How durable are aluminum chain-rings?

Chris S

Legendary Member
Location
Sparkhill
How durable are aluminum chain-rings? I've noticed that aluminum components are a lot softer than steel.

There's one on a bike that I've bought for spares. However there's no point putting it on if it's going to be worn after several hundred miles. (I do about 2000 miles per year).
 

fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
Very durable. What type of bike ? They last many many thousands of miles on road bikes, not so much on MTB's, but every thing wears fast on an MTB.
 

Sharky

Guru
Location
Kent
+1
I've never had to change a chainring because of wear. They last until I replace the bike itself or I just want to change the gear ratios.
 
Location
London
Good question chris - I had the idea (don't know - before my time) that steel rings on old bikes lasted for ages, maybe a lifetime - but possible I suppose that many of those bikes weren't doing many miles.

Am not technical but I have the impression that there are different grades of steel used for chainrings - wouldn't quality steel be a good thing/preferable to ally? The small chainring on lots of mr shimano's humble triples is/was very often steel. This suggests to my non techie head that steel is a good idea?
 
Last edited:
Location
London
+1
I've never had to change a chainring because of wear. They last until I replace the bike itself or I just want to change the gear ratios.
this surprises me as I have the idea that you've tons of miles. I have reduced a chainring on my dahon speed pro (single chainring linked to 3x7 at the back) to points so that it slips - that definitely needs changing. That could be Dahon's notorious quality though I suppose. Had to replace an alivio middle chainring because of slipping after no time, though that was maybe a manufacturing fault. Wore out one of the cheapo chainrings that came with a Spa chainset as standard fitting as well. So I had the impression that they do wear - that's why I have a box of spare 9 speed rings.
 
Location
London
Very durable. What type of bike ? They last many many thousands of miles on road bikes, not so much on MTB's, but every thing wears fast on an MTB.
out of interest (maybe educational - help us to increase life by changing riding style/maintenance) why do you think they wear faster on MTBs (I don't have an MTB as such but do have lots of MTB components.)
 
There are basically two grades of aluminium used in chainrings. If you ever cut them up with a hacksaw you will find one is very soft and the other much harder. The harder one is often called Zircal.
 
Location
London
There are basically two grades of aluminium used in chainrings. If you ever cut them up with a hacksaw you will find one is very soft and the other much harder. The harder one is often called Zircal.
I know Spa sell stuff called "Zircal" - I fitted one.
To clarify, zircal is an actual material is it? ie - not a brand/brand of material? Do you know how it differs from "bog standard" aluminium?

Part of the reason I ask is that I don't recall ever seeing any Shimano rings with a Zircal tag. So what are they using?
 
I know Spa sell stuff called "Zircal" - I fitted one.
To clarify, zircal is an actual material is it? ie - not a brand/brand of material? Do you know how it differs from "bog standard" aluminium?

Part of the reason I ask is that I don't recall ever seeing any Shimano rings with a Zircal tag. So what are they using?
7075-T6 Aluminium alloy
Zircal is some kind of trade name
 

Sharky

Guru
Location
Kent
this surprises me as I have the idea that you've tons of miles.
Have done tons of miles, but spread over many decades. No longer a mileeater, but have hit 6k miles in a year when I was commuting. My bikes seem to last about 10 years and I do have 4 bikes in use for different purposes, so this will make them all last longer. My winter bike (Oct - March) has had the same chain ring on for about 4 years.

All my bikes now also have single chain rings and mostly narrow/wide ones as well. I don't know if the latter factors would be kinder to chainring wear.
 

sasquath

Well-Known Member
My Shimano 105 5800 chainrings have covered a little under 60,000km on roads in all seasons. Neither inner nor outer is visibly worn beyond purely cosmetic changes and both function perfectly well still.
7075 contains a lot (5-6%) of zinc and more iron than 6061 maybe zircal comes from them two.

MTB components wear faster when they are getting covered in s**t every ride. Ride them purely on the road and they'll last.
 
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