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Aluminum Chain Rings or Steel?

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    Aluminum Chain Rings or Steel?

    For pedal assisted or throttle controlled Bicycles or Trikes, which type of Chain Ring will hold up the best. Aluminum or Steel?

    I have a Triple up front and I am going to be using a gear driven rear hub motor. Since part of my build includes installing a Thun sensor bottom bracket that is square taper, I find myself having to replace my crankset. Since I am going to have to do that anyway, I taking a look at the chain rings and attempting to decide which material will be the best for me to go with.

    Jason

    #2
    Since you are using a hub motor and the only stress on the chain line will be leg power so will it matter? Steel will always last longer but light weight aluminum up front will probably be a better choice.

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      #3
      All of the chain rings that I have ever looked at are aluminum. I have never had a problem with aluminum chain rings.

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      • calfee20
        calfee20 commented
        Editing a comment
        I used the Aluminum chain ring that I got with my original BBSHD kit . It wore out in less than 2000 miles. Mid drives put a lot of stress on the drive train. I don't horse around much on my bike. I can't imagine the strain that a high watt rig like a Cyclone or a BBSHD Ludicrous will put on a bicycle drive line.

        OH I finally used one of your wheels. I will post a picture in a few days.

      #4
      Aluminum to date on my 1300 watt fatbike, used exclusively for steep and gnarly trail riding, very rarely anything even halfway level, never on pavement. I do all the things you shouldn't start from a standing stop at the bottom of a grade so steep it's scary to ride down, etc., lube the chain when I remember, maybe every 3 or 4 rides, etc. So far, at 1400 miles, I finally got around to replacing the stock "came with the bike" chain when my Park chain gauge showed a bit of wear, replacing it with a supposedly ebike specific (better?) chain. I eyeballed my Raceface ring at the time and could see no wear. I've had so much fun with during this time replacing it when finally needed will be money well spent!? If I get 2 K miles out of it, I'll spring for a new one, that's a lot of trail riding.

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        #5
        I'd worn out a couple of aluminum chainrings, by around 3500 miles. That was a few chains, too, and one steel cassette used up. Lot of grit. If there were a steel option with tall, narrow/wide teeth, I'd take it, but I can't find one. (stock is steel, but wimpy teeth).

        I'd choose aluminum with better chain retention, over steel that drops chains, any day.
        Fabrication is fun! Build something today. Show someone. Let them help. Inspire and share. Spread the desire.

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          #6
          I do not know if I am going to have much of a choice as I decided to keep my 9 speed gearing intact instead of upgrading. Since I am installing a Thun Bottom Bracket my challenge has been finding Crank Arms I was going to be happy with and then attempting to match the existing gearing on my Trike. It was important to me to match the existing gearing on my Trike because I know I can pedal with out battery power and climb a hill if I need to or if my motor goes down. Since I am new to E-Assist and E-bikes, Break downs and over extending battery life are a real concern until I get some experience under my belt.

          Unfortunately I was not able to find the Crank Arms I wanted in the 104 BCD Triple version. I do have a set of Shimano Biopace Crank Arms that I had shortened to 155mm by a machine shop and I can either use the Shimano Biopace gears on them or I can use the TA Specialties gears that I decided to buy ( after doing a lot of research) and bolt them up to the Shimano Crank arms. I also was able to find a new TruVativ Touro Triple Crankset that is square taper and130 BCD. Of course it does not have the chain rings sizes on it I want but those can be swapped out. The hardest part or this for me is finding the smallest chainring I can for the inside of my triple. On my current crankset 104 BCD Crankset I had a 20 tooth chainring. The smallest I could find for my 130bcd is 24 tooth but I think I solved that problem today.

          Jason

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            #7
            I forgot to mention that I have yet to drop a chain, ever, thanks I guess to the narrow/wide trick aluminum chain ring. I did drop a chain on my latest build, using the stock Bafang ring for a test ride, since the RaceFace installation, no drops.

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              #8
              What speed chain are you using?

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