My son bought an old road bike, we didn’t notice that one of the small bolts connecting the two front chain rings was missing and he has now twisted and broke the inner chainring. I’ve been able to remove the smaller inner chainring. Is it safe to use the bike with just the larger outer ring or does the design rely on the two rings to be connected together for strength and rigidity and therefore likely to buckle/break?

  • 2
    Depends on the particular design, but in many cases the small ring can be removed. Jun 17, 2020 at 12:22

1 Answer 1


You can remove the inner chainring without compromising the strength of the crank.

However, this will mean you will have to 'cross-chain' from the outer large ring to innermost largest rear sprockets to obtain lower gear ratios. Doing this accelerates wear on the chain, sprockets and chainrings.

Small chainrings and bolts are not expensive. Installing might require pulling the crank off the bike though.

  • Isn't the inner chainring making the spacing correct so that the chainring bolts sit tight? In that case, I wouldn't ride it without all chainring bolts in place and some washers added in.
    – nitzel
    Jun 17, 2020 at 15:07
  • 3
    @nitzel, yes, shorter chainring bolts would be necessary. Jun 17, 2020 at 15:56
  • Of course, on a road bike, it's perfectly possible that the lower gears are never needed anyway. Jun 17, 2020 at 20:16

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