Best Electric Bike Chainring: Grit Your Teeth

Shopping Guide / Sunday, March 25th, 2018

Your new electric bike comes with many options to consider. One of which is deciding on the best electric bike chainring!

Chainrings are the toothed gears at the front by your cranks. Essentially they determine the tradeoff between power and torque on your bike.

These chainrings are an especially important factor when building your own DIY mid drive electric bike.

Just like your financial advisor, let’s discuss the options and the best path forward for you!

Power vs. Speed

Power vs speed.

Ah, the age old question.

So are you planning on using your ebike on very steep hills? Off road?

Great, you’re going to need lots of power and torque.

Small rotations of the cranks and front chainring should correspond to small movement of the chain.

With lots of power going through the chain, but small movement, you have immense torque.

Enough to get you up even the gnarliest hills you can imagine.

However, you’ll lose some top speed as a result of having higher torque.

Riding on terrain like sand, gravel or snow will dictate a smaller chainring. To ensure you can get enough power on loose or slippery surfaces.

Higher torque is accomplished by reducing the number of teeth on your front chainring.

So something with 32 teeth is going to have much higher power but less speed than a 42 tooth chainring.

Therefore if you want something with a higher top speed, more teeth is better.

You’ll still be able to climb small hills. And of course you’ll be screaming along the flat at top speeds!

52 tooth chainrings are common for higher top speeds. These things will get you going 40mph on the flat – with a suitably fast motor like the BBSHD.

You’ll also need to pay attention to how your chainring will fit to your specific electric bike.

Best Electric Bike Chainring: Chainring and bottom bracket

Fitting Of Your Chainring

To fit your chainring to your electric bike, you’ll need to know what type of connecting screws it has.

If you have a BBSHD, you’ll either need a specific BBSHD type chainring, or a normal chainring with BBSHD adapter.

For ebikes with normal cranks (and a motor on the front or rear wheel) you’ll only need the normal chainring for your bike.

BBSHD adapters look like this and are a really great option if you want to purchase lots of different sized chainrings for your riding.

Then you can simply get 5 bolt chainrings like the FSA Super Road Chainring, or the SRAM Alloy Road Bicycle.

Might need to also grab yourself some chainring bolts, or chainring bolts in red!

Keep in mind the size of the chainring, and ensure it won’t cause a collision with your bike.

Often larger chainrings will hit the chainstay, and cause you massive headaches!

Sometimes you can simply chip out a portion of your chainstay to make the chainring fit. But this can be avoided by ensuring it’ll fit before you order!

Also you need to make sure that the chainring you’re buying has the same Bolt Circle Diameter (BCD). This BBSHD adapter has a 130mm BCD. Meaning that any chainring you put on it must also have a 130mm BCD.

If the BCD’s don’t match, your chainring will not be able to be put on!

Most good chainrings will also come in narrow/wide tooth setups. Meaning one tooth is narrow and the next wide. This helps with chain issues.

Generally it’ll stop (or reduce) chain derailments and keep the chain on even with very out of line chains!

Another great chainring for the BBSHD is the Lekkie Bling Ring HD.

This also has the narrow/wide setup for the teeth, making it super hard for your chain to derail!

Bike sprockets and spokes

Other Important Factors

You also need to make sure you accomodate other factors into your decision.

Things such as how big your ebike wheels are.

If you have small wheels, you’re going to need a larger chainring to accomodate.

If you plan on commuting with the bike, generally you should tend towards a larger chainring. Think 42, 46 or even 52 teeth.

For off road, definitely smaller chainrings are better.

Stay away from anything greater than 38T. I’d be looking for around 36 or 32 teeth. Big hills, big chainring equals big expensive mistake!

These motors (especially mid drive) do not like to be lugged, so don’t accelerate heavily in a high gear. Especially if you have a larger chainring on. Something will definitely blow up!

Best Electric Bike Chainring: Final Thoughts?

A chainring is one of the most important parts of your build.

Especially if you want your motor to last a long time.

Getting yourself a smaller chainring will allow you to pop more wheelies. And attack steeper, scarier hills with ease!

This is at the demise of your top speed.

A larger chainring will do the opposite. You’ll have less instant power and torque, but you’ll enjoy a much higher top speed.

The hills will become scarier too, keep that in mind!

If you need some sweet accessories to go with your new chainring, have a look at the best accessories here!

So grab your chainring, and let’s smash some hills – or speed records!

Spread the word about ebikes:

6 Replies to “Best Electric Bike Chainring: Grit Your Teeth”

  1. I have a 2019 Giant Stance e+ which came with a 36 tooth chainring. when I’m in the highest gear it’s still too easy.I brought bike back to dealer to have larger chainring installed.He called Giant and they told him the bike was designed for that size chainring. Is there any way or any chainring I could use even if manufacturer doesn’t reccomend it?

    1. Hey Bob!

      If you’re trying to go faster, and if you’re able, try a larger chainring to like a 42 tooth if you can fit it in your bike.
      If you want more grunt, give a smaller chainring like a go.

      Even if they “designed” the bike for a 36, another chainring should work just fine! As long as you don’t bog down the motor with a 52 tooth chainring up a steep hill for example.

      Hope this helps!

  2. Hi. I’m running a 1000w with a 52v 13.6H battery. I’m pegging it anything over 18mph with a 42t chainring. I do more flat than off road so looking for more top speed. Any suggestions? Cheers.

    1. Hey David,

      Thanks for checking out my blog!

      For faster speeds, you’ll want a larger chainring – something like a 52T would get you going very fast on the flat, but will not get you up hills easily at all!

  3. I have a class 3 bike with a hub motor, used mainly for flat & commuting. It came with a 44tooth chainring, 7 speed derailleur & 13-28 tooth cassette.
    Will goin to a 52tooth chainring increase my speed (that’s what I want!)

  4. Hi I need some advice on a chain ring for a mid mouted motor. The bike is a Voodoo Bizango with a 73mm BB and 32 tootth single chain ring (it’s a 29er). I’ve been looking at the various motors available and need to make sure about the chain line and the chain ring clearance. If I go for what I have now, i.e. 32 teeth upfront (maybe the bling bring brand), will it sit in exactly the same location as my current chain ring? If I want to go for a larger chain ring will it fit at all as I only have about another 2cm before it hits the chain stay. (However happy with the current speed obtained on the flat with 32 teeth). Does the mount that the ring goes onto exceed the width of the 32 tooth chain ring and therefore will that then not clear the chain stay? Sorry alot of questions but I need to get it right and also know that I am not affecting the chain line to the point that it will cause we issues.

    Many thanks

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