5DEV, the manufacturer of those wild-looking aluminum see-through cranks
, has just released a titanium chainring designed to be used on both mountain bikes and e-bikes. The rings are available in 34 and 36-tooth sizes and use a 104mm, 4-bolt BCD mounting pattern – there's no direct-mount version at this point but it's in the works. They're claimed to weigh 48 grams.
You can get your 5DEV chainring in bronze, purple, teal, or raw, the latter being the only correct choice for anything made of titanium. All options cost $149.99 USD, and they're said to last three times as long as an aluminum chainring.
5DEV titanium chainring
• Intended use: mountain bikes, e-bikes
• Sizes: 34t, 36t
• Mounting: 104mm BCD
• Material: Titanium
• Narrow-wide tooth profile
• Colors: Bronze, purple, teal, raw
• Compatibility: 7, 11, 12spd SRAM or Shimano, OChain
• Weight: 48 grams
• Made in San Diego, California
• MSRP: $149.99 USD
• More info: www.5dev.com
Why might someone want a titanium chainring? 5DEV says that their ring will last three times as long as a much softer, faster-wearing aluminum version. Chainrings typically wear out slower than a single cassette cog (or entire cassette) and need to be replaced less frequently, which is why most bikes come with aluminum chainrings that weigh less than a steel version that would, of course, last longer. But a titanium ring aims to combine the low weight of aluminum with the durability of steel... for a price.
Just like their stem and cranks, the chainrings are manufactured in San Diego, California, and are not inexpensive, with all four color options costing $149.99 USD. That's in the same ballpark as an XTR direct-mount ring and a bit more than one from SRAM but, given that 5DEV says that they, "provide at least three times the durability and longevity of your aluminum ring,
" would you consider one?
Is a titanium chainring a smart upgrade or a beautiful extravagance?
It still looks new and perhaps its related, but the chain I've run with it seems to have also lasted much longer.
Only downside is that the ring is significantly heavier, when you compare holding one in each hand. But that extra weight sure beats blowing through a $60-80 chain ring once a year.
"104 BCD stainless steel chainrings can last 5x longer than aluminum chainrings. Wolf Tooth has chosen to use 416 stainless steel despite the added expense and machining difficulty. The 300 series steel, often used by other manufacturers, is tough but still softer than the 416."
And, while it weighs more, the longevity is... impressive. And while I do care some about weight, I also care about the cost of consumables.
That said, I can see the market for a Ti ring. If it is truly 3x the durability of AL, then the pricing here seems to make sense. They don't look too great compared to steel in terms of dollars per lifetime, but I don't think they were ever supposed to.
Although I'd have thought the market for TI chainrings was more in the 30-34t range, not 34-36t. But maybe their chasing XC pros, and Ebikers?
Aluminum is the lightest of the 3, also the weakest. But if your constrained by size can be used for a favorable strength to weight ratio. It's also VERY easy to machine, cut, sand, shape, and weld. Tubes can be butted, shaped, bent, etc, thus it's popular with early dual suspensions with a zillion different designs for the rear suspension.
Titanium is stronger, but much harder to machine, harder on tools, hard to weld (can't expose to o2), and hard to shape. It's memory makes even something simple like bending a tube hard, since it will return to it's original shape ... until you go too far, and might not return to where you want it.
Steel is stronger still, easy to weld and machine, but not as easy as aluminimum. Doesn't foul tools, and doesn't require a nitrogen bath to weld. It's by far the strongest of the 3 if you are size constrained.
So for things that can be any size/shape, aluminum is often the best, so it's cheap/easy. It's particularly friendly to CNC machines or tig welding. Ti is stronger, but MUCH harder to machine or weld. Best for relatively simple things, which is why Ti frames are much close to simple triangles than aluminum frames. However for maximum strength and maximum life for any fixed size, like a chain ring, steel will be more durable, stronger, stiffer, and cheaper.
SRAM DM X-sync 2 34t steel, 141g, $25 MSRP
SRAM BCD104 X-sync 2 34t steel, 136g, $25 MSRP
Wolf Tooth BCD104 steel, 72g for a 30t, oddly 88g for 32t so I'm guessing 95g for a 34t, $120 MSRP
So if you're already planning to buy the Wolf Tooth, maybe an extra $30 isn't so insane for a different weight/durability optimization.
