Chainrings are an integral drivetrain component for your bike. Chainrings are fixed to the spider of the crankarm. They can either be welded directly to the spider, or in most cases attached via chainring bolts to the spider arm mounting holes. They engage the bike chain to provide power to the drive wheel. A chainrings design utilises a circular profile of ‘teeth’ that hook into the links of your bike chain. Chainring construction is primarily based around aluminium due to its low weight and high strength properties. They are also made from materials such as steel, titanium and carbon fibre.
Advantages of chainrings
A good quality chainring allows you to be energy efficient when cycling. The materials used in the construction of the chainring are important, as they need to withstand the stresses that result from repeated pedalling. Aluminium and steel are the most popular choices due to the good ratio of strength, weight and cost of the materials. Carbon and titanium are two more unusual materials that can also be used in the production of chainrings.
Many chainrings feature shifting ramps or pins. Shifting ramps/pins help the chain shift from one chainring to another due to the size difference of the chainrings, as this can sometimes be an issue when changing gear. They are usually featured on the middle and outer chainrings on triple chainsets. On standard/compact chainsets it is usually the outer chainring only that has the shifting ramps.
It's time to replace chainrings when the teeth become hooked in appearance and the gear shifting is not as crisp as it should be. When new, the top of teeth are rounded and not a sharp point. Good chain maintenance helps prolong the life of your chainrings.