08 October 2014

Cat's Cradle--Or Chainring

I promised myself not to make every other post about chainrings with elegant or unusual designs.  And I'm keeping my promise:  I've written three other posts since the one about the Liberia chainring.

So I don't feel guilty about writing another post about a sprocket, especially this one:

 Solida Cats 44t - Fine

Its maker, Bespoke Chainrings of Australia, is producing this ring based on the design of one made by French manufacturer Solida around 1910.  

If you bought an entry- (or even mid-) level Peugeot, Motobecane, Gitane or other French cycle during the '70's Bike Boom, there's a good chance it had a Solida cottered crankset.  Some later bikes came with low-priced Solida melt-forged cotterless cranksets; apparently, Solida never made a high-quality forged cotterless crankset. However, at the time the original "cat" chainring was produced, Solida had a reputation that reflected its name: They were solid and sturdy, if not as light or refined as their counterparts from makers like Stronglight, Specialites TA or even Zeus or Nervar.  

That chainring certainly is charming and a temptation.  For now, Bespoke is making it only to fit cranksets with the 50.4mm bolt circle diameter.  Those cranks include the Specialites TA Pro-5-Vis (a.k.a. Cyclo Touriste) and Stronglight 49D, as well as other vintage models from Sugino and Nervar--and, of course, modern near-replicas from Velo Orange.

However, I'm not about to spring for another crankset.  Bespoke plans to make chainrings for cranks with other bolt patterns, including 110 and 130 mm.  If they can  replicate the cat pattern in 110, I'd go for it!

They also make "drillium" chainrings that mimic the ones of the '70's and early '80's and replacement dust caps for vintage Stronglight cranksets.  The rings are made to be used with multiple as well as single gears.