Jump to content
The Customer

Oval Chainrings

Recommended Posts

Decided to go for Oval Rotor Cranks on the new TT rig just because it was an option and because anecdotally I know some fast dudes who love them.

 

Does anyone here use them and what's the general consensus?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you want what people feel/believe, or what the science actually shows?

 

Here's a summary of the latest two studies to add to the previously published work on non circular chainrings.

 

In this case given the lab is under watchful eye of Dr Jim Martin, I would place a significant deal of value in the data and conclusions:

 

http://gradworks.umi.com/36/74/3674000.html

 

In short, the motion of ankle joint simply adjusts to keep the hip and knee joint movement at the same preferred velocities irrespective of the chainring shape.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Customer,

I don't have Rotor cranks, but I do have the chain rings (Q-rings) on my TT bike.

Subtle difference, but that little bit of extra push required to get the pedal stroke through the dead spot, that you don't notice until it is gone, is gone.

So after 10,000 of these little efforts, on a decent ride, and as you'd imagine, the legs stay fresher.

I'm gonna switch the Q-rings to road bike and get the even more aggressive QXL version for the TT.

 

Just remember to set them up right ... I didn't, and had them in the exact opposite position to where they should be. Duh.

I swore they were rubbish for a few months, until it twigged

And now I love them

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In short, the motion of ankle joint simply adjusts to keep the hip and knee joint movement at the same preferred velocities irrespective of the chainring shape.

Possibly true, who knows. Just like the recent meat causes cancer study, there are numerous studies saying it doesn't. Others say that eating anything at all increases cancer risk.

 

Anyway, as I understand it, as the the pedal stroke goes through the dead spot, the chainring is effectively much smaller. When you are stomping down, the chainring is much bigger. So, if you were to choose a gear based on the powerful stomping part of the pedal stroke, then the instantaneous switch to smaller ring would require less torque, you'd imagine. Momentum of pedals may stay the same, but when really pushing, or climbing, it would be easier to keep the pedal momentum going in a smaller ring.

 

Either way, study may be right, or it may not. It's just a chain ring and the size of the engine is still key.

There is some BS Tri geek fads out there, all trying to save seconds. This is not the worst of them

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is some BS Tri geek fads out there, all trying to save seconds. This is not the worst of them

 

It's no biggie. It just wastes resources that might be better used elsewhere to improve performance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Possibly true, who knows.

 

Non-sequitur and red herring.

 

This isn't a case of "possibly" true. This is what actually happens when this stuff is measured using high quality methodology.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

It's no biggie. It just wastes resources that might be better used elsewhere to improve performance.

 

 

Aren't we wasting resources reading and posting on triathlon forums when we could be out there riding a few more hills or actively promoting better recovery - I don't argue for or against the oval rings - just cant see much harm coming from using them - bit like eating a bit of ham or bacon now and then :smile1:

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you want what people feel/believe, or what the science actually shows?

 

Here's a summary of the latest two studies to add to the previously published work on non circular chainrings.

 

In this case given the lab is under watchful eye of Dr Jim Martin, I would place a significant deal of value in the data and conclusions:

 

http://gradworks.umi.com/36/74/3674000.html

 

In short, the motion of ankle joint simply adjusts to keep the hip and knee joint movement at the same preferred velocities irrespective of the chainring shape.

Hi Alex the article mentions altered kinematic a and changes in the ankle motion. Could that possibly have anything to do with the feeling of freshers legs people talk of?

 

I hope they do a similar study on the cranktip pedals soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I could go back in my hole and read a bunch of boring studies but in all honestly, it's not my natural inclination. If a friend tells me they feel awesome and he constantly smashes the bike leg of every race he enters I'm more likely to get inspired by that and give them a go. Isn't that why we look to mentors and coaches and take note of what the Pros are doing?

Alex, if you say they are of some benefit, I would go ahead and buy them without reading the study. Hell, if they make no difference, who cares, I tried something new.

Edited by The Customer
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These chainrings are in the same category as crank length and various other mostly inconsequential equipment choice items. IOW ride whatever you feel like and seems good to you. Just don't expect any performance benefit. If you think there is one, it's probably power meter error and/or placebo.

