty conditions most year round, especially out in Wales and if the soil conditions have in a lot of sand might explain the wear, but still, that's a very short lifespan for those parts. While I use SRAM chains, I most definitely prefer the Shimano CN7701. Hope the lifespan of your drivetrain improves using a Shimano or KMC chain. FYI I'm using XT760 9spd stuff, so don't know if maybe the difference between 9spd and 10spd could also be something.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tea@Dimbola View Post
    Ok then.
    XT 780 Triple with standard 42/32/24 . XT Shadow rear and XT front mechs, XT shifters, SRAM 1091 chain. I ride in New Forest, Canford Heath, and Winchester and South Downs singletrack and bridleways, and black mountains in South Wales. All those locations do get very muddy and the forest and heath are quite sandy in places. I tend to ride seated with not much 'mashing' at all. I ride about 25-30 miles twice a week.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    I know you guys up in Jolly Old get nasty conditions most year round, especially out in Wales and if the soil conditions have in a lot of sand might explain the wear, but still, that's a very short lifespan for those parts. While I use SRAM chains, I most definitely prefer the Shimano CN7701. Hope the lifespan of your drivetrain improves using a Shimano or KMC chain. FYI I'm using XT760 9spd stuff, so don't know if maybe the difference between 9spd and 10spd could also be something.
    9 speed is quite a bit more tougher than 10 speed.

  22. #22
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    It may be just me, but I've found Race Face rings to be really tough, yet a bit on the heavy side (the Race ones, not the newer Turbines).

    I'm on a Truvativ steel 36t and a Blackspire 24t now, though. The Blackspire was my choice and the Truvativ just about the only thing I could get in 36t when I was shopping for a 36t ring.
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  23. #23
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    me n a few racers here in town are hooked on fsa dh ring 104 x ... rings. no shift ramps,i dont seem to need the ramps. strong/stiff and lasts a really long time. i have used it in a 2x although the 26 granny is a race face.

    used on 10 andd 9 spd setups.
    Last edited by zippy895; 12-15-2012 at 12:19 PM.

  24. #24
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    Yep, KMC chains.

    Some good advice I picked up from here is to have two or three chains that you rotate between. As the chain wears, it will deform the cassette and rings. If you replace the chain after it has reached the stretch limit, the new chain will wear much quicker since the cogs have been deformed to match. I swap the chains out every week or two and use that as a chance to give it a thorough cleaning in solvent.

    Also as an FYI, lubricants will rarely displace the water from the inside of the chain where it is needed most. You'll either need to air/oven dry it or better yet, soak it in alcohol (either denatured or 100% IPA). That will displace the water and allow the lubricant to wick in.

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