BETD’s Guide to Chain Rings


Is your chain ring broken or are you simply on the market for a new one? If you’re shopping around, our newest blog post contains a few pointers that could help.

What is a chain ring?

A chain ring is what drives the chain or belt – such as the Gates drive – from the crank to the rear wheel. Middleburn offer chain rings from singles like the UNO and MONO, the doubles such as DUO, to the ever green triple sets as seen on older mountain bikes, road bikes, touring bikes and tandems.

The chain ring either bolts directly to the crank like the UNO fit chain rings or to what is called a ‘Spider’, due to the legs or mounting positions for the chain ring itself.

Our Middleburn spiders can be identified by the amount of chain rings it can take – the X1 being for a single ring, or a double being the X2 and finally the triple being X3.

What types of chain ring are there?

Chain rings come in various tooth patterns and spider fitting. The tooth pattern being identified by such listings as 32t or 40t, with “t” being the actual amount of teeth on the chain ring. It’s important to also consider the number of speeds your bike uses as some chain rings cannot work with chains designed for say 12 speed chains etc. Make sure to check first what you’re using!

Middleburn chain rings are available in various finishes from our standard Silver or Black or Hard Coat to some types of ring being available in Red, Blue or Gold. Due to the decline in popularity of the latter colours we will be sticking to the Silver, Black and Hard Coat in the future, especially the Hard Coat due to its very long life and durability.

What is Thick/Thin or Narrow/Wide?

This is a profile of tooth that is found on mountain bikes and lately on cross bikes, where the tooth profile is machined in a way that some teeth are thicker than others allowing the chain to “stick” to the chain ring on a single ring set up,  doing away with a chain guide.

The profile allows the chain to work across the rear sprockets (cassette) from the largest cog to the smallest, with the chain staying safely on the front chain ring. It gives the bike cleaner looking lines, removes a small amount of weight and saves expense from buying a chain guide. They do work very well but, if you do need total and utter reliability, then a chain guide will give that (especially if you’re racing on some very sketchy terrain!).

What fitting do I need?

Chain rings come in various fits, such as the amount of bolt holes on them. Some such as our UNO chain rings are a direct mount onto the cranks, thus doing away with a spider. Our UNO rings are available for both the Square Taper RS7 cranks to our X Type RS8 which use the standard 24mm Hollow Tech 2 bearing system.
You will also see sizes such as 104mm or 94mm and these are the “Bolt Circle Diameter” required to fit on the spiders. Middleburn make rings to fit sizes 58mm, 64mm, 74mm, 94mm, 104mm, 110mm, 130mm and some 135mm Campagnola sizes. The 58, 64 and 74 sizes are for Inner fitting chain rings and the rest being used for Middle and Outer sizes depending upon the type of bike.

The common mountain bike spider/ring bolt pattern is the 104/64 and road is 110/74. Newer “compact” sizes such as 94 DBL (Double) are becoming much more popular as they are compact but still have a good range of teeth to allow efficient pedalling. Middleburn offer the Compact Road in the 94 size along with 110 too using 11 speed chain rings.

Hopefully this guide has made it a little bit easier when shopping around for chain rings. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us!