MXA TEAM TESTED: DIRT TRICKS IRONMAN STEEL SPROCKETS

January 1, 2011
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WHAT IS IT? The Ironman is a minimalist steel sprocket that weighs less than competing steel sprockets but still offers the benefits of steel over aluminum.


WHAT’S IT COST? $109.00 (rear sprocket), $37.00 (countershaft sprocket), $8.95 (sprocket bolts).


CONTACT? www.dirttricks.com or (775) 267-6361.

WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with Dirt Tricks’ Ironman rear sprocket.


(1) The problem. If you ride a lot, you will eat the standard-issue aluminum sprocket on your bike in short order. This is not an opinion; it is a basic fact that a steel chain lubricated with dirt will grind aluminum down?even if it is hard-coated.


(2) Steel sprockets. Dirt Tricks’ sprockets are made of heat-treated, nickel/chrome-plated chromoly steel that is 2.5 times stronger than stainless steel, three times stronger than 7075 aluminum and heat-treated to the hardness of a Snap-On wrench.


(3) Weight. Our 53-tooth Dirt Tricks sprocket weighed 22 ounces (1 pound 6 ounces). A comparable steel sprocket weighs 36 ounces, and a hybrid sprocket (aluminum inner with a steel outer) weighs 25 ounces. The only steel sprocket close to the Dirt Tricks sprocket in weight is the Sunstar Works Z stamped-steel sprocket?but it is still heavier. Because of its triangulated design, the Dirt Tricks sprocket can easily claim to be lighter than any other comparable steel sprocket. It is, however, 9 ounces heavier than a Renthal aluminum sprocket.


(4) Wear. Ty Davis turned the MXA wrecking crew on to Dirt Tricks Ironman sprockets when we tested Bobby Bonds’ Husky TC449. Ty swears by the durability of the Dirt Tricks sprockets for his WORCS team. Dirt Tricks offers a one-year warranty against wear in excess of 0.6mm on the teeth.


(5) Sprocket bolts. Dirt Tricks also sells a set of six class-10.9, silver-zinc-plated, steel sprocket bolts with factory-style metal-locking or “Fuji” nuts. Each bolt has medium-strength thread-lock patches already applied for a double lock. MXA recommends using new sprocket bolts when you change sprockets, so you will need these.


WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? We have three issues: (1) The price. At $109, the Ironman sprocket costs twice as much as a high-end aluminum sprocket. Luckily, the Ironman sprocket will last more than three times longer and make your chain last longer too. (2) Weight. It weighs a half pound more than an aluminum sprocket. That is unsprung weight that offers no performance value. (3) Chain tension. It is imperative that you have your chain properly adjusted, because if a steel sprocket does break, the hub will also.

For the right person, this is a five-star product. The Ironman’s extra durability means it is heavier than an aluminum sprocket, and the extra weight cost it a star. If durability is more important to you than unsprung weight, the star is reinstated.

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