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  1. #1
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    Anyone hate the Oval?

    I am thinking about making the jump to an oval ring on my Stache. I have heard a lot of good but wanted some negatives.

    So does anyone hate their oval?

  2. #2
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    I disliked mine. Ovals are a trade off. They are better for low RPM and suck at high RPM. When your grinding out a climb or standing in a tenical section they are great. But if you like to spin circles then you will not be happy with an oval. It also makes the change over in knee posion too fast so you lose the pedals over the top and it feels like bouncin with the hub freewheeling then catching.
    There is zero increase in power to the wheels, just a tradeoff in what RMP feels the best. I like to spin so they where not my style.

  3. #3
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    I spin high RPM and and it only felt weird for the first couple of rides. Oval feels perfectly normal now.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  4. #4
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    I am usually more of a masher, may suit me better?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuzzwardo View Post
    I am usually more of a masher, may suit me better?
    IMO...*absolute*ly

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuzzwardo View Post
    I have heard a lot of good but wanted some negatives.
    Can't say I'm overly fond of the replacement cost.

  6. #6
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    I'm comfortable at using a wide range of cadences. 60-100rpm. I have no problem with my 34t oval on my 29er.
    Death from Below.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by OwenM View Post
    IMO...*absolute*ly


    Can't say I'm overly fond of the replacement cost.
    I haven't tried one yet but Blackspire will be my next.

    https://www.blackspire.com/product-c...gletooth/oval/

    $60CDN and made in Canada.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  8. #8
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    I'm in the same camp as alex. I can't fathom how people say they barely notice oval. There is a distinct fast spot in your pedal rotation. On steep punchy climbs this has a very pronounced pogo affect that upsets the suspension and thus traction. Not to mention breathing, concentration etc. On flattish lower gear pedalling I felt I could lay down more power with less effort and this I liked.

    I participated in another oval thread where people seemed to know a lot about the subject. The conclusion was the clocking on modern oval didn't jive with my dimensions. Maybe, but in my own rational I just can't see the fast spot going away becuase the ring is.... you know....oval. I gave oval the ole college try (about 450 miles) and if it weren't for so many positive accounts I'd call it a gimmick.
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexbn921 View Post
    They are better for low RPM and suck at high RPM. When your grinding out a climb or standing in a tenical section they are great. But if you like to spin circles then you will not be happy with an oval. It also makes the change over in knee posion too fast so you lose the pedals over the top and it feels like bouncin with the hub freewheeling then catching.
    Interesting, I have opposite experience. I don't feel any difference (compared to round charinrings) during slow and grind or normal to fast riding. However, very high cadence pedal smashing where I would jump in the saddle with normal chainrings, the oval allows me to pedal more smoothly.

    Another, unrelated tidbit: I have road bike with regular round chainrings and mountainbike with oval - I don't feel any weirdness when switching from one to another. First couple of rides with oval were a bit weird, though.

    Considering that oval and regular chainrings cost about the same, I will choose oval again in the future.

  10. #10
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    I felt a massive difference switching between my bikes with oval and round. I'm used to spinning 100+ rpm on the road and I could never get the power down with an oval above 90 rpm's. I got a bouncing/pulsing feeling from them. I'll never go back.
    My old touring bike had biopace rings and I put 12k+ miles on that bike. I actually like biopace as it slowed down my knees at the top and bottom of the stroke. I tend to pull/push thru the top and bottom of my stroke and not having resistance just feels weird. Round pedalers usually dislike oval. Square pedalers seem to like it more. Comes down to style.
    Note that round or oval doesn't matter for total power output. There have been lots of test and it's a plus some here minus some there game, with a no real total difference.
    Rings are cheap. Try it out and see if you like it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuzzwardo View Post
    I am thinking about making the jump to an oval ring on my Stache. I have heard a lot of good but wanted some negatives.

    So does anyone hate their oval?
    You'll never know how they feel unless you try one for yourself. Everyone has their own opinion or perception of what they're feeling. I have one on my stumpjumper and I feel it has helped in techy sections of trail allowing me to pedal thru them vs getting that "hung" up sensation. On my rail trail bike I see no benefits to using one. My current Patrol build is getting an oval for sure. Try one and form your own opinion.
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  12. #12
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    H8ers are gonna h8 ^^

    Thread closed!

