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Guide to Bicycle Chainrings

Bicycle Chainring : What is it?

Bicycle Chainrings

Bicycle chainrings transferr energy from the pedals to the wheels at a fixed pace, allowing the user to control the bicycle's speed. Chainrings have 20 to 60 teeth around the edges, which fit into the gaps between the links of the bicycle chain. Chainrings for multi-gear bicycles have one or more smaller sprockets.

Bicycle chainrings are located at the front wheel of the bicycle, fitted around a spoked part called a spider. Bolts or screws fasten the chainring to the wheel for security. The spider is connected to a crank holding the pedals, so that each turn on the pedal turns the spider and chainring as well. The spokes pull the chain along as the chainring turns, supplying energy to the drive-wheel and propelling the bicycle.

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Types of Bicycle Chainrings

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Kinds of Bicycle Chainrings include the following:

Types by design

Classic bicycle chainrings

Classic chainrings consist of a single ring with an empty middle. Four bolt holes are attached to the rim, facing inward, for fixing the chainring to the wheel. They work best for light bicycles.

Spoked bicycle chainrings

Spoked chainrings have inner and outer rings, which are connected by four or five spokes. They spokes are usually shaped to fit over the spider. They add a great deal of strength to the bike, but the wrong fit can significantly slow down the pedaling.

Disc bicycle chainrings

Disc chainrings have a solid construction, with only a small hole at the center for fitting over the spider. They can also serve as splash guards for the front wheel. They are the sturdiest design available, although they are not suited for racing bicycles because the strong pedaling can cause the discs to crack.

Types by material

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Aluminum bicycle chainrings

Aluminum chainrings are the cheapest in the market. Different grades of aluminum can be used. Low-end chainrings are made of heavy, unpolished aluminum, while some professional quality models use aluminum and carbon fiber blends. They are fairly durable, but may not with stand high impacts from collisions. They are lighter than steel chainrings and cheaper than titanium, making them ideal for beginner and recreational bicycles.

Steel bicycle chainrings

Steel chainrings are made of high-carbon steel, which makes them lighter and tougher. They are used in most midrange professional and racing bicycles. They are heavier than aluminum and titanium chainrings, which makes them tougher against impact but more difficult to pedal. They are ideal for large bicycles, such as mountain bikes, which can better handle their weight.

Titanium bicycle chainrings

Titanium chainrings are extremely lightweight and durable. Titanium lighter than steel and slightly heavier than aluminum, but because of its high density, less material is needed to produce a chainring, which makes titanium chainrings the significantly lighter than the other two types. They allow fast and easy pedaling, and can be used on all types of bicycles. However, they are usually reserved for high-end bicycles since they cost considerably more than steel and aluminum.

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Choosing Bicycle Chainrings (Buying tips)

Size. Make sure your chainring is the right size for your chain. Standard road chainrings are 130 millimeters in diameter, and will fit into traditional 57-link chains. Also check the size of the teeth. They should fit over the chain so that it rests slightly above the base of the teeth.

Thickness. Choose a chainring with the right thickness for your type of use. A good standard for all types is three millimeters. For racing bicycles, thicker chainrings are a must because of the fast pedaling. Children's and recreational bicycles will do with thinner chainrings.

Weight. Choose a chainring that is light but durable. The weight of the chainring must be proportional to the weight of the bicycle, especially with lighter models. A heavy chainring can put too much strain on a small bicycle and cause cracking on the pedals, crank, and other parts around the front wheel. On the other hand, a light chainring may not withstand the pedaling force of heavy bicycles,

Spoke design. If you are looking into spoked chainrings, choose one with simple, straight spokes. You will find several spoke designs in the market, such as curved, off-center, uneven, and half spokes. These designs, however, are mostly for aesthetic purposes and may affect the performance of your chainring.

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