Chainrings for 2x Cranksets on Gravel Bikes – Third Party Options

In this video, I cover what is available in the aftermarket for 2x options. Barring one or two exceptions, I avoid talking about chainrings that are proprietary to a crankset. Many of these 3rd party chainring options are available for SRAM, Shimano and Campagnolo. 1x fans, don’t’ worry, my 1x video is coming soon!

chainrings for 2x cranksets on gravel bikes

Companies featured:

If there is a company whose chainrings I missed, please leave a constructive comment below. As always, thanks for watching!

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17 comments on “Chainrings for 2x Cranksets on Gravel Bikes – Third Party Options

  1. JOM,
    I have the Easton 46-30 chainrings on my bike and they are quite nice but they are specific to the Easton Cinch crankset I guess. For guys that want a power meter, they work in conjunction with the Cinch power meter from Easton. There aren’t that many choices for this subcompact set up with a power meter.

    Steve Bailey

  2. For a lot of us, riding gravel is not about engineered road beds and anything that looks like Dirty Kansa, but what used to be acceptable mountain biking. i.e., sporadically maintained fire roads, single track, double track etc. For those of us that ride these steeper grades on a regular basis current ‘gravel’ gearing is inadequate. The work around is going with a mullet system with mtb in the back and road levers in the front with a 1X as neither the new SRAM or Shimano groups will provide a low enough gear with a 2X system. I firmly believe that whether one runs a front derailer or not, 6t or more UNDER 1:1 is required for off road riding whether ones bar is flat or bendy. Look at the modern XC bike, typical 1X gearing now offers an awesome 16-18t lower than 1:1. That might be a little extreme for most ‘gravel’ riding, but I regularly find myself on pitches I would on a mtb, but due to the overall route profile a drop bar rigid bike is still the best tool for the day. So how does one get an adequately lower gear with a ‘gravel’ 2X to keep the gaps reasonable on the paved sectors without resorting to an electrical system. Personally not against Di2 or eTap, but the costs are substantially higher than a mechanical setup.

    1. I agree with David Turner’s comment. I am a mountain biker turned gravel cyclist (mostly) and ride most of the same places I used to ride my mountain bike. There are some less expensive hacks if you don’t want to spend a lot of money. On one bike that had a road triple on it I removed the big ring, left the 39 tooth middle and changed the small chainring to a 24 tooth mtb ring with an XT 11-36 cassette out back. I run 10 speed Shimano bar end shifters with a 9 speed Shimano Deore mtb derailleur. It shifts great and I have a super low gear for the steep pitches. On another bike I run 11 speed Microshift bar ends that are Shimano mountain bike derailleur compatible with an mtb 42-28 crankset, 11-40 cassette and a Deore XT 11 speed rear derailleur. It shifts a little clunkier than a road set up, but gives me the gears I need. If you wanted to do a similar thing with road brake/shift levers, you could go with a Wolf Tooth Goat Link on the rear derailleur. You just have to get creative if you want really low gears.

      1. We reviewed the original Roadlink a while ago, which is another good option. Appreciate everyone chiming in with helpful information to share!

    2. The original SRAM XX 2 X 10 crankset from just a few years ago has great choices for chainrings that make it perfect for gravel.

      1. That’s what I’m using, along with SRAM Force 2 x 10 road levers. I can swap out the chainrings, chain and realign the front der. to swap between bike packing and gravel racing

  3. I really like the chainring combinations from Absolute Black. If they offered those teeth in round rings I could stop thinking about whether switching to GRX would be worth it.
    I’m just not buying that oval rings are anything more than marketing. If they provide an advantage shouldn’t they be everywhere along with gigantic derailleur pulleys?

    1. I just put the Absolute Black 46/30 set on my bike. I had tested the oval idea first by replacing just the inner 34 on my road bike and liking it. I have no hard data saying oval is better or worse than round, but I like how it feels standing climbing — for me it’s smoother, less of a “bottoming out” feel at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Strava times are equal or better but that’s probably more me than the hardware.

      Front derailleur setup was a bit fussy for the 46/30 — could be one reason they aren’t more popular –but shifting has been fine. Going from a 50/34 to a 46/30 is a huge win.

  4. JOM – Thanks for this survey. Very helpful. I’ve been running a bodged up Ultegra 6800 crank with 46/34 4 bolt asymmetric Shimano chainrings. I’m not a big fan of 16 T drops between the large and small chainring. But, this seems to be what the major manufacturers are pushing, touting the wider gear range. However, you get much more effective gear range by going to an 11/36 or 11/40 cassette. To get my current crankset 46/34 configuration, I had to replace the 36 with an after market Shimano 34. When riding hilly NH dirt roads, the 11-36 in back with the 46/34 in front is perfect. When I’m riding pavement, I simply switch to an 11-28, or 11-32. I find it’s way easier to swap cassettes, than switch out chain rings. BTW I’m running eTap wifli that works well with this gearing, despite exceeding SRAM’s 32 max. spec on the eTap wifli der.

    1. Bob, glad to see you’re ignoring SRAM’s max recommendations, a man after my own heart 🙂 I’ve been running a 32T cog with the short cage eTap derailleur, no worries… just turn that B-screw in a wee bit.

  5. Yes – I suppose you void your SRAM warranty doing it. But, I’ve been running mine flawlessly for several years without any issues. I think running narrow capacity 46/34, or 46/36 chainrings helps make the setup work. I think you might have some issues however, with a higher tooth capacity required for something like a standard road 50/34 compact crank. The Wolftooth website has a very good explanation of der. capacity for anyone interested in the topic.

  6. White Industries has both square taper and 30mm options with a variety of chain-rings. I have a 46/30T, but many others are possible.

    1. I was going to mention White Industries (I have reviewed the R30 crankset with 46/30), but you need to use their VBC chainrings which are proprietary. For the most part, I avoided proprietary options.

      1. Catching up to this late. I am running the Praxis 48/32t with an Eriksen spider on an Easton set of Cinch cranks and SRAM etap Wifli and an 11-36t cassette. It works great, but the battery on the front derailleur limits my tire choices for 700c. I am looking at getting the Easton 46/30t rings…..any input on compatibility would be appreciated

        1. Joseph, I have not ridden Easton 46/30 rings, but I have ridden the White Industries VBC crankset with 46/30 chainrings and SRAM eTap 2x (the original 11-speed version). Shifting was perfect.

          Good luck!

  7. I used a Thorne chainring (for obvious reasons) back when I ran 10s and could honestly tell that it was noticeably stiffer than the Shimano cx70 chainring it replaced. It’s too bad they’re not 11s compatible.

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