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2 best ways to determine chainring compatibility with your crank

In this article we’re going to delve into determining the correct chainring compatibility with your crank. If you know what to look for this is a piece of cake.

In my case I decided to swap out the existing Deore XT crankset for a CODA Tarantula crankset for my 1994 Cannondale Super V.

The Deore XT crankset is a triple with 22-32-42 chainrings. The CODA Tarantula however, is a dual 29-44 setup. And although it didn’t look worn, there’s something wrong with my drivetrain.

I have changed both the chain and cassette on this bicycle. And when you renew any part of your drivetrain, but leave an old part in place, like this chainring, you run the risk of the chain slipping.

And, unfortunately, I believe that’s the case here.

Normally, I would replace the entire crank, since buying new parts is usually more expensive than buying an entire used crankset. However, since the CODA cranksets are pretty rare and expensive, this time I decided to swap out this failing chainring.

CODA cranksets are rare, but CODA chainrings are even more rare, so even if I could find a replacement on Ebay, it would probably cost a fortune. Since I didn’t find it anyway, it was up to me to determine what chainring would be compatible with this crank.

Video Tutorial

Riveted Cranks

Not all cranksets have replaceable chainrings. Some low-tier cranks have the chainrings riveted in place. This always kind of baffled me, since you need to replace an entire triple if probably the middle chainring is used up, but that’s the way it is.

I’ve read you can drill them out and replace them with chainring bolts, but you’re probably better of replacing these type of cranksets with one that uses replaceable chainrings in the first place.

Shimano Hollowtech Nexave riveted crank

That being said, I can understand if you still want to perform such an operation for restoration’s sake. And sometimes you’ll want to keep a certain crankset in place from a design perspective.

Chainring Bolts

If the crank has chainring bolts, it means the chainrings can be replaced.

chainring nut wrench

You may need a chainring nut wrench loosen really tight bolts. Or you can make a DIY chainring nut wrench from a coin.

Using crank brand and type to determine chainring compatibility

Clearly not all cranks are the same. In my case the right crank, which holds the chainrings, has 5 points to place the chainring bolts. Most older style triple-cranksets have a five-bolt setup.

One of the easiest ways to determine which chainring is going to be compatible with your crank is to simply type in your brand, type, groupset, and type, added with “chainring”, and possible the amount of teeth you want. You can find the type of the crank located at the back of it.

For example if you search for “Deore XT FC-M770 chainring 32t” you’ll immediately get multiple correct results, since the chainrings are still available.

You can use this same approach to find older chainrings on Ebay or similar online marketplaces.

Using Bolt Circle Diameter (BCD) to determine chainring compatibility

If you can’t find the same type chainring because of its rarity or you’re unwilling to spend the type of money being charged for NOS parts, you’ll need to know the chainring compatibility with your crank.

bolt-to-bolt length (A) and bolt circle diameter (B)

You can do that by measuring the bolt-to-bolt length (A) and use that metric in combination with the number of bolts necessary to tighten the chainring to determine the Bolt Circle Diameter (B).

  • BTB = Bolt-To-Bolt
  • BCB = Bolt Circle Diameter

In my case, with a bolt-to-bolt length of 55,4mm. and 5 mounting points, the BCD for my chainrings needed to be 94mm. You can find your BCD in the chart below.

Chainring BCD Chart

BCD (mm.)Bolt MountsBTB (mm.)Common Application
58534.3Compact MTB triple – inner
64445.3Standard MTB – inner
74543.5Compact Road double/triple – inner
80456.6SRAM MTB double – inner
86374.5FSA 3-bolt
88462.2XTR M985 – inner/outer
92553.3Dura Ace 7800/Ultegra 6700 triple – inner
94555.4Compact MTB triple – middle/outer
102472.1XTR M960 – inner
104473.6Standard MTB – middle/outer
110564.7Compact Road double/triple – middle/outer
110 (Campy) *564.7Campagnolo Compact/CX – inner/outer
120484.9SRAM MTB double – outer
130576.4Standard Road double – inner/outer
135579.5Campagnolo Road – inner/outer
1464103.3XTR M960 – outer