Several standards exist for chainrings. Depending on how many cogs the bike has on the rear wheel, the lateral spacing between the chainrings will vary. The more cogs in back, generally the closer together the chainrings are spaced, and the width of the chain must be narrower to fit the closer spaced rings. And rings are made to different standards for placement of the attachment bolts that hold the ring onto the crank.
Racing bikes tend to use the highest range of gear ratios. So racing chainrings tend to be the largest used. So crank manufacturers use larger bolt circles for racing cranks than for touring or ATB cranks.
Touring bikes use many components from ATBs or mountain bikes. ATBs used to have cranks with 110mm outer bolt circles. But several years ago they switched to a smaller bolt circle to reduce the size of the rings and improve ground clearance since it's easy to grind a chainring over large rocks and downed trees.
The bolt circle defines the minimum number of teeth that can be had in a chainring. For example, if you look at the 130mm chainrings, you'll see that 38 teeth is the smallest number of teeth available. It's not possible to make a chainring with fewer teeth because the chainring bolts would get in the way. So there's little to be gained by looking around for a 37 or 36 tooth 130mm bolt circle chainring. They don't exist because they can't exist. 33 is the smallest number of teeth for 110mm bolt circle rings. 29 is the smallest for 94mm. 39 is the smallest for Campagnolo's 135mm bolt circle.
I stock replacement chainrings for a wide range of gearing combinations.
The quickest shifting on triple chainring cranks with Shimano's STI shifters can be had only with matched sets of chainrings. For example, the nine speed Shimano Ultegra Triple crankset 6503 comes with three matched rings; 52 - 42 - 30 teeth, and the later ten speed Ultegra 6603 comes with 52 - 39 - 30. The alignment of the teeth and the positions of the steel pins that lift the chain from smaller to larger rings are carefully positioned to make up-shifts as quick and smooth as possible, even under considerable pedaling forces. With a few exceptions, TA chainrings are designed to be used with many different adjacent rings. The TA rings have pins for lifting the chain, but since you can choose from many chainring combinations, the three rings you end up with won't be matched for tooth position or pin position. That makes the shift a bit slower than if you use Shimano's matched chainring sets. But STI shifting still works. You just can't pedal as hard while shifting as you can with Shimano's rings and still get a smooth shift. Don't worry though, they still shift very well. This is only an issue with triple cranksets.
My most popular chainrings are 48 - 38 - 26 and 24 tooth replacements for Shimano's 9 speed Ultegra and 105 triple cranks. This makes for a much better range of gears if you're touring. Most of Shimano's 9 speed cassettes start with a 12 tooth cog, and some start with 11, which is wasted when your largest chainring is 52 teeth and you're carrying a heavy load. Reducing the size of all the chainrings lets you actually use all nine cogs in back. Why have nine speeds if you can't use them all? 48,38,24 shifts very smoothly with the Ultegra 9 speed front derailleur and STI shifters. When you change the size of the outer chainring, you'll need to change the position of the front derailleur. With every tooth reduction, the derailleur needs to be lowered by 2mm.
Lowering all the gearing with a ten speed Ultegra triple crank is not really viable. The reason is the design of the front derailleur. The inner plate of the 6600 series triple FD is lower than the 9 speed version, to accommodate the 39 tooth middle ring on the ten speed crank vs the 42 tooth ring on the 9 speed crank. For the FD to properly control the movement of the chain from ring to ring, the sizes of the two outer rings must match the derailleur's shape. The relative size of the inner ring on a triple is less critical than the relative sizes of the middle and outer rings. So you could reduce the 52 - 39 - 30 to 51 - 38 - 29 and everything would work, but that's a bit silly. It's not enough of a change to warrant the expense of changing.
For chainrings compatible with Shimano road triple cranksets, like Dura Ace, Ultegra, 105 and Tiagra, scroll down to the TA Alize 130mm rings for the middle and outer positions. Then scroll to the TA Zelito 74mm rings for the inner (triple) position.
