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Race Face Era Chainring Blends Carbon, Alloy & Steel to Last Forever

race face era carbon and steel chainring on a bike
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OK, maybe not actually forever, but the new Race Face Era chainring has 5x the claimed life of typical alloy chainrings, and it’s just as light.

The design blends stainless steel chainring teeth with a carbon fiber spider and alloy spindle interface. Here’s how it comes together…

closeup details of race face era chainring

Race Face has been making machined alloy chainrings for about as long as they’ve been making direct-mount cranksets. But they know that steel chainrings last longer, they’re just heavy. Alloy chainrings are a lot lighter, but don’t last as long.

So, how do have both durability and light weight? Add carbon fiber, of course.

closeup details of race face era chainring

The new Era chainring is basically three parts – teeth, spider, and mounting interface.

The chainring teeth are stainless steel, which are incredibly hard. Race Face says their hardness measures 1300 MPa (Mega Pascals), versus 475 MPa for alloy. That means they’re more durable, less prone to wear, and will last about five times longer. (Titanium is 900 MPa, FYI)

The steel tooth ring has extra shaping on the inner side, giving it plenty of spiky surface area captured in the cargon. This proprietary construction method and “adhesion improving” additives prevent it from separating.

In fact, they claim it can handle about the same torque as a Cummins diesel engine, which is way more than you or I will ever produce. And the unit has the same impact strength as aluminum chainrings.

race face era chainring on a black background

Still not convinced? In their fatigue tests, standard 12-speed chainrings from the two biggest drivetrain brands failed in 400,000 cycles or less. The Era chainring testing was stopped at 2.1 million cycles because it wasn’t showing any signs of failure. In all, it’s enough for them to give the Era chainring a lifetime guarantee against damage.

The alloy center piece is a direct mount interface for Race Face CINCH cranksets. For now, they’ll only offer this version – there are no immediate plans to offer chainrings to fit SRAM or Shimano cranksets.

But, they are compatible with SRAM and Shimano chains. Like other brands, they offer two distinct tooth profiles, one for Shimano 12sp mountain bike chains, and one for “other” 11/12sp chains (including SRAM FlatTop).

It’s available with 52mm and 55mm chain line offsets. And it’s compatible with most if not all chain guides.

MSRP is $150, about twice the cost of alloy, but with a much longer lifespan. Claimed weight is 83g (32T), and it’s available in 30/32/34 tooth counts.

Want a full matching bike? Check out the new Race Face Era handlebar and mountain bike wheels, too.

RaceFace.com

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carbonfodder
carbonfodder
1 month ago

I’d be willing to bet that at least some of the “adhesion improving additives” are mechanical (i.e. wave forms or bumps or some other non-linear bits that increase (crank DM) or decrease (teeth) the radius) of the metal parts. These would increase adhesion surface area and add obstacles to unintended separation / rotation. Armchair engineering says epoxy alone won’t be enough to hold the various components together. Very cool implementation however they did it though.

Mike
1 month ago
Reply to  carbonfodder

Usually when You bond 2 materials together You add some “anchors” in between to lessen the stress and tension in the bonding agent.

And I’m looking forward to buying one of these chainrings, since wide teeth in N-W chainrings get eaten away superbly fast by Sram chains.

FritzP
FritzP
1 month ago
Reply to  carbonfodder

The article says as much: “The steel tooth ring has extra shaping on the inner side, giving it plenty of spiky surface area captured in the cargon.”

Alex V
Alex V
1 month ago

I can tell real engineers worked on this product because they used megapascals as a unit of material hardness without mentioning what test or scale was used.

Bumscag
Bumscag
1 month ago
Reply to  Alex V

Also kind of funny they didn’t mention any of the specific alloys. Not all aluminum is 475 MPa and heat treated grade 5 Ti is 1500-ish MPa IIRC.

MIke
MIke
1 month ago
Reply to  Alex V
MIke
MIke
1 month ago

Hardness measurements are usually in Rockwell scale or Brinell scale. MPa (Megapascal) is referring to strength, although it’s not wrong that generally, higher strength equals higher hardness.

E x
E x
1 month ago

More expensive and heavier than alternatives.

Carbonspoke
Carbonspoke
1 month ago

Typo: “giving it plenty of spiky surface area captured in the cargon”

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