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  13. #13
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    Another vote for oval. I have one on my Enduro and LOVE it. Makes technical climbs a lot easier, and feel no difference in high speed pedaling. I can't even tell it's Oval anymore. I see no downsides.
    Front Range, Colorado

  14. #14
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    Exactly what Streetdoctor said. I notice no difference in pedaling. I just put one on and didn't notice any negatives. I did notice more traction on climbs... Loving that!

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  15. #15
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    I have read the Wolftooth has less oval shaping so if you want to get your feet wet it might be a better starter.

  16. #16
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    I put one on, and felt like it might result in more leg fatigue on really hard 5 hour training rides.

    I took it off after about 20 hours, and all seemed right with the world again.
    Whining is not a strategy.

  17. #17
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    Round rings now feel "odd"

    Oval rings feel smooth in the power delivery

    (To geek out, think of a sin wave... IMO, an oval ring reduces the amplitude of the peaks and valleys. Guess you could say its an MTB rectifier?)
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    I haven't tried one yet but Blackspire will be my next.

    https://www.blackspire.com/product-c...gletooth/oval/

    $60CDN and made in Canada.
    Those look nice, but that's not what I'd call inexpensive, either!
    Saved a pic of the SRAM direct mount one to compare the "clocking" to AB's($55-65US), though. Position of the oval in relation to the crankarms is what convinced me to try an Absolute Black...

  19. #19
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    OneUp has been clearing out their direct mount oval chain rings for $1 a tooth for awhile now. Selection is limited but I picked up a 30T cinch ring for $30 shipped.

  20. #20
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    Got an ABS Black 30t Oval coming in the mail for $47 USD, delivered ^^

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  21. #21
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    I never see any making reference to the 'workout' your clutched rear derailleurs get. Plan on increased maintenance intervals on the clutch mechanism.
    A bad day of cycling is better than a good day at work

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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleared2land View Post
    I never see any making reference to the 'workout' your clutched rear derailleurs get. Plan on increased maintenance intervals on the clutch mechanism.
    I would use derailleur wear as an opportunity to upgrade my derailleur at that point.

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  23. #23
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    I'm going to buy clutches cheaply from a buddy who frequently smashes derailleurs, win-win.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleared2land View Post
    I never see any making reference to the 'workout' your clutched rear derailleurs get. Plan on increased maintenance intervals on the clutch mechanism.
    Derailleur movement seems very minimal. I don't think I've seen anything on added clutch wear or maintenance due to running an oval ring.

    Made this a while back with a 30T oval.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Gz1QfvVNDE

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by noose View Post
    I would use derailleur wear as an opportunity to upgrade my derailleur at that point.
    What would you upgrade to?

    I run a SRAM XX1, that's an upgrade, but it still has a clutch.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleared2land View Post
    What would you upgrade to?

    I run a SRAM XX1, that's an upgrade, but it still has a clutch.
    I have a clutched deore shadow plus. Maybe XT?

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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuzzwardo View Post
    I am thinking about making the jump to an oval ring on my Stache. I have heard a lot of good but wanted some negatives.

    So does anyone hate their oval?
    Lots of oval threads on here but since this is up top thought I'd put my inquiry in:

    XC vs Trail/Enduro. I'm thinking SS/XC would benefit more myself, what say you all?

    Discuss
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMac47 View Post
    Lots of oval threads on here but since this is up top thought I'd put my inquiry in:

    XC vs Trail/Enduro. I'm thinking SS/XC would benefit more myself, what say you all?

    Discuss
    If I understand your question right I would say all genres benefit in different ways from oval but ss and xc for long climbs the most.

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  29. #29
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    Oval feels different at first, but after a couple rides don't notice it. Coming from road cycling I understand the importance of spinning a round pedal stroke. I find the oval ring always feels like a power stroke and has no dead spots like a round ring does. My buddy thought it was just a gimmick until he rode my bike with the oval ring. He's got ovals on all his bikes now. I like them and will keep using them.

  30. #30
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    Been using oval chainrings for many years now on my road and tri bikes. To some extent there is a learning curve to getting used to using them but the effectiveness (or perceived lack of it) depends on the type of oval ring you use. There are many many oval rings from various makers and there is a noticeable difference in feel using various types. I personally like the Rotors but do not like the osymetrics, which I find too aggressive.