I'm not that customer, but I'm happy with whatever 7075 rings are on sale, and a guide with bash plate.
Ill rephrase your comment so it's accurate. A $2500 bike is good for average riders who are not pushing too hard.
The guys who know, know.
I've only owned raceface steel chainrings since I started biking 4 years ago.
Until this comment section, I literally didn't even know narrow wide AL chainrings wore out in terms of chain retention .
Wolftooth lasts 5x longer than aluminum. 5DEV claims 3x as long but I'm a little skeptical of that on a mountain bike where the chain gets dirt in it. Titanium is very strong but blunt.
Not as abrasion resistant and scratches easier than steel.
This at $150, while expensive as far as I’m concerned is pretty good value if you’re looking to replace a (wear quickly) alu ring, with something that’s just as light.
Just because something doesn’t appeal to you, doesn’t mean it doesn’t appeal to others, and isn’t good value for them…
$150 for a ti chainring is never a good value unless you simply love ti, which some people do. A steel chainring is only about 15 grams lighter, vast majority of riders are gonna take that if it's twice as durable. There isn't much appeal here for the price unless you simply love ti.
Semantics I guess.
Yes being marketed as a replacement to alu rings, for those that want, light, blingy, durable.
Does that somehow make you feel better?
Love the feature idea though, @brianpark.
So this is what it feels like when your dreams die.
Username checks out
Sure thing. Ill follow your orders sir.
As I said before,just like the 90s again: Design something cool looking,fire up the CNC machine,sell it for big money and then we'll see how it performs.
@Explodo: you don't typically buy ti parts because they're the cheapest. And when they wear out or break, you can send them to the French countryside to be made into airplane components: www.eib.org/en/stories/titanium-recycling
@chrod: they talk like they're in a literature class
Why on Earth anyone would purchase a heavy titanium ring for $150 beats me!
"This is expensive" is a direct declaration of an opinion as fact. This absolutely equals "this is not cheap" and will illicit flame responses from the comment section.
"This is not inexpensive" is a more limited declaration, avoiding the "expensive" claim, dulling the same opinion and leaving an option open to reader interpretation as "this might be expensive" and implying "... expensive to some but not to others". And Levy doesn't have to clarify to whom and how much.
smooth moves, crafty politics, placated readers, happy sponsors
But hey, that latter category is big enough.
With the relative prices of cassettes and chainrings these days, I'd prefer my chainring to wear at a similar rate to the cassette and not put a new chain/cassette combo on a half-worn ring, accellerating wear.
Love Titanium, and it has it's place, but not on my chainring.
(I did have a Ti framed hardtail, great bike, and that is a proper place for Ti)
You can see a bit of a chamfer on these rings, though it looks about the same size as many existing rings like RaceFace, Wolf Tooth, OneUp, etc, that might not indicate Shimano 12sp compat...
$300+ you say? I wouldn’t have it any other way. Money is no object when it comes to my MTB fantasies. After all, it’s justanotherchainring
Most of the ring manufacturers have HG specific profiles now.
But no one is buying this because of it's value prop.
More silliness from "the industry".
For chains - check
For chainrings - Surly
For cassettes - N/A (if made light enough with SS teeth and Ti body)
Recipe for bomb proof drivetrain, minus the exposed rear mech?
Too bad wear-parts are profitable. Cheers
So with that said, the question is, is a Ti Chainring worth the cost uplift for the weight saved?
For everyone else: just use a steel chainring
XO1 cassettes though...maybe someday I'll need a new one?
3 aluminum chainrings.
Or a $15 steel one.
Neither has my steel coil spring.
Or my steel spokes.
The steel sprockets as they don't wear (much), and then begin stretching your chain, result in much longer wear throughout the entire drivetrain.
And no, it's not the same as just using a low engagement hub.
I swapped in a 32t for myself though.
Only XC boyz ride 34-36t, no climbing just flow
B) A chain-ring that doesn't wear as fast, that maintains its shape for maximum and proper chain contact, will help a chain last longer by spreading the forces through many links at a time.
C) You're probably on a worn ring and worn chain right. A new chain OR ring would probably be loud for a bit as the worn part accelerates wear on the new part.
There is a support group in the pipeline for those of us with addiction to Titanium. Feck...I just broke the first and second rules.......