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