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Old 05-25-05, 09:52 PM   #1
erhan
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Cassettes - Which material wears faster?

titanium, steel, or others?
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Old 05-26-05, 12:45 AM   #2
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The answer to this is directly related to the specific hardness of each material.

Aluminium is the softest material that I am aware of in use as cogs.

Ti is the hardest, and steel sits nicely (and inexpensively) in the middle.
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Old 05-26-05, 01:03 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Bike_13
The answer to this is directly related to the specific hardness of each material.

Aluminium is the softest material that I am aware of in use as cogs.

Ti is the hardest, and steel sits nicely (and inexpensively) in the middle.
Steel can be hardened much more than titanium. I'd say steel is the best material.
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Old 05-26-05, 05:55 AM   #4
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I've used the DuraAce ti cassette. It wore out pretty quickly. I went back to the all-steel Ultegra for increased durability. Aluminum cassettes are special for racing only. They wear super quick.
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Old 05-26-05, 07:27 AM   #5
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Chain rings seem to be made of aluminium fairly often.
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Old 05-26-05, 08:13 AM   #6
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You want a cassette that wears out fast? Most of the non-steel cassettes will fall into that category. If you absolutely need to shave a few tens of grams you can buy an aluminum cassette that will be good for about 1000 miles; titanium versions are not that much better for longevity.
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Old 05-26-05, 08:37 AM   #7
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It also depends on the size of the cog. On Dura-Ace cassettes, only the largest few cogs are ti, because larger cogs wear more slowly than small ones (all other things being equal). A titanium 11-tooth cog wouldn't last very long at all.

That's why you can make chainrings out of aluminum without any trouble. They're just much bigger. Steel and titanium chainrings only make sense when it comes to granny gears on mountain bikes.

Campy used to make an all aluminum freewheel. It was light, but it barely held up long enough to ride out of the bike shop parking lot.
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Old 05-26-05, 10:34 AM   #8
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I think the manufacturers are not trying all that hard to be honest. Stuff that is light, wears out fast and costs alot makes these companies lots of money. There are Ti and aluminum alloys that are harder than the steel they are making cogs out of now. Maybe the cost is prohibitive, but it could be done. There are some car engine blocks made of aluminum alloy that last as long as cast iron blocks, for example. Such material may be too brittle for cogs, but there literally hundreds of alloys available to manufacturers.
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Old 05-26-05, 10:44 AM   #9
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Ally blocks usually have steel liners, or even ceramic ones.
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Old 05-26-05, 07:54 PM   #10
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I think the manufacturers are not trying all that hard to be honest. Stuff that is light, wears out fast and costs alot makes these companies lots of money. There are Ti and aluminum alloys that are harder than the steel they are making cogs out of now. Maybe the cost is prohibitive, but it could be done. There are some car engine blocks made of aluminum alloy that last as long as cast iron blocks, for example. Such material may be too brittle for cogs, but there literally hundreds of alloys available to manufacturers.
As a machinist I have machined many different alloys of aluminum and steel and have yet to see an aluminum alloy that is harder then any of the steels I have cut. All of the titanium I have worked with is harder to machine then soft steel but it is actually softer (will dent easier).

Does anyone know if the steel cogs are heat treated?
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Old 05-26-05, 08:15 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by dooley
Ally blocks usually have steel liners, or even ceramic ones.
D'oh?
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Old 05-27-05, 12:31 AM   #12
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D'oh?
???
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Old 05-27-05, 01:10 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Coda1
As a machinist I have machined many different alloys of aluminum and steel and have yet to see an aluminum alloy that is harder then any of the steels I have cut. All of the titanium I have worked with is harder to machine then soft steel but it is actually softer (will dent easier).

Does anyone know if the steel cogs are heat treated?
Pretty much all steel is heat treated. If you're talking about how hard it is, I'm no expert, but I would venture to say that the cogs are on the upper end of the hardness spectrum. They don't have to be especially tough, so there's no reason not to harden them...
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Old 05-27-05, 06:33 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by ivan_yulaev
Pretty much all steel is heat treated. ..
Not really.
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Old 05-27-05, 06:34 AM   #15
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............. but I would venture to say that the cogs are on the upper end of the hardness spectrum. They don't have to be especially tough, so there's no reason not to harden them...
What???
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Old 05-27-05, 07:04 AM   #16
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Ally blocks usually have steel liners, or even ceramic ones.
True, but some don't. I believe some manufacturers use an alloy with alot of silica in it.
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Old 05-27-05, 07:09 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Coda1
Does anyone know if the steel cogs are heat treated?

I would think they would be, but I have no idea. It would be really simple and cheap to case harden them by quenching in oil or water, so I would expect that they are. Anyone have access to a brinnel hardness tester? I'd be currious to know how hard steel cogs are.
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Old 05-27-05, 07:13 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by darkmother
I would think they would be, but I have no idea. It would be really simple and cheap to case harden them by quenching in oil or water, so I would expect that they are.
Nope. AFWIW, case hardening isn't a simple oil or water quench.
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Old 05-27-05, 08:16 AM   #19
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If you want something that wears fast, go buy a dura ace cassette.
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Old 05-27-05, 09:53 AM   #20
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I am not a materials expert, but my basic understanding is: titanium alloy is stronger than steel; pure titanium probably is not as strong as steel; titanium alloy is a lot harder to machine because it is so tough (and that is why it is more expensive); pure titanium is a lot easier to work with but is not used very much; and, you probably do not have to worry about excessive wear of titanium cogs unless you start to see sparks flying from your freewheel.
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Old 05-27-05, 10:36 AM   #21
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I have some materials background. Shimano will not give out any information but is is fairly easy to deduce. Titanium. I have noticed that on a few dura-ace cassettes, there is rust on them. Since the cassettes are made in Japan, looking at viable titanium suppliers, they are using Russian titanium. The Russians do not have the technology (triple-vacuum melting) that we do - therefore the "purity" of their Ti cannot match that of US and therefore, that is one explanation for the rusting (impurities in the titanium). Next, looking at machinability, and cost... looking at both of these factors, one can deduce that Shimano is using CP2 (Commercially Pure grade 2 titanium) which is non-hardenable. Shimano claims Nickel-plating on their Dura-Ace steel cogs. Without actually Rockwell testing for hardness I would deduce they are using a mild inexpensive steel/non heat treated and using the nickel plating (because it is less expensive than using and heat treating a higher quality steel - knife makers do this as well). The nickel plating increases wear resistance and insulates the steel from the elements, preventing rusting. That is my 2 cents :-)
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Old 05-27-05, 10:42 AM   #22
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titanium is not stronger than steel. period. its strength to weight ratio is better, but htat's irrelevant in cogs (same size). Titanium is hard to machine becuase of its properties (bad cconductance etc) not because it is tougher or harder..
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Old 05-27-05, 10:44 AM   #23
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Nope. AFWIW, case hardening isn't a simple oil or water quench.
Why not? It can indeed be that simple.
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Old 05-27-05, 10:50 AM   #24
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CP titanium has only 35,000 pounds or so tensile strength. Also, by being soft, it is "gummy" and tends to gum-up the cutters on milling machines. Titanium alloys approach the strenghts of some of the better stainless steels. We have heat treated Beta-C titanium to RC50 - which is approaching 260,000 pounds tensile strength. I believe the highest strength metal is Nitinol 60 (a Nickel/Ti alloy). We have heat treated to RC70 ! And it was not brittle. I think I have the only remaining supply :-)
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Old 05-27-05, 11:00 AM   #25
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Why not? It can indeed be that simple.
Depending on the steel being hi or low carbon.
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