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Thread: Cog Life.

  1. #1
    Always in the wrong gear
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    Cog Life.

    In the last year that I've been SS exclusive, I've noticed that one 'debate' always seems to come up over and over:
    How many miles a rear cog will last. This seems to get thrown into the discussion more than anything, on par with chain life.
    I see people post stuff like "I only run CK steel cogs because they last longer than <brand X> aluminum". What are people doing that makes this a consideration?

    I'm curious:
    Post what cog(s) you have, the mileage and wear.

    I have 2 Endless cogs, a 22 and a 20, the 22T has *way* more miles, probably 1500-1600, the 20T has maybe 150-175.
    The 22T, the anodizing is just starting to wear off, and there's no discernible change to the teeth profile. The 20T is essentially new.
    At this rate, It'll probably outlast everything else on my bike. Easily several thousand miles before I feel like it's "worn".

    What are other people getting for mileage that makes material a consideration?

  2. #2
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    I will stick to steel. For 30 bucks, surly cog lasts damn near forever. I could be convinced, but I dout that any aluminum cog that costs twice as much (or more) will lasr nearly as long. Why spend more for something that wears out faster?

  3. #3
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    I have countless miles on a handful of Surly cogs... I don't know that I will ever run anything else. The weight on cogs is so marginal that it's not even worth considering in my opinion.

    I also have a steel threaded track cog on my fixie from All City and I have been very impressed with it... It's seen a lot of hard miles and still looks great.

  4. #4
    SSolo, on your left!
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    I will stick to steel. For 30 bucks, surly cog lasts damn near forever. I could be convinced, but I dout that any aluminum cog that costs twice as much (or more) will lasr nearly as long. Why spend more for something that wears out faster?
    X2, even stamped steel cogs are better than aluminum for longevity, I've run several of them and took long time to wear out, I don't really keep close track of miles etc. on components, more of inspect and replace as needed. I've used a couple Surlys and they really last a long time, I've not worn one out yet. I wish more companies made steel chainrings in more configurations, I use Surly stainless steel after the aluminum rings wore out. A good quality chain really helps it all last longer and run better too. KMC used to make a really nice lightweight chain with hollow pins, cut out sideplates, ti-nitride coated that I got a lot of miles out of, they dont' make that particular chain anymore.

    I've used 18, 20, 21 and 22. Settled on 32/18 for me and my riding areas, yes I walk sometimes when it gets too steep.
    Get off the couch and ride! :)

  5. #5
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    Maybe all these companies are making alu cogs because they you you'll have to buy another one in a few months.

  6. #6
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    I post about cog material anytime the topic comes up. I will only use steel or titanium for cogs, no aluminum for me. My only experience with aluminum was with an early Endless 22t cog where the teeth were all mushroomed after about 100 miles. I then invested in a couple of Boone Ti cogs. Put many miles on them and they still looked like new. Sold them for more than I bought them for and bought a couple of Homebrewed Components Ti cogs. Same deal, used them for many miles with no visible wear, and sold them for more than I bought them for. I now have a collection of Ti cogs from some guy in Texas that was machining them a couple of years back. They don't have a ton of miles on them, but they look perfect.

    BTW, Wolftooth makes some nice looking stainless cogs and chainrings. That would be my first choice if I had to buy something right now.

  7. #7
    Always in the wrong gear
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    Maybe all these companies are making alu cogs because they you you'll have to buy another one in a few months.
    That's the point of the thread.
    "you'll have to buy another in a few months"...says who? Mine's a year old and shows very little wear to the anodizing. The teeth are perfect.
    I'm trying to collect data, not fanboi stories and vague assertions of 'longer'.

  8. #8
    MaxTheCyclist.com
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    I put 2,000 miles on an Endless 25T and a Chris King 18T on a dinglespeed setup. Both still look virtually new, I've barely worn the ano on the Endless cog.

    I am building a dinglespeed SSCX bike as we speak. The 18T will have a new home on there, alongside a brand new 20T Endless cog.


    I am hoping I wear out my Endless cogs eventually so that I can keep supporting Shanna's absolutely radical USA-made stuff, but at the rate they wear... I don't know if I will! Maybe I'll just buy more colors and swap around for bling.
    Ultralight bikepacking and gear lists... MaxTheCyclist.com

  9. #9
    SS Pusher Man
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    My last Surly cog lasted about 5000 miles.....I am an elevation nut, so those were high torque climbing miles.

