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What does the letter after the number on chainring size mean? My bike's tech specs from Specialized website say.

CRANKSET Custom Shimano Hollowtech, Octalink XT Spline

CHAINRINGS 44Ax32Sx22S, 4 bolt 104/64mm pattern, Steel chainring bolts

The bike is an '04 Stumpjumper FSR. Does the letter just mean A for aluminum or S for Steel? T for titanium? Is replacing just a single chainring possible as long as it matches the 4 bolt 104/64mm pattern? I think I just need the middle, maybe the granny too. I'm getting major chain skipping (and therefore bruised knees) when I hammer hard. I'm pretty sure the chainrings are the culprit since the cassette and chain are new and the chainrings are still OEM. I did find a stiff chain link at first, but even after remedying that I get major skip and it seems to be getting worse. I just cleaned and relubed the drivetrain and still have the problem. Mostly in middle ring. Is it best to stick with Shimano to match the rest of the drivetrain or is mixing and matching component brands OK?
 

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ewarnerusa said:
What does the letter after the number on chainring size mean? My bike's tech specs from Specialized website say.

CRANKSET Custom Shimano Hollowtech, Octalink XT Spline

CHAINRINGS 44Ax32Sx22S, 4 bolt 104/64mm pattern, Steel chainring bolts

The bike is an '04 Stumpjumper FSR. Does the letter just mean A for aluminum or S for Steel? T for titanium? Is replacing just a single chainring possible as long as it matches the 4 bolt 104/64mm pattern? I think I just need the middle, maybe the granny too. I'm getting major chain skipping (and therefore bruised knees) when I hammer hard. I'm pretty sure the chainrings are the culprit since the cassette and chain are new and the chainrings are still OEM. I did find a stiff chain link at first, but even after remedying that I get major skip and it seems to be getting worse. I just cleaned and relubed the drivetrain and still have the problem. Mostly in middle ring. Is it best to stick with Shimano to match the rest of the drivetrain or is mixing and matching component brands OK?
You came up with the answer yourself - (A)lloy; (S)teel.
 
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