 

Pros are often a bad choice of people to look at for equipment choice, as they are often paid to use equipment irrespective of whether it's optimal for them.

 

For those that at times get to dictate what they use (hard to know what deals are in place at times) then there's not much to suggest awesomeness entails. e.g. Wiggins was using them for TTs, but not for climbing, then gradually went back to circular rings for most riding, and of course he still smashed out a cracking hour record at a power output as good as his best ever using regular old circular chainrings.

 

Seriously, Jim Martin is the guy when it comes to assessing this stuff, so when research coming out of his lab is published, I take very close notice. It's people like Jim that people should listen more closely to.

 

The funny thing about the ankle adjustment issue is that I tried the rings myself some years back and it made no difference to my power either, and that's despite not having an ankle on one side that could adjust.

Edited by Alex Simmons
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Aren't we wasting resources reading and posting on triathlon forums when we could be out there riding a few more hills or actively promoting better recovery - I don't argue for or against the oval rings - just cant see much harm coming from using them - bit like eating a bit of ham or bacon now and then :smile1:

 

False analogy. It's a comparison between equipment options, not between training and not training.

 

There's no harm in using the rings and no discernible benefit either. Which is why it's hard to get all that excited about them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For $200 I'm giving them a shot. Looking forward to something new. If it feels good and the 'placebo' gives me an extra minute over 90km, I'm happy. Will post once I try them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i have be using Rotor rings for 4 years now, I have moved to the QXL 53 ring on setting 4. I like a slower cadence.. I am happy with them. :smile1::smile1::smile1::smile1::smile1:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These chainrings are in the same category as crank length and various other mostly inconsequential equipment choice items. IOW ride whatever you feel like and seems good to you. Just don't expect any performance benefit. If you think there is one, it's probably power meter error and/or placebo.

 

Pros are often a bad choice of people to look at for equipment choice, as they are often paid to use equipment irrespective of whether it's optimal for them.

 

For those that at times get to dictate what they use (hard to know what deals are in place at times) then there's not much to suggest awesomeness entails. e.g. Wiggins was using them for TTs, but not for climbing, then gradually went back to circular rings for most riding, and of course he still smashed out a cracking hour record at a power output as good as his best ever using regular old circular chainrings.

 

Seriously, Jim Martin is the guy when it comes to assessing this stuff, so when research coming out of his lab is published, I take very close notice. It's people like Jim that people should listen more closely to.

 

The funny thing about the ankle adjustment issue is that I tried the rings myself some years back and it made no difference to my power either, and that's despite not having an ankle on one side that could adjust.

I wouldn't think an oval ring would work with a fixed gear. You would need a chain tensioner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't think an oval ring would work with a fixed gear. You would need a chain tensioner.

 

You'd be surprised. There's a little bit of variation but not as much as you might think. e.g. Sheldon Brown's comments on using biopace rings on a fixie:

 

People are often astonished to learn that I ride Biopace chainrings on fixed-gear bikes. They imagine that there will be tremendous changes in chain slack as the chainring rotates. In practice, this is not the case. A 42 tooth chainring will generally engage 21 teeth against 21 chain rollers, regardless of its shape.

There is a slight variation in tension resulting from the varying angle between the two straight runs of chain as the axis of the chainring rotates, but this has not generally been of a sufficient magnitude to cause any problem in practice for me.

 

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/biopace.html

and there are plenty of people who run O-Sym and Q-rings on fixed gear bikes without issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

You'd be surprised. There's a little bit of variation but not as much as you might think. e.g. Sheldon Brown's comments on using biopace rings on a fixie:

 

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/biopace.html

and there are plenty of people who run O-Sym and Q-rings on fixed gear bikes without issue.

I am currently using Doval rings, and yes there is very little variation. And a quick youtube browse shows some very stable versions, but I seem to remember Wiggo riding TDF a few years back, and watching his rear derailleur going nuts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes - and it's because the chain is wrapped around approx half the chainring most of the time, and as a result it basically uses the same length of chain since counting the number of teeth for half the ring from any given tooth doesn't change much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes - and it's because the chain is wrapped around approx half the chainring most of the time, and as a result it basically uses the same length of chain since counting the number of teeth for half the ring from any given tooth doesn't change much.