    I bought a Niner Ti cog since it was on sale....I'm hoping for more out of it.
    Bicycles donít have motors or batteries.:nono:

    Ebikes are not bicycles :nono:

  10. #10
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    I have to wonder why one cog can cost almost as much as a whole cassette

  11. #11
    psycho cyclo addict
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    I haven't worn out any of my cogs yet (clocked a few 1,000 miles on some)- all of them came with an SS bike or were purchased used/individually.

    King cogs fit more snugly on my drive shells/freehub bodies so I gravitate toward acquiring them more of the time. I have Endless and Surly cogs too.
    【ツ】 eDub 【ツ】

  12. #12
    Always in the wrong gear
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    I have to wonder why one cog can cost almost as much as a whole cassette
    My guess: $40-50 Cassettes are stamped steel(Edit: or alu) and ABS plastic washers pinned together, e.g. SLX or PG-1070.

    $40-50 SS cogs are CNC machined one by one, then anodized/hardened and laser etched with logos.
    Cassettes like that can made cheaply and quickly with little concern for item life. A cog takes a lot of steps to make.
    A 'good' cassette (by recent standards) is significantly more than $50. MSRP on an 11sp cassette is more than my entire SS drivetrain.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    I have to wonder why one cog can cost almost as much as a whole cassette
    It's all about the numbers. Hundreds (cogs) versus tens of thousands (cassettes). Also, most good cogs are made on a CNC machine, versus cassette cogs that are stamped/forged in a fraction of the time(a very, very small fraction).

  14. #14
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    If your chain is in good condition, either type of cog should last a really long time. I like steel because it is more forgiving if I don't catch a worn chain early enough.

  15. #15
    Downcountry AF
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    Cog Life

    i was fully expecting to see a flat brimmed punk wearing an ironic t-shirt while flashing a gang sign. Cog Life.

    wether you use a $30 cog, or an $80 cog, they last a long time and your going to get your moneys worth IMO. you'll go through multiple chains in that time. so long as you have your chainline right, and your not dropping chains, they all perform the same.

    buy what makes you happy. if you like a certain brand name, great. if you want a pretty color, that's cool too. if you are more about function over form and bang for the buck, good for you.

    i personally would rather spend money on a quality hub, the cog i don't care about so long as it gets me up the next climb. YMMV
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  16. #16
    WillWorkForTrail
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    I recently replaced my second rear cog. It was steel, had about 3 years of use on it (probably 2100-2500 miles?) and the teeth were getting flattened and pushed out where the chain contacted them at peak torque. After breaking a chain due to that (which is how I noticed it was happening) I replaced it with a Wolftooth stainless cog. The old one was steel too, but it was probably an Origin8 or something. I don't think I've ever had an AL SS cog. But most chain rings are AL, and look at how they perform. Even a single will last as long as a cassette most of the time.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    I don't think I've ever had an AL SS cog. But most chain rings are AL, and look at how they perform.
    Chainrings are generally much larger than cogs. An aluminum ring will last a ling time because the force is spread out among many more teeth.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    I recently replaced my second rear cog. It was steel, had about 3 years of use on it (probably 2100-2500 miles?) and the teeth were getting flattened and pushed out where the chain contacted them at peak torque. After breaking a chain due to that (which is how I noticed it was happening) I replaced it with a Wolftooth stainless cog. The old one was steel too, but it was probably an Origin8 or something. I don't think I've ever had an AL SS cog. But most chain rings are AL, and look at how they perform. Even a single will last as long as a cassette most of the time.
    If you are seeing the teeth mushroom, it's because your chain has stretched.

  19. #19
    WillWorkForTrail
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    Quote Originally Posted by solo-x View Post
    If you are seeing the teeth mushroom, it's because your chain has stretched.
    Never to the point you could easily put the long end of a wear gauge through it. But I did stretch 4 or 5 chains out far enough to replace while that cog was on there, so in the end, you may be right. But it wasn't the sort of outrageous stretch you see from sheer neglect.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    Never to the point you could easily put the long end of a wear gauge through it. But I did stretch 4 or 5 chains out far enough to replace while that cog was on there, so in the end, you may be right. But it wasn't the sort of outrageous stretch you see from sheer neglect.
    It doesn't take much stretch at all to start mushrooming a cog. As soon as the pitch of the chain is greater than 1", the cog starts wearing to match. 1/8" over 12" of chain is considered worn and will start wearing steel drive train components. Aluminum drive train bits will start showing visible wear at less chain stretch than that IME. In 12" of chain there are 24 pins, meaning roughly .005" of wear per pin. That's the thickness of a couple human hairs. I've had SRAM PC-971 and PC-991 chains stretch 1/16" in a 100 mile race. YMMV and all that, but I've never mushroomed a cog and NOT found more than 1/16" chain stretch.

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