Is Surly really any good in gears?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Is Surly really any good in gears?

    so it sounds like Surly is supposed to be the best brand of chainrings and cogs for single speed around?. It's really the only brand most stores carry for single speed parts.

    I've heard however that the chainrings have tacoed under power for some riders and that they are soft steel with being 304 stainless.

    Does this really happen a lot or is it just a defect?.

    Is 304 as good as chromoly or even high tensile?.

    and have heard that the rear sprockets sometimes slip as well.

    just want to know if it's truly the best I can get and if they are really worthy of the name Surly.

  2. #2
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    Never had a problem with rear cogs.

    Never had a problem with front.

    Although I have broken crank spiders, twisted cranks, twisted BB spindles, broken chains, I have never a tacoed a chainring. However I always try to fit the chainring to an appropriate crank. I wouldn't put a 52 tooth on an mtb crank because that's asking for trouble.

    I use Surly chainrings on my road bike and my mtb.
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  3. #3
    Always in the wrong gear
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    I give Surly a hard time because (IMO) they're plain, ugly, utilitarian, and heavy.
    I currently own 3 of their cogs, and I'll be damned if any of them show any real wear after over a thousand miles on each one. Hell, my 19t I 'bought' for a 12pk of Corona, I don't even know how many miles it has on it, but I bet it outlasts everything else on my bike.
    My bike has Paragon sliders, and I run my chain pretty tight, but it's perfectly aligned and as long as the chain isn't clapped out, it runs smooth and clean as a swiss watch. I've never thrown a chain. ever.

    I have no experience with the chainrings, but a Surly cog is the epitome of 'set and forget'.
    Don’t modify the trail to match your skills, modify your skills to match the trails.

  4. #4
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    I'm with Velobike. I've used Surly rings and cogs for years. They're fine, though I wish the steel was harder on the chainrings. The teeth's pressure faces will indeed mushroom over time.

    Surly makes good stuff. Three of my bikes have Surly cranks, which I'll point out utilize 5-bolt spiders. (Who's idea was it to go to 4-bolt spiders, anyway? 4-bolts provide 20% less support for the chainring... oh well, a rant for another time.)

    Anyway the only problems I've personally seen with Surly rings folding have been from folks who didn't keep their chainring bolts snug. But Velobike makes a good point. Don't tempt fate by using any larger ring than necessary.
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  5. #5
    Always in the wrong gear
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus View Post
    ...(Who's idea was it to go to 4-bolt spiders, anyway? 4-bolts provide 20% less support for the chainring... oh well, a rant for another time.)
    Weight weenies, that's who.

    I don't think there's a "perfect crankset" in existence.
    Shimano is close, but I too would like to see a 5-bolt pattern. Not a fan of chainring bolts in general, but am a big fan of everything else they do.
    I have RaceFace direct mount cranks, and I like the stability and simplicity, but only because changing the front ring never crosses my mind, I re-gear by cog only. There's definitely limitations in the DM system, and most of it involves the hassle of pulling the drive-side crank to fiddle with the front ring.
    Don’t modify the trail to match your skills, modify your skills to match the trails.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ARandomBiker View Post
    ...I don't think there's a "perfect crankset" in existence...
    A double fluted Williams came close IMO.



    Not heavy and a nicer feel than alloy.

    I've got a set for a retro mtb build I'm planning, ie the mtb the British industry could have built in the 1930s if it wasn't so hidebound and up its own fundament.

    (It will use a 34t ring which is about as small as can be fitted)
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    A double fluted Williams came close IMO.



    Not heavy and a nicer feel than alloy.

    I've got a set for a retro mtb build I'm planning, ie the mtb the British industry could have built in the 1930s if it wasn't so hidebound and up its own fundament.

    (It will use a 34t ring which is about as small as can be fitted)
    LOL Velobike, I think my 1968 Peugeot (my first "real" bicycle) came with such an old cottered crank. Back then square taper was the shiznit and in 1971 I bought a Schwinn Paramount (handbuilt by two old ladies in Schwinn's pro shop, in fact those two retired the year after my bike was built). Anyway my Paramount was outfitted in a complete Campy Record group including the amazing square taper crank. The stock bike came with Weinman centerpull brakes; I believe I paid an extra $50 to upgrade to Campy sidepulls. Damn I miss that bike.

    Anyway back to the illustration in your post above, I assume "c.1232" means "circa 1232" ... denoting the year those cranks were first offered.

    Kidding, but kinda not. Those things are ol' steel relics for sure.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus View Post
    ...I assume "c.1232" means "circa 1232" ... denoting the year those cranks were first offered. ...
    Not quite. By the way, they're not really relics, at 565grms with a dural chainwheel, they compare with "modern" stuff. With a hollow spindle BB, probably lighter than most.

    I've taken this way OT now, but it's actually more relevant than it appears because initially I was going to build up my 1x1 with vintage components (including drum brakes) but trying to make it as light as possible.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bykesick View Post
    so it sounds like Surly is supposed to be the best brand of chainrings and cogs for single speed around?. It's really the only brand most stores carry for single speed parts.

    I've heard however that the chainrings have tacoed under power for some riders and that they are soft steel with being 304 stainless.

    Does this really happen a lot or is it just a defect?.

    Is 304 as good as chromoly or even high tensile?.

    and have heard that the rear sprockets sometimes slip as well.

    just want to know if it's truly the best I can get and if they are really worthy of the name Surly.
    My Surly 20, 21, 22 rears have never slipped, neither has my Chris King 18.
    Running Absolute Black oval rings and wouldn't mind trying one of their narrow/wide cogs too.

  10. #10
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    - my Surly cog is bomb-proof; 6 years of riding single-speed and it doesn't even show any wear.......
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  11. #11
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    Ive been buying surly cogs for years because they are the most inexpensive quality cog I can find. They're wide so they don't dig into and mess up the aluminum free hub. They last a long time as previously mentioned. And they come in every size you need. I haven't found a cheaper cog that has similar pros or at least isn't made out of thin sheetmetal.

  12. #12
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    My Dirt Jumper, SS CX, fixie, and SS MTB all have Surly cogs if that tells you anything.
    I have a mix-match of chainrings but when the time comes to replace, I'll probably move them all over to the steel Surlys.

    I do like the Aluminum Blackspire chainrings too. I have those on two bikes and they have lasted a long time, even including grinding on the dirt jumper.

  13. #13
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  14. #14
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    I got a Surly 16T cog for my Gary Fisher to replace the garbage 13T cog the previous owner put on it. The Surly skipped whenever I laid down any power, so I can't use it on that bike.

    On the Fisher, I went with a 17T Origin8, which has taller teeth than the Surly. It hasn't skipped yet.

    But to be fair, the Fisher needs a spring tensioner. I suspect the Surly just won't work unless I can get a good wrap around the cog without a tensioner. The Surly's teeth are just not tall enough to give me the grab I need from a dead stop.

    So, I will probably try the Surly to replace the 18T on my Gravity G29, which doesn't need a spring tensioner to get a good chain wrap.
    2013 Redline Monobelt
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