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Which 38-Tooth Chainring Should I Get? Aluminum or Stainless Steel?

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Which 38-Tooth Chainring Should I Get? Aluminum or Stainless Steel?

Old 10-15-21, 10:55 AM
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estasnyc
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Which 38-Tooth Chainring Should I Get? Aluminum or Stainless Steel?

I'm looking to get a new pair of 130mm BCD chainrings.

The outer ring will be a Shimano 105 5703 50-tooth chainring.

Shimano doesn't make a 38-tooth 130mm BCD inner chainring and so I'm looking at two possibilities: a Dimension aluminum ring or a Surly stainless steel ring.

Any opinion on which one I should get?

I don't know what kind of aluminum alloy is in the Dimension ring but I would have to guess that it's something low-end since it would otherwise be indicated.

The warning I've read for the Surly ring is that a 9- or 10-speed chain will have tight fit and require a break-in period.

The current bike setup is a 9-speed with friction shifters that I may upgrade to 10-speed.

Thanks in advance
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Old 10-15-21, 11:02 AM
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38T is large enough that I would use aluminum. Sugino makes a good plain aluminum ring, but prices have crept up on those.

32T or smaller is where I'd start to consider steel, especially if you plan to spend a lot of time in that ring. My wife's new bike came with a 46/30 crank, and I discovered that the 30T was magnetic after getting it home. Good choice on their part.
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Old 10-15-21, 11:29 AM
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I could get the Sugino. Would you recommend this over the Dimension brand?
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Old 10-15-21, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by estasnyc View Post
The warning I've read for the Surly ring is that a 9- or 10-speed chain will have tight fit and require a break-in period.
I once bought a steel Surly 42T over an alloy Salsa ring, thinking the steel would last longer. But the Surly was poorly finished, with grinding marks on it, and the holes for the chainring bolts were not counter-sunk. The teeth were fine and the ring was functional, but it was crude. BTW, required no break-in for a 9-speed, have never heard of that.

Now I buy only TA rings, they are like jewelry. You can get them easily from Chain Reaction or from Peter White.

Good luck!
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Old 10-15-21, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
I discovered that the 30T was magnetic after getting it home. Good choice on their part.
Why do you say that?
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Old 10-16-21, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
Why do you say that?
Small chainrings that are used routinely will last far longer in steel than in aluminum. I have aluminum 26T and 30T granny chainrings on my road triple cranks but those chainrings are only used very sparingly. If I used them with regularity, they would be steel.
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Old 10-16-21, 08:50 AM
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^ Exactly what @HillRider said. Especially if a newer rider (not casting aspersions) might find themself using the small ring a lot.
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Old 10-16-21, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by estasnyc View Post
I could get the Sugino. Would you recommend this over the Dimension brand?
I've used a different Dimension chainring and it seemed to be well-made, but perhaps a little soft. Could be that I was using it on a fixed-gear.

But I'm sure it would be fine for the job.
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Old 10-16-21, 01:37 PM
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My own rule of thumb is if you need to pull the crank to change the chainring, and you use that ring a lot, get one that will last the longest.

I’ve read mixed opinions on larger steel chainrings, granny gears are fine.

John
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