It took a while to chase down the part, but we did and I have the "bolts" and "Nuts" in hand now. In fact, I just got them home last night and have not installed them as of yet, but they should resolve the aesthetic complaints I had with the 46T ring swap with the original 52 tooth ring. I definitely am still flabbergasted and dismayed at how much this aluminum and composite composition costs though. It's a flat out crime for a set of fasteners.
|Eight bits of metal and composite material.|
Wait for it..........
Yes, really. Now- I will disclose that as a shop mechanic, I got a discount on these parts, and I paid with my own money for these.
That said, this is what my Dad would describe as "highway robbery". It's incredible, and I just don't see where you get $241.00 of value here. I probably should just leave those old style "ugly" steel chain ring bolts on there in protest! Oh well, I decided to do it "the right way", but I am going to have a real hard time justifying this in the end, and on a rig that probably will eat that ring up by this time next year, given the amount of dust it will see.
So here's what I see as being really wrong here:
- The chain ring isn't all that special. It has some machining, and Shimano's typical ramps and pins, but really- the MSRP on this ring alone is $190.00. That's price gouging, and when you check on-line, you'll see similar, but older series Shimano rings, running for way less than $100.00 MSRP, not to mention how much they are discounted now.
- The "beauty bits" that make up the four chain ring fasteners should be included with the 46T chain ring! The fact that they are not is not only outlandish, but shows Shimano's lack of detail in marketing and lack of concern for how their products are perceived by end users. I mean, I could just leave the ring as is without the proper bits, and have it remain very ugly, instead of a complete looking product that is still ugly. Not having the chain ring fasteners be sold along with the chain ring just smacks of more aggressive marketing without concern for value.
- The original 52 tooth ring for this crank is a marvel of technology. It has this aluminum "skin" over a composite core and the female part of the fasteners are embedded right into that ring. Had the new, 46T ring been the same way and cost $241.00, I could have forgiven the price. Well, more so than for what I have here, which is an imposter of the 52T ring's "better" technology. While it will look the same, it ain't the same!
- I'll not just complain, but I'll offer this solution for Shimano: Obviously, the bits for the fasteners need to be sold with the chain ring, not as a separate product. Next, this product, at best, is a $60.00 ring with the bolts and nuts. Finally, do we really need a crank that integrates the chain rings into the arms?