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I have an older 29" mtb, and the chainrings look pretty bad, and sometimes the chain skips, so I want to change them. I hoped buying replacements would be as easy as buying a new casette, but I'm having a hard time.

When I look at onlineshops, most shimano chainrings seem to be for a specific crankset: they are named like "chainring for fc-m780".

As m522 is quite old, it is quite hard to find those. Can I use other ones? Are there product-ranges that fit? What do I have to look for? Do all 10x3 with the correct hole-spacing and teeth-count work?

I also tried looking for replacement-cranksets, but I almost exclusively find hollowtech-II ones, which look completely different with the attached "axle"

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FC-M522 is a very typical 104/64 crank.

For the most part, 104/64 chainrings interchange more than a lot of other things on bikes. Odds are, any good quality set of aftermarket rings you find would be fine, ideally ones that are nominally 10-speed (or 9/10), but even that doesn't matter enormously. Occasionally with 104/64 rings there can be some profile differences where the ring meets up with the spider, which can be resolved by filing the ring. Usually that happens on SRAM/Truvativ mismatches with other brands.

In your case, pulling up the EV document for your crank (google fc-m522 ev) shows that Shimano has some things to say about which rings interchange directly for the stock ones:

enter image description here

The "A" matches mean it's literally the same part and the "B"s mean it's the exact same form factor but has cosmetic or material differences, i.e. color, finish, or steel vs aluminum.

The EV documents are published once when the crank is new and not usually updated, which can lead to situations when for example you might look through the rings that are available at a given moment in time, pull up the EV documents for the cranks they go with (which might be newer models), see what sets those interchange with, and then you can often follow the logic back to an older model. You don't normally need to do that, but if you want high certainty it's going to work the first time, that's one way of doing it, whereas getting a random set of generic aftermarket 104/64 rings means you'll need to be crossing your fingers a little.

Many online sellers are searchable by the Shimano part numbers you see in the 'SHIMANO CODE NO.' column.

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  • Thanks, that was exactly what I was looking for. I tried looking on the shimano website, and it even has a page for the crankset, but there were only linked two files, neither of which was about this product, but was general stuff.
    – Flo
    Commented Aug 4, 2022 at 19:51

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