Steel or Aluminum ?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New question here. Steel or Aluminum ?

    Some friends of mine told me that I should use steel cogs and chainrings for a SS conversion. They say I will tear through aluminum in no time.
    How accurate is this ???


    I have already bought a Misfit cycles COD cog and a blackspire chainring (both aluminum) with a 3/32 chain but havent put them on yet.

  2. #2
    Nat
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    Quote Originally Posted by gobriango
    Some friends of mine told me that I should use steel cogs and chainrings for a SS conversion. They say I will tear through aluminum in no time.
    How accurate is this ???


    I have already bought a Misfit cycles COD cog and a blackspire chainring (both aluminum) with a 3/32 chain but havent put them on yet.
    Aluminum does wear down quickly but if you already bought them I'd just use them.

  3. #3
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    A steel Chris King cog will last a long long time. You get lots of life out of a Ti Boone cog as well.
    Chainrings of aluminum last long enough for me , by using 32 teeth or larger.

    A very high tension on the chain will wear them out faster as well. A wee bit of sag is fine.
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  4. #4
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    i have found that paper cogs are sufficient for the amount of time i own the bike

  5. #5
    I've broken one of those!
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    Rider weight, masher or spinner, leg strength

    My SS has to deal with a mashing, ex-powerlifting clydesdale. I ripped through an aluminum 32T chainring in under 3 months. Just my experience. But for my $0.02, why grind on a metal as soft as aluminum with a chain of steel? Since you already have the aluminum components, run 'em. Just be prepared to change 'em.
    "It's not his fault that he's an adorable, unstoppable killing machine."

  6. #6
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    I know your post is about steel or aluminum but you should also consider ti....my boone ti ring and cog have over 5k miles on them and are still in great condition. They are a little pricey but in the long run I think they have saved me money....
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by gobriango
    Some friends of mine told me that I should use steel cogs and chainrings for a SS conversion. They say I will tear through aluminum in no time.
    How accurate is this ???


    I have already bought a Misfit cycles COD cog and a blackspire chainring (both aluminum) with a 3/32 chain but havent put them on yet.
    If I were you I'd wear my aluminum crap out real quick and then replace it with long lasting steel stuff.

    --Sparty
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  8. #8
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    Steel or Ti (Boone) I have had bad experiences with Aluminium cogs if the past...

  9. #9
    CB2
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    On both my bikes I have steel in the rear (Surly cog, WI freewheel). But up front, one has steel (Surly), one has aluminum (Salsa). I've actually had better luck with the aluminum chainring because it is stiffer; I bent the steel ring on the trail and need to run a bash-guard with it while the aluminum has been taking a licking.
    Maybe it's just dumb luck though; it's only been about 3 months.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB2
    On both my bikes I have steel in the rear (Surly cog, WI freewheel). But up front, one has steel (Surly), one has aluminum (Salsa). I've actually had better luck with the aluminum chainring because it is stiffer; I bent the steel ring on the trail and need to run a bash-guard with it while the aluminum has been taking a licking.
    Maybe it's just dumb luck though; it's only been about 3 months.
    Chain wear and physical abuse are two different aspects. Note the Surly ring (silver, left) below. Because it is made of relatively heavy steel, the Surly ring is weight-relieved in order to be as light as possible. Compare it to the Salsa ring (black, right) which has a deeper webbing profile between the bolt holes. The aluminum ring may actually be more resistant to becoming out-of-round when it comes to grinding logs, but tooth wear caused by a gritty chain is a different matter.



    Personally, I'd run the Surly and add a grind/guard ring if I wanted to grind logs/rocks. But in any case, for long tooth life, I'm stickin' with steel.

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  11. #11
    CB2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus

    Personally, I'd run the Surly and add a grind/guard ring if I wanted to grind logs/rocks. But in any case, for long tooth life, I'm stickin' with steel.

    --Sparty
    Not so much as I wanting to grind logs/rocks as much as that's what the local terrain is and my lack of ability to clear them cleanly!

  12. #12
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    And from the lightweight (rider) category, same conclusion..

    Quote Originally Posted by bigpoppabear
    My SS has to deal with a mashing, ex-powerlifting clydesdale. I ripped through an aluminum 32T chainring in under 3 months. Just my experience. But for my $0.02, why grind on a metal as soft as aluminum with a chain of steel? Since you already have the aluminum components, run 'em. Just be prepared to change 'em.
    My SS only has to deal with a 145 lb. rider weight, but the grit of a Western Oregon winter had my first chain and aluminum (Vuelta) chainring being replaced in under three months. The Surly Stainless ring I replaced it with is running strong nine months later, even though I've gone through two more chains. (No more 8-9 spd chains for me)

  13. #13
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    Material quality plays a big role. I have had cheap steel rings wear out quicker than good quality aluminum rings. And a high quality aluminum cog, like an Endless, wears very well.

    Something that makes a big difference in wear is running larger gears. For example, instead of running 32-16, try 36-18. Same gear ratio, but significantly larger gears. There is more chain wrap, and the larger chain ring applies less tension to the chain (in this case, 12.5% less).

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