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Chainwheel Archive

Rudge Cycles
Here are three pages of chainwheels and chainrings to see.

Chainwheels  Chainrings   Kalidescope

Update Friday, 11 April 2008
© 2008 bikecult.com

Chainring Archive

Many say chainwheel, some speak of crankwheels, or front sprockets. Others call them stars, plates, and rings.
In French, plateaux;
in Spanish, platos;
in Italian, ingranaggi;
in German, Kettenrader;
in Dutch, kettingbladen.

Chainrings must fit solid with the crank axle, unyielding under the force that pedals the bike: YOU. Chainrings must be as round as humanly possible, close to a perfect circle, Pi, the number 3.14159265...

Crank and Chainring Types:
One-Piece Cranks, or O.P.C., with interchangeable rings
Two-Piece Cranks with fixed and interchangeable rings
Cottered Cranks, with fixed and interchangeable rings
Three-Piece Cranks, standard on touring and racing bikes
Multi-Piece Cranks, includes various formats

Chainrings fit six chain-tooth sizes, measured by length (pitch) and width:
1/2" x 1/8" "sinlge" for track, BMX, cruiser bikes, one-speed, three-speeds, and the rare derailleur bike.
1/2" x 3/32" "shifting" for road, hybrid, mtb bikes, single-speed and 5-, 6-, 7-speed freewheels
1/2" x 5/64" "narrow" for any bike with 9- or 10-speed cassettes
1" x 3/16" "skip tooth" for old-time bikes with inch-pitch sprockets
1/2" x 3/16" "heavy duty" for BMX, Worksman and exercise bikes
10mm X 3mm "micro" for Shimano Dura Ace 10mm chainset

Big Ring Gent c.1900

Ron Kitching of England holding T.A.'s largest 100-tooth and smallest 26-tooth ring.

Chuan Wei's chainring collection shown at Koln bikeshow.

Schwinn Paramount with 57-tooth inch-pitch ring = 114 half-inch teeth.

Flying Boudard Gear (Great Britain)

Vindex spur gear chainless.

Sun Gear multi-speed chainwheel (Great Britain) with chain case and oil bath

Bilis multi-speed of 1924 (France)

Electric City Wheel (USA)

Unknown Clover c.1910 (USA)

Raycycle 40-tooth inch-pitch (USA)

Spaulding tandem with offset crank arms and inch-pitch 24-tooth outer ring and 17-tooth inner ring (USA)

Overman (USA)

Paced Racing chainwheel, 34-tooth inch-pitch, (1899-New York)

Cycles Clement (France)

Prior (USA)

Rudge (Great Britain) of 1910

Eskilstuna (Sweden) sun-sign of 1910

Puch (Austria) Vollscheibe Kettenrader (full-disc chainring) with Jugendstil design of 1910, courtesy of Oldtimer Museum, Austria

Alpha (Austria) with Jugendstil design of 1913

Waffenrad (Austria) with Jugendstil design of 1908

Warrant (Austria) with Jugendstil design of 1910

One-Piece Cranks

O.P.C. cranks are a simple design. The crank axle and crank arms are in one piece. O.P.C. chainrings fit the crank with two holes at the center of the ring, one to fit the axle, the other to fit the right arm. Changing rings requires a bottom bracket overhaul.

Schwinn (USA) "hearts" design

Hiawatha or Cleveland Welding (USA)

Wald (USA)

Huffman (USA)

Monark or Cleveland Welding (USA)

D. P. Harris & Co. (USA)

Rollfast (USA)

Worksman (USA)

Shelby (USA)

H.P. Snyder with "Texas Star" (USA)

Flying Dutchman (Holland)

Chief (USA)

Astabula (USA)

Crescent (Sweden) of 1941

Crescent (Sweden) of 1953

Crescent (Sweden) of 1975

DBS Classic (Norway) Den Beste Sykkel

Schwinn (USA) "circles" design

Roadmaster "stars" chainwheel with chainguard

Generic BMX cross


Tachy (Taiwan) tachometer indicates 5500 rpm!

Odyssey Black Widow (USA)

Goose ring (USA)

P.K. Ripper (USA)

Haro with Fusion rings (USA)

Adam Ant chainwheel with Monty cranks on trials Koxx XTP 26"

Cardboard chainguard (NYC)

Iverson 10 Speed "pie plate" chainguard (USA)


Cottered cranks fit to the axle with cotter pins. These wedge pins are 8 to 9.5mm diameter and press into a slot in the crank arm. They align with flat grooves on the round axle shaft. Most cotter pins (and axle grooves) fit in opposition to set the left and right cranks perfectly apart.

Cottered Cranks with Press-Fit & Welded Chainrings:

Armstrong (Great Britain)

B.S.A. Birmingham Small Arms (Great Britain)

F.B.P. Fabrika Bicikala Partizan (Subotica, Yugoslavia) "biohazard"

Forever (China)

Hengchi (China)

Hero (India)

J. C. Higgins made by Puch (Austria)

Humber (Great Britain) "maypole" design.

Peugeot (France)

Phillips (Great Britain)

Phoenix (China)

Raleigh Industries Nottingham (Great Britain)

Raleigh "Heron" (Great Britain) three-arm style

Raleigh "spider web" chainwheel with chainguard

Rudge (Great Britain)

Sugino Star Light (Japan)

Camel-shaped cottered crank seen in Israel

Crusty Rudge with chaincase, dredged from Dutch canal

Sen Fou "flora" chaincase and exposed "pyramid" chainwheel (China)

Serpal (India)

Avon crankset with chaincase (India)

Dirty Dancing chainguard keeps bell-bottoms kleen during 10-speed fever, jamais "Holy Grail" (USA)

Cottered Cranks Continued...

Here are cottered cranks that have interchangeable chainrings. They are mounted with chainring bolts to flanges that are press-fit and welded to the right cranks. These are a part of the all-steel bicycle.

Cottered Cranks with Interchangeable & Bolt-On Chainrings:

Orient-type Triplet (USA) 20-tooth outer and 34-tooth inner inch pitch

Triplet (USA) inch pitch teeth with block chain

Williams (Great Britain)

Unmarked (Italy)

Umberto Dei (Italy) logo.

Frejus (Italy) logo.

Magistroni Pista inch pitch (Italy)

Magistroni Snow Flake pattern (Italy)

Bianchi Paris Roubaix (Italy)

Bianchi chaincase with "sub-rosa" chainwheel (Italy)

Protar model replica of 1953 Bianchi, converted to 1949 Wilier Triestina, as big a finger tip.

Williams inch pitch (Great Britain)

Overman inch pitch (USA) exhibiting severe acute elongation of the block chain

B.S.A. inch pitch (Great Britain)

B.S.A. inch pitch backside (Great Britain)

B.S.A. inch pitch (Great Britain) with three rifles insignia

Chatter Lea (Great Britain)

Chatter Lea chainwheel on Dick Power track bicycle

?? (France)

Legnano "Arrows" chainwheel with chainguard (Italy)

Schwinn Paramount (USA)

Schwinn Superior (USA)

Bauer Saalsport (Germany)

Simplex chainring on Stronglight crank (France)

Aluminium "Dural" cottered crank arms on Michael's neat Paragon

Bradbury Tradesman (Great Britain)