If you are using STI, you'll need to use a Shimano derailleur specifically designed for STI. The Ultegra Triple FD and the IRD Alpine clone of the Ultegra are designed for a 10 tooth difference between the outer and middle chainring. They're more flexible about the difference between the middle and inner ring. The Dura Ace 9 speed Triple FD is designed for a 14 tooth difference between the outer and middle ring. I get frequent requests for 38 tooth rings to replace the middle 42 tooth ring on the Ultegra Triple crank. But the shifting will be very poor if you do that. If you want a 38 in the middle, either change the outer to a 48, or change the FD to a Dura Ace Triple.
For best shifting without STI, I recommend the Shimano XT front derailleur. It works best with a 12 tooth difference between the outer and middle ring on a triple to shift well. But the XT isn't compatible with STI road shifters. Use it with bar end or down tube shifters instead.
TA chainrings also have a few advantages. There's a huge selection available. Who else makes chainrings in one tooth increments? So you can get the gearing you want, rather than what Shimano thinks you should have. And TA rings are more durable than most Shimano chainrings, so they will cost you less to use in the long run. Only Shimano's Dura Ace and XTR chainrings are as durable as TA. And they cost much more.
TA makes no matched sets, but their chainrings for double chainring cranks work so similarly too original equipment Shimano of Campy rings that you would never suspect they weren't original. See the Hegoa, Syrius, Nerius, Nerius 11, Horus and Horus 11 chainrings below.
Modern chainrings are designed to be used either in the outer position, the inner position of a double, the middle position of a triple, or the inner position of a triple. Attemps to use a chainring in a position for which it was not designed are doomed to fail. Some people are desparate to make outer position rings work in the middle position of triple cranks, because chainring manufacturers don't make large enough middle position rings for the screwball half-step gearing some people are determined to use. Outer chainrings don't work in the middle position of a triple crankset.
Shimano and Sugino tend to set the standards for chainring spacing. Unfortunately, they set different standards. For example, the inner chainring position of a Sugino triple crankset, the "triple" position, the location of the ring itself on the spider, is further inboard than on a comparable Shimano crankset. Sugino doesn't use loose spacers for mounting the inner triple rings on all of their cranks. They often have the inner ring mounted to a stud that's a part of the forged crank itself. Shimano often uses these studs too, but they are shorter. So the base of the chainring is further to the outside on a Shimano crank than on a Sugino. If you use Shimano rings on Shimano cranks,and Sugino on Sugino, it's no problem since each company positions the teeth on the chainring to accommodate this difference in the cranks. So, if you look at a Sugino middle position ring, the teeth will be roughly centered on the ring, and the Shimano teeth will be offset to the outside.
TA rings with Shimano compatible bolt circles are designed to work with Shimano cranks. The offset of TA chainrings are the same as Shimano's offset. So if you try using a TA ring with a Sugino crank, the inner ring on a triple ends up spaced further from the middle ring than it should. If you're running six speeds in back with a wide chain, you may be able to make it work by adding a spacer between the middle ring and the spider; I don't know for sure though. I intend to someday see how wide a chain has to be in order to allow TA rings to work well on these Sugino cranks. But for sure a 9 speed chain isn't recommended. Either the middle and outer ring are too far apart or the middle and inner ring are too far apart, depending on whether or not you place a spacer between the spider and the middle ring.
Lastly, we do not special order chainrings from TA. If you don't see it listed, we don't have it and can't get it. We can get most Shimano and Campy rings that are in current production.
I personally do very little work as a bike mechanic these days. And since the introduction of 10 speed drive trains, I have done little customization of drive trains on bikes. The 9 speed stuff I can speak intelligently about based on many years of experience modifying these drive trains, but not 10 or 11 speed. So if you want to do something different with a 10 or 11 speed Shimano drivetrain, I can't give you much advice. You're on your own.
Chainrings are primarily categorized by their bolt circle. The bolt circle in the circle defined by the positions of the chainring bolts that attach the chainring(s) to the crank spider. The most common pattern is a circle of five chainring bolts. The center points of those five bolts define a circle, and the diameter of that circle, measured in milimeters is the bolt circle of the chainring, as well as the crank spider it fits. With an odd number of bolts, it can be difficult to directly measure the bolt circle. For a five bolt chainring, measure the distance between the centers of two adjacent bolts, and then multiply by 1.7. That will get you within a milimeter or so of the correct bolt circle. So you don't have to make an extremely precise measurement to know what the bolt circle is.
