I’ve been waiting for a long time for someone to hit the market with a 36T aftermarket chainring for the BBSHD. The stock 46T steel chainring makes a great Frisbee-From-Hell but you would be certifiably insane to use it on any real ebike build. Lekkie has built a 42T BBSHD chainring that has been around almost as long as the BBSHD has been on the market, which is a great size for most commuter builds. Now Lekkie offers a total of 3 different sized chainrings for almost any application, the 36T, 42T and 48T with more sizes on the way. We’ll be seeing 52T, 28 and 32T chainrings in the not too distant future. The Lekkie Bling Rings are currently available in red or black, but other colors are coming for the popular sizes.
I tested the 36T BBSHD for 2 weeks in a variety of different conditions and I was impressed by the way it performed. It was everything I expected a Lekkie ring to be. For a giant fat tired ebike like the Phat Phuk with 5.5″ tires the 36T was the idea chainring size allowing me to have a decent top speed but still be able to slog my way through almost a foot of heavy powder with relative ease whilst still staying away from the 1st and 2nd grannies.
Over the last year, as I started getting into higher and higher powered ebikes and started plowing through deeper and deeper powder I found every single one of my BBSHD builds getting the 42T chainrings downsized to the 30T Luna mighty mini chainring. There is a lot of things I like about the 30T mighty mini, at $56 it is impossibly cheap and it is also incredibly light at 68 grams (the stock 46T BBSHD chainring is an insane 560g). The biggest problem with the 30T mighty mini is that the chainring is just too small. What ends up happening is that you get to spend most of your time riding in the middle of your cassette when weaving through the trees at <10mph but if you want to go fast the chainring tops out at less than 25mph. Because you’re limited with a 11T cog as the smallest cog in the rear, at above 20mph the motor is spinning so darn fast that is completely impossible to pedal and keep up. This severely limits the usefulness of the 30T mighty mini on amost commuter ebikes, even if it’s a 29er (larger wheel sizes means smaller chainrings).
The 36T Lekkie Bling Ring is the perfect size for singletrack with 26″ tired fatbikes. I can still ride most of the time in the middle of the chainring and have a chain line that is not messed up too bad, any yet can still pedal along at 25mph, with a top speed of closer to 30mph (with RPMs so fast that you can’t keep up). With a 36T chainring, I can still slog through the heaviest, wet powder up steep hills with ease. The BBSHD loves small chainrings and it goes from being a ho-hum drive unit to a wheelie popping machine with anything 36T or less. For singletrack trail riding, the improved torque is worth the loss of a few mph of top speeds. If you’re using your ebike to transport 2 or 3 people at a time then you really must have a smaller chainring or you’re going to put way too much stress on the BBSHD nylon gear. So far with hundreds of miles riding every day I’ve had 2 Nylon gears on the BBSHD fail, both while running it with a 60+ Amp controllers (stock is 30 Amps).
The weight of the 36T Lekkie Bling ring I got was 110g which was a bit more than the 68g of the 30T Luna chainring but still well within the realm of reason for a 7075 Alloy T6 heat-treated and anodized narrow/wide chainring. The Lekkie chainring will work well with anything from single speed to 11-speed chains and I tested mine with a 10-speed chain. In the two weeks I tested it, the chain only came off twice while on the 2nd granny gear and both times I was pushing uphill through some seriously heavy and wet powder running a 60Amp Ludacris controller. I started looking more closely at the 30T Luna chainring which also has a pretty bad chain line (the 42T chainrings have massive offsets which will make your chain line much prettier) and I realized that the 30T chainring is so small that the aluminum secondary reduction cover actually works as a chainguard to keep the chain from coming off the 30T luna ring. Ironically although I have had no problems this winter with the chains coming off the 30T Luna ring, today when I went back to riding the Luna chainring the chain jumped off twice and got stuck between the chainring and the case. Might be my chains are getting too loose, or it could be the ice that keeps forming on them, or it could be the rust from the road salt. Who knows? All I know is that with the stock BBSxx steel chainrings I always had nothing but chain problems, and decent narrow wide chainrings are the only thing I use anymore.
The 36T Lekkie Bling ring is available directly through Lekkie’s New Zealand website for $120 (in Kiwi dollars) or you can buy it from a wide list of sellers worldwide listed on his website here. The cheapest I could find the 36T Bling Ring stateside was Lunacycle at $75 here. I would just add in the cost of an aftermarket chainring of some sort into any budget for a BBSxx ebike, as all the chainrings that Bafang sells with the drive units are complete junk.
Hey look, it’s a video of everyone’s favorite crazy Aussie, Bruno, showing off 6000K of wear on a Lekkie 42T ring. It still has plenty of life left on it.
If and when you order this chainring you should be aware that the BBS02 and the BBSHD have completely different hole patterns and are NOT compatible. Make sure you get the chainring that matches your drive unit. It’s important to pick the right size chainring for the application you’re using it for. For most singletrack fatties, singletrack 29ers, cargo bikes or tandems I recommend the 30T or 36T. If you have a commuter 26″, fatty or 29er then the 42T is a good size. If you have a smaller wheeled folding bike, recumbent or a trike then the 48T or 52T is probably the way to go. This is assuming that you have a normal rear cassette that goes from about 11T-36T. If you are using a 3-speed IGH and have an odd sized cog then all bets are off. I like using the Nexus-3 with a 18T rear cog and a 30T front chainring fortrail ridingilriding, but it tops out at around 25mph. If you want high top speed then go with a bigger chainring, for more torque and wheelie popping power then go for the lower tooth chainrings.
So would I recommend the 36T Lekkie Bling Ring? At this point, I have 3 other Lekkie Bling Rings and I’ve been very happy with every one of them so far. The crew at Lekkie does not seem to skimp on the material and the machining from what I can see is pretty solid. When there is more competition, that is always good for the consumer, so I openly welcome this new addition to the BBSHD chainring arena.
May the best ring win.