I don't understand your "Yes". Yes to what?. That wiggos rd was going nuts? The greater the oval, the bigger the difference, especially when in the small rear to big front combo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few years back I thought I'd give oval chainrings a try. That was despite being skeptical, likewise about compression gear, supplements, 5 min intense work outs being as good as an hour and the latest fad diet.

 

Someone I know with has a fascination with bipoace chainrings from the 70s, and gave me a couple. I don't think they make any performance difference, but I kind of like the retro idea - goes with the trispokes I have, (although I think those are are actually still good and maybe top). Still got the BPs on the TT bike years later.

 

Pretty funny when Specialized had a bike tryout setup at Mordialliac last year, and one of the Spec guys knew all about the biopace chainrings. He was a young un too. Was just into bike tech, good, bad failed, successful etc.

Edited by longshot

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Together with short cranks I reckon they are a great idea on TT bikes as they reduce the level of hip flexion at the top of the pedal stroke.

For the carb lovers it gives more room so the knee doesn't hit the gut and for the injury prone it puts less stress on the hip joint, pelvis and lower back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

there is a pair O-Symmertci rings for sale on triturate brand new :smile1:

 

I couldn't be bothered to install them its a cheep way to tri them

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure any difference in hip angle as crank arm length still the same? But on that, I felt shorter crank arms made a noticeable comfort difference, 167.5 vs 172.5.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can you explain a little more? It's just that I am yet to experience this.

Give it a few years young fella. You'll work it out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Together with short cranks I reckon they are a great idea on TT bikes as they reduce the level of hip flexion at the top of the pedal stroke.

.

Exact reason why I went shorter cranks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Together with short cranks I reckon they are a great idea on TT bikes as they reduce the level of hip flexion at the top of the pedal stroke.

For the carb lovers it gives more room so the knee doesn't hit the gut and for the injury prone it puts less stress on the hip joint, pelvis and lower back.

Shape of chain rings would have absolutely no effect on hip flexion it's only affected by crank length and saddle position. However Cranktip pedals would

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just spent the weekend riding on the new oval chainrings (and the new TT bike) and whilst I cannot say if the chainrings help to exert more force or not - gosh, they feel smooth. The word that keeps coming to mind is that my legs felt more 'elastic' if that makes sense - really fluid and fast. I don't regret getting them at all and would also consider them for a road bike built for climbing. The guy that fitted them did a lot of road races in the Philippines (hilly) and he used to use the oval small chainring just for climbing and put a regular large ring on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, Chuckie M said:

they hate Etap front mechs. difficult to get right..😣

Yep I’m thinking about putting them on the di2 bike.

They are also working on a etap version. It was meant to be released at the end of last month 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you getting hit by Facebook ads from Absolute Black like me? I am considering them as well...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Bored@work said:

@The Customer u still on the oval chainrings? 
I’m thinking about giving them a go

Was thinking about that setup I used to have only yesterday. Back then, I had a Cervelo P5 with Oval Chainrings and really loved the way that bike felt to ride. That rig was the fastest thing I'd ridden 'in a straight line' but was quite heavy and fiddly with the hydraulic brakes and tricky headset to put back together when I travelled. I have a Trek speed concept now which is more practical.

The oval chainrings felt good for me but read what Alex had to say.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Fresh said:

Are you getting hit by Facebook ads from Absolute Black like me? I am considering them as well...

Yep & Instagram 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep. Getting smashed. Not ashamed to admit that I've been sucked in and my LBS are looking into sourcing them from FESports. I'll give them a go on the road bike and if I don't mind them, I'll get them for the TT rig as well.

I'm going to drop back from 53/39 on the roadie to 52/36 just to make those climbs a touch easier without losing my preferred cadence on the flat. I'm signed up for the long version of Robbie's Gran Fondo, so I have a feeling that the 36 is going to be a godsend towards the end of that race. 

I'm not expecting huge dramatics between the two, but I can see the logic in them and I'm willing to try anything once.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From what I have read, I think they will benefit ppl who have a poor pedal stroke. 
 

Im sick of doing single leg drills. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, Bored@work said:

From what I have read, I think they will benefit people who have a poor pedal stroke. 

My pedal stroke isn't too bad, but I'll take what I can get.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just bumping this back to the top with an update.

