Friday, February 16, 2007

The price of a chainring in Tucson (or why I am no longer a weight-weenie)

Do you know the price of bicycle chainrings nowadays?

I needed a replacement chainring.

The teeth on my big Specialites TA chainring were worn down and the chain was falling off when I was using the larger cogs on the back much more easily than before. I figured it was overdue for replacement.
Plus, I'd already lost some skin and blood on a couple of occasions when the chain slipped when I stood up to attack a few sharp rises on the road.

So today, I went into the LBS (Local Bike Shop) here at the university. A really cool place btw. They seem to stock all kinds of goodies that your LBS might not have.

I asked for a 50T in 110mm bcd (compact).

Guy reaches into the glass case and bring out a very high-tech carbon fiber/titanium chainring in the size I was asking for. $250.

Then the guy said he may have a Stronglight in the back. I followed him there.

They had a Fiber Lyte 50T (wholly made of carbon fiber) for $150. As a weight-weenie, I admired that for a little while. Ai ya ya, it was so light.

And a Specialites TA Zephyr (aluminum) for $70 - pictured above - and a Specialites TA Syrius (aluminum) for $100.

I asked what the difference between the two Specialites TAs were. He said probably some weight, and offered to weigh them for me.

I declined and said I'd take the Zephyr. I think I passed an important test.

I can certify that I am a recovered weight-weenie. Back in another life, say New Jersey circa. 4 years ago, I would have bought the Fiber Lyte carbon chainring. (I'm not saying I wasn't tempted here.) And probably weighed the whole damn lot to find the lightest.

Now, I truly don't care to know.


  1. $70 for a chainring that cost 25 on ebay?
    Thats why LBS is BS.

  2. Hey now,

    If we all stop buying from local bike shops, after a while there won't be any LBS. Then what do we do when we need a part... repairs... advice... a place to test ride that new machine.. a cool place to hang out, etc....

  3. So you're not suggesting that we should only buy from the LBS, right?

    Don't know if the ebay ring was new or used, but the prices listed for the chainrings are nuts. So is the cost of most everything in places like Colorado Cyclist (among others), so it's not just the LBS.

    This sport has gotten absolutely ridiculous in its pricing. And it won't get any better either until riders get a grip on themselves and their credit cards.

    But hey, who am I?

  4. Well, those prices listed are at least 20% higher than any online source (including online sellers with a bricks-and-mortar store). No need to stop buying from LBSs, but LBSs have to get with the times and do a little research when pricing. Your LBS apparently thinks you are a sucker, and by buying stuff without question, you might be.

  5. Exactly, like my LBS charging $28 more for the Nitto B125s, and $40 higher than my best online find.

    But who else can actually look at my bike while I'm asking questions about everything? I'll go there for some things, eBay for others, google search the rest.