Specialites TA Zephyr
Prior to 2002, I bought TA rings directly from the factory in France. Since then, I have had to buy these chainrings from TA's US distributor. That is my only source, so I am limited to what the distributor has in stock, or can special order for me. TA has a website on which they describe their latest chainrings. Those descriptions apply to rings that TA is making at whatever point in time you look at their website. But TA only manufactures chainrings to order, they keep no inventory. So if the US distributor hasn't ordered and received chainrings as described on the TA website, I won't have them either. I could have chainrings as had been described at some time in the past on the TA website. If you want detailed information about any particular chainring that we have in stock, the best way to get it is to come by the shop and inspect each ring in person.
TA 110mm bolt circle chainrings for many touring cranksets and 1980s & 90s mountain bike cranksets.
Outer Position 110 (silver finish)
Outer position chainrings can be used in both double and triple configurations. These chainrings are supplied as stock with the TA Zephyr triple cranksets, and TA Carmina cranksets when fitted with the 110mm spider. They also fit many other cranks from Shimano, Sugino, White Industries, Race Face, etc.
Most of these rings are now Campy 10 speed compatible. That doesn't mean they can be mounted on current compact Campagnolo cranks. They will fit on certain Campy cranks made for mountain bikes back in the early 1990s. For current Campy compact cranks, see the Nerius rings, below.
Middle Position 110 (silver finish)
Middle position chainrings can be used in both double and triple configurations. But of course the pins are not needed for doubles.
74mm bolt circle inner chainrings for triple cranksets
Aluminum 74mm (silver finish)
Only TA makes inner chainrings in odd tooth counts; 29 and 25 teeth. 27 teeeth are no longer made. These work on TA Zephyr, Alize and the new Carmina cranksets, as well as all Shimano road triple and Campagnolo triple cranksets. They also fit old Shimano Deore XT and LX cranksets and any cranksets which use 110mm middle and outer chainrings. That includes Ritchey, White Industries, Race Face, Sugino, SR, Dimension and FSA.
Most of these rings are now Campy 10 speed compatible.
Aluminum 74 (black finish)
Stainless Steel 74
TA 56mm Bolt Circle
Stainless Steel. These fit the alternative inner bolt circle on the Zephyr crank. They also fit many older Suntour MTB cranks.
110mm double chainrings for all 110mm double cranksets
Syrius chainrings provide ultra smooth shifting for 110mm bolt circle cranks, such as the TA Zephyr and Carmina cranks with 110mm spider attached. They are standard equipment with the Zephyr Light and Carmina Light 110 crankset. Mix and match between 50, 48 and 46 outer rings, and 36 and 34 inner rings. The rings are sold individually. These are only for use as double chainring sets. While they could be used on a triple, the 34 and 36 lack pick-up pins for shifting from the inner ring to the middle. (black finish only) All are now Campy 10 speed compatible.
TA Nerius & Nerius 11
110mm? double chainrings for Campagnolo Compact sorta kinda but not quite really 110mm double cranksets
Campagnolo and Shimano are competing to see which can be the most annoying bicycle parts manufacturer. The 110mm bolt circle makes it possible to have sensible gearing on a road bike with today's ridiculously high geared cassettes. 11 teeth? What's that all about? Who even uses 12? But when Campy decided to offer a compact double crank recently, and chose the 110mm bolt circle, they offset one of the chainring bolts, making their crank incompatible with any of the 110mm chainrings on the market. Well, again, TA comes to the rescue.
Nerius chainrings are like the Syrius rings, but have the offset bolt hole to fit Campagnolo's compact cranks. Mix and match between 52, 50, 49 and 48 tooth outer rings, and 39, 38, 36 and 34 inner rings. The rings are sold individually. These are only for use as double chainring sets. (silver finish only) Nerius are Campy 8, 9 and 10 speed compatible. Nerius 11 are compatible with Campagnolo 11 speed gearing. All Nerius 11 chainrings are anodized grey.
These sizes are the only sizes TA makes for the Nerius series rings.