Got a price from my LBS which turned out to be nearly $100 more expensive than buying through the company directly. I placed the order online for the 52/36 set to suit my Shimano Ultegra 6800 and it was all relatively straight forward.

Chainring set - $188.90 USD
Longer chainring bolts and covers - $52.95 USD
DHL Express shipping - $8.90 USD
Discount code - GOforIT ($16.93 USD)

Total cost - $233.82 USD ($351.51 AUD)

Sent them a message on Facebook (10pm Brisbane time) and asked if it could be dispatched that day (Europe time) and they pulled some strings and it left that day on DHL Express. Went from Poland to Germany to Russia and should be somewhere else later today.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My chainrings arrived today on DHL. ETA for delivery according to the tracking was 18/06 but it was never going to take that long. Package went Poland - Germany - Russia - Japan - Sydney - Brisbane. 

Packaging is phenomenal and the rings themselves look damned good. I'll attach some photos so you can see for yourself but I'm impressed already. I'll install them a bit later and post some more photos then. 

20200611_104922.jpg

20200611_105019.jpg

20200611_105043.jpg

20200611_105125.jpg

20200611_105110.jpg

20200611_105048.jpg

20200611_105132.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Front derailleur needs a bit of a tune but other than that, piece of cake and looks the goods. 

20200611_113145.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Bored@work said:

Keen to see how u go in the hills

So am I. Unfortunately, I've gone to a 52/36 from a 53/39 so it'll feel different regardless. I'm most interested to see how I feel on the long flats where I'm turning a big gear. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First ride on the chainrings was a GPLama Zwift warmup and a 30km race around the Watopia Figure 8.

The big ring didn't feel too different, which works for me, but the small ring definitely felt better. The best way to describe it would be that it felt like wheel slip on a wheel-on trainer. I'd power through that phase and the ring would 'accelerate' back around faster. Made climbing much easier and more comfortable. 

Will be doing 50km on the road outside of a mixture of rolling terrain and flat roads so I'll report back then about what it's like outside.

PS. The @gplama Ultimate Warm Up is epic. Just enough sting to get the HR up and blood pumping, but not enough to hurt the legs. Thanks Shane!

Edited by BNothling

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First outdoor ride this morning with the ovals. 50km loop with a few rollers, a few small ring pinches and a lot of long flats.

In the big ring, everything just feels smoother. I can't think of any other way to say it but that my pedal stroke feels rounder. The pedals just go over smoother and everything is butter. I did feel stronger than I probably should have and found myself pushing a bigger gear than I needed to, but it just felt capable, and then I'd realise my cadence was back in the 60s and I'd downshift to keep the legs ticking. 

In the small ring it does feel like I can punch up hills easier and faster without increasing the effort too much. A shift to the little ring isn't accompanied by 38 downshifts on the rear cassette to match. Not sure how much of this is the ovals, and how much was the shift from 39 to 36 teeth. The wheel slip feeling that I had on the trainer yesterday wasn't there on the road. 

At this stage of the game, I'd say that this was money well spent. Everything just felt more comfortable. I felt like the muscular load was more evenly spread across the muscle groups that could take it and everything is much happier afterwards. 

https://www.strava.com/activities/3610040187

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you think there is any point in putting them on the TT bike where you're generally on flats in the big ring (or oval), or does it suit the roadie and climbing more?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Fresh said:

Do you think there is any point in putting them on the TT bike where you're generally on flats in the big ring (or oval), or does it suit the roadie and climbing more?

Hard to say. I haven't spent enough time on them yet. To be honest, I haven't given it too much thought because my TT bike power meter isn't compatible with oval rings.

I literally just finished another ride on them on the roadie and I'm really impressed. Everything feels much smoother and I can feel the difference on climbs when I'm in the small ring.

I'm a n=1, but I'm really happy with them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For those thinking of making the leap - Pushy's currently have some (not all) of their absoluteBLACK chainrings on clearance sale:

https://www.pushys.com.au/on-sale/june-sale/we-needed-to-point-these-out/absolute-black-clearance.html#pagetop

Plus they have a site-wide sale ending midnight tonight - use code SITE12 for a further 12% off (including clearance).

You're welcome... 🙂

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...