Is Chainring Too Close to the Frame: Is It Okay?

Mountain bikers or cyclists who like to play with their bikes have to go through a lot of stress in their maintenance. They often find it hard to identify problems and then end up doing the wrong solution.

As a frequent cycle user, I have many friends who play around with their bicycles quite a lot and one of the problematic issues I have seen them facing is when the chainring is too close to the frame.

It took my friend and me quite a while to realize the problem and get a solution for the chainring to stay too close to the frame. 

Now I am guessing you are going through a similar kind of issue. Let us talk about what we can do when seeing that the chainring is too close to the frame. 

Why is Chainring too Close to the frame?

chainring Too Close to the Frame

Asking the right questions about a problem helps us find solutions relatively more straightforwardly. So, before going for a solution, you must spot what precisely the problem is. The answer then becomes the more accessible part.

Clearly, chainring getting too close isn’t something that is supposed to happen. But we can’t stay confused about whether or not it has happened.

The main reason I have noticed it happens is due to heavy usage and constantly changing the chains while in motion.

The gap, which is already tiny, now being closer, will surely break the smooth flow of your chain’s movement

As we move forward, I will talk about some problems and the troubleshooting steps so that you don’t have to go through this issue again. 

What can happen if you let the chainring stay too close to the frame?

Your chainring and chain will fall under constant scratches with the frame. Which will start to fade the body and frame. Slowly torn the metal or aluminum body, causing pressure points on the surface that might lead to cracks in the body of the frame.

This could potentially lead to accidents if you are unbothered about it. Remember that the general distance between the Chainring and the crank arm is 2 millimeters.

So, when you are trying to be cautious and then notice if something is wrong, then make sure you inspect the distance between the two things.

I will now talk about some of the troubleshooting steps for your clarity on this issue.

Closer Chainring Troubleshooting Steps

Closer Chainring Troubleshooting Steps

1. Chainring fit 

Now, this issue is as primary as it comes, but it is a real problem as I personally had witnessed this couple of times when I went to the maintenance shop.

Your chain might not always fit the perfect way due to heavy sprinting or riding on rough terrain. And, sometimes, lack of greasing or oiling can obstruct the proper fit to the chains.

It mainly happens when the chain is fitted on the inside of the chainring or if the chain has been swapped. So, just be sure to check it before going through many fixes. 

2. Bottom bracket issue

The bottom bracket might be completely invisible to identify unless you’re an expert in the cycle repairing field. So your bike, after prolonged usage or rough terrain usage, might wear out the bottom bracket or, as they say, The “BB.”

It can also happen due to a lack of maintenance or simply because the bike has aged. To identify it, hold the two pedals and try to move while pressuring on each of the sides. 

Steps to Fix:

If you have any jerky movement after holding the two pedals, then the only fix I can suggest to you is to get a new bottom bracket. 

3. Thicker Chain

A large chain might give you the assumption that your chainring has gotten too close or maybe your newly attached chainring has made your chainring too close to the frame.

You might be clueless about it but a thicker chain can cause a lot of problems in your riding experience if it’s not suitable for your bike.

Steps to Fix:

I’d suggest you to get a new chain that is narrower and more suitable for your bike. Based on what I have seen and researched, you might be using a Shimano kmc. Still, in reality, your bike is actually optimized with a Campagnolo, which is a narrower chain. So, please get a narrower chain, or else you will keep on struggling. 

4. Chain rub

Chain rub can happen when the derailleur is constantly getting scratched by the chain. Usually, if the outer limiting and inner limiting screws are too tightened, then face this problem.

Which will make us confused in thinking about what is happening. The exterior and Inner limiting screws are for how far out the derailleur and how far in it will move, respectively.

You might get the idea that your chainring is too close to the frame, but actually, the chain rub is the issue. 

Steps to Fix: 

It’s a simple process. You need to get a Phillips screwdriver and move the two screws in small increments. And, through multiple attempts, while shifting your gear, you need to check if the chain rub has stopped.

Be very careful in moving the screws. It needs to be moved in small proportions counterclockwise. 

5. Readjust the front derailleur 

I advise you to approach this if nothing works cause this is the most complicated fix. If you see that nothing seems to work, then indeed, you have to unclamp the derailleur, remove all the screws, wires then put them back on again.

It should create the chainring’s distance between the frame as it was before. Careful in adjusting the screws because chaining might get too close if the screws are too tightened as well.

If you are not confident enough with the tools, then I’d suggest you take the bike to your local bike shop.

6. Chainring Wobble

This issue might be a bit tough to identify, but telling you about it might give you more insight. Unless your chainring is deformed or rugged, you might notice that the chainring, while in motion, goes a bit off of the line, then it is chainring wobble.

To identify this problem, place your bike and move around the derailleur cage a bit then, you might sense the chain’s different movement. 

Steps to Fix: 

Open up the chainset and attach it again on the opposite side to the bottom brack axle. If it doesn’t work, then keep doing it a couple of times. It should get fixed through a trial and error process. 

7. Chainsuck 

If your chainring is too close to the frame then it might cause chainsuck. But, getting a fix to chain suck can easily create that easy motion of your bike back again.

It usually happens due to a lack of greasing and putting the wrong lube on the chains. You should have a clear idea of what lube to use based on the conditions you drive in. Also, stiff links can cause an issue as well. 

Steps to Fix:

Get lubes that are based on the conditions you live in. Wet lubes last longer under dirty muddy, cold conditions. Dry lubes are suitable for hot climate environments since they attract less dirt. If the issue is on the chain links, then I’d suggest you get new links based on size. 

8. Longer Spindle

This process requires a bit of inspection. You need to open up the bottom bracket spindle and check if it’s placed reversed or not. Without knowledge about it, you might not realize that the reverse spindle thing is an issue.

So, carefully check the BB spindle, and if it’s reversed, then it is the reason behind your chainring staying too close to the frame. 

Steps to Fix:

Open up the Bottom bracket, then put the spindle back in its required state. And, if you still see that nothing is working, then you might wanna consider the length of the spindle.

I would suggest you change your spindle, specifically get a longer one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it okay to change the chain while in motion?

No, it is absolutely not okay to change the chains while in motion. It is also suggested by the experts even not shift the chainring while you’re riding let alone accelerate. If you happen to derail the chain while riding, then the consequences might be dangerous for you.

It is also a reason for the chairing to come close to the frame, leading to constant stutters in the chain. You basically need to be careful about this thing that many people are unaware of. 

Can adding a washer help in chainring getting too close? 

Yes, it can. Take the crank out, and the holding nut that holds the chainring on the washer will go underneath that. It’s likely that it already has a washer, but you’ll need to add another to balance out the cog. You need to purchase a washer for this fix.


Thus I believe you are now reasonably enlightened about this issue. You have decent ideas about the technical and easy ways to solve this issue. Some are relatively complicated and easy to identify, while others are both difficult to locate and difficult to repair.

If you carefully try the methods I’ve suggested, you shouldn’t have too many problems, unless those things need to be replaced.

However, keep in mind for some of the technical methods, It might be a better idea to take it to a repair shop rather than do it yourself.

So, the next time I expect you to step up when you see that you or someone you have their bike’s chainring too close to the frame. 

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