130mm chainrings for Shimano racing double cranksets and TA Alize and Carmina cranksets
TA's Hegoa chainrings replace the stock rings on Shimano racing cranksets. The teeth and pins are precisely aligned to give the most precise shifting with Shimano STI indexed shifters. Shimano's Dura Ace chainrings are also precisely matched and give great shifting. But they only make a few sizes. They are not suitable for use in triple cranks, only doubles. The sizes listed below are the only sizes available.
These rings are all 9 and 10 speed compatible.
TA Horus & Horus 11
135mm chainrings for Campagnolo racing double cranksets
TA's Horus chainrings are the same as Hegoa, but have the 135mm bolt circle needed for Campagnolo compatibility. The sizes listed below are the only sizes available.
Horus rings are all Campy 9 & 10 speed compatible. Horus 11 rings are compatible with Campagnolo 11 speed drive trains.
130mm Bolt Circle Chainrings for TA Alize doubles and triples, Shimano road doubles and triples, and TA Carmina when fitted with a 130mm spider
These fit Dura Ace, Ultegra, 105 cranks from Shimano, TA Alize and TA Carmina cranks. All rings have pins for STI shifting compatibility. The most popular chainrings in this series are 48 tooth outer and 38 tooth middle. People use these to replace the 52 and 42 tooth rings on Shimano Ultegra Triple cranks. TA is the only company I know of making chainrings smaller than 42 teeth for the middle position on the Ultegra Triple crank. This allows you to reduce the gear ratios with Ultegra groups and not sacrifice good STI shifting. You can replace the 30 tooth inner ring with a 24, 25 or 26 tooth TA (above) to complete the conversion.
Most of these rings are now Campy 10 speed compatible.
Outer Position 130mm (silver finish)
Middle Position 130mm (silver finish)
Outer Position 130mm (black finish)
Middle Position 130mm (black finish)
135mm Bolt Circle Chainrings for Campagnolo
These fit current Campagnolo double and road triple cranks. The middle position rings also work in the inner position on a double crank. 39 teeth is the smallest that will fit on the 135mm bolt circle. Most work for 8, 9 and 10 speed drive trains. If you have a 10 speed drive train, be sure to ask for 10 speed compatible rings. We still have some rings that are 9 speed compatible but not 10 speed compatible. The difference is in the thickness of the teeth.
The inner chainring on the Campy Racing Triple has a 74mm bolt circle. So you can lower the overall gearing on a Racing Triple crank by using the 49-39 outer and middle rings with a 26 or 27 tooth inner ring. See the 74mm rings above.
Most of these rings are now Campy 10 speed compatible.
Outer Position 135 (silver finish)
Middle Position 135 (silver finish)
144mm bolt circle chainrings for old Campagnolo
To fit Campagnolo Super Record and Nuovo Record cranks
TA used to make a tripleizer chainring for this bolt circle but no longer. And we have no more.
TA Track 130mm 1/8" width
These cannot be used with derailleur chains. They must be used with wider 1/8" chains, which are more durable. See my fixed gear page for more on compatible chains, rear cogs, hubs and cranksets.
TA 94mm bolt circle rings
These fit TA Carmina when fitted with 94mm spider and many other mountain bike cranks
Triple Conversion Chainrings
What if you have a racing crankset, like a Dura Ace, Ultegra, or Campagnolo Chorus or Record, and you decide that what you really need is a triple? TA makes special chainrings that replace the inner ring of your double chainring crank, and provide a mounting point for a third, inner chainring with a standard 74mm bolt circle. This is the design that Shimano copied for their new Dura Ace triple crank. These conversion rings are only made in standard polished silver finish. 130mm and 135mm rings are pinned to shift smoothly with STI and Ergo shifters. 144mm rings for the older Nuovo Record and Super Record Campagnolo cranks are not pinned.
To use one, you'll need a 74mm bolt circle ring for the inner or "granny" chainring, a longer bottom bracket axle, a longer chain, a triple type front derailleur, and a long cage rear derailleur.
Return to: TA Zephyr cranksets page
Return to: TA Alize cranksets page
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This page updated: Monday, December 15, 2014
Peter White Cycles