    On my MTBs I use ovals as well and do not notice any difference. I have three MTBs with different rings.

    To the OP, you have to try them out for yourself and be the better judge if you want them or not.

  31. #31
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    Pros:
    - Smooth power delivery when climbing
    - Less muscle fatigue due to power spikes in crank rotation trying to get over the dead spot
    - Better traction due to smoother more consistent rotation

    Cons:
    - Having to reply to threads like these
    - Having to pay for a new oval chain ring for every bike I own

  32. #32
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    I don't like ovals since it makes good chainguide setup impossible. When mounted high enough to clear the high spots on the oval, it's no longer in the best position for optimum chain retention. Every bike I've ridden with oval rings results in me dropping the chain at some point, something that rarely happens even on my 2X full squish bike.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by aerius View Post
    I don't like ovals since it makes good chainguide setup impossible. When mounted high enough to clear the high spots on the oval, it's no longer in the best position for optimum chain retention. Every bike I've ridden with oval rings results in me dropping the chain at some point, something that rarely happens even on my 2X full squish bike.
    If running a clutched RD and NW ring, oval or round, you shouldn't need a chain retention device. The only time I dropped a chain is when my RD got hung up on a rock and broke the hanger. Other than that I've not dropped a chain.
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  34. #34
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    Oval and asymmetric chainrings come in a variety of designs. On some I don't like the way they are clocked. When spinning a high rpm they can throw my cadence off and feel real jerky. Set up properly for me and it really does smooth out the pedal stroke and thus results in more liner output. This is immensely helpful on technical climbs I can maintain traction much easier and clear obstacles.

    The downside is shifting is compromised. I can feel the chain tension change and it causes enough of a vibration that it cause my feet to slip on the pedals. If I ride clipless then it's not an issue but I've noticed my feet sliding around on flat pedals.
    Everyone is entitled to my opinion.

  35. #35
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    I have a XT setup that always dropped a chain on 1 trail I frequent. I picked up a Blackspire Trail-X guide and it solved that problem oval or round. Not all chain guides cover enough ring for oval. Narrow wide and a clutch reduces chain drop, it doesn't eliminate it.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    I have a XT setup that always dropped a chain on 1 trail I frequent. I picked up a Blackspire Trail-X guide and it solved that problem oval or round. Not all chain guides cover enough ring for oval. Narrow wide and a clutch reduces chain drop, it doesn't eliminate it.
    Couldn't drop a chain through snapping it? (w/ a chain guide...)

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  37. #37
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    I put an oval Wolftooth ring on my Santa Cruz (new build at the time) just basically in a "what the heck, I need a ring anyway so might as well try it," frame of mind. The only thing I hate about it is that I like it so much that I've had to spend the money to put one on my other bikes...

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveF View Post
    I put an oval Wolftooth ring on my Santa Cruz (new build at the time) just basically in a "what the heck, I need a ring anyway so might as well try it," frame of mind. The only thing I hate about it is that I like it so much that I've had to spend the money to put one on my other bikes...
    What size ring? I am on the fence either Wolftooth or Absolute Black. I have read the WT feels more like a round? Did you notice an immediate change from round to the WT?

  39. #39
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    Clocking of the ring makes a big difference in how the ring will feel. I'm very tall which changes my angle of pedaling force. Might be one of the reasons the AB ring didn't feel right.

  40. #40
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    No issues on SS. Took no adjustment time, and as has been echoed above, no weirdness between MTB and round road rings.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by keen View Post
    What size ring? I am on the fence either Wolftooth or Absolute Black. I have read the WT feels more like a round? Did you notice an immediate change from round to the WT?
    I've run 30, 32 and 34 on various bikes at various times. The ovality of the AB is more noticeable than that of the WT but you adjust to either one pretty quickly. I had an AB on one bike but do prefer the WT. I did notice a change right away, a positive one, going from round to oval. It seemed to smooth out power delivery and my pedal stroke-and made an improvement in climbing traction consistency.

  42. #42
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    ???

    W8-a-min8!

    Is this now the 'Why You Love Oