33 Tooth Chainrings
Sometimes the only way to solve a gearing problem is to find an odd chainring size. Of the sizes commonly needed but almost completely unavailable it the 33 tooth chainring.
The Worst Option
The Surley Stainless Steel Chainring is about the worst way to solve this problem. While Surly does make a decent selection of chainrings, stainless steel has no place as a chainring material on a high performance bicycle. It would be nice on the old Schwinn that I ride to get groceries, but that is an archaic situation. If professional downhill racers, BMX street & vert riders or Tour of France riders all use aluminum chainrings, I'm sure that some sissy farting around on a single speed MTB should use aluminium too.
They are too heavy, overkill, and just plain silly. Who thinks this crap up? Surly does. Most of the product designed by Surly suffer from such poor engineering on the side of overbuilt that it is almost comical. I understand that cheap parts arn't ever the lightest, but they can be engineered to keep weight at bay. I'll admit that their cassette cogs are nice for the price, but they could weigh far less for no increase in cost or reduction in durability. That would involve good engineering, though, not Surly's forte.
Surly does have a following, though, that seems to have no understanding of what is so sad about their chosen god. A god the likes dancing in concrete shoes.
The Best Option
After hearing rumours online about an aluminum 4-bolt 33t chain ring made by Truvativ, but not able to find it listed in any catalog, I called them directly. They listened, they checked, "No, we don't make that." was the answer.
Pissed, 'cause I really needed this for a setup that I was doing, I talked to Brian Herman at Fairfax Cyclery. I told him what I needed, and the rumour, but not that Truvativ said they didn't make it. Brian called me later that day, "Sorry dude. No can do, they don't make it. I'll keep looking."
Ok. So it was true, they didn't make the ring, right? Wrong. An hour or so later, Truvativ called Brian back and said that they did in fact make the ring and steered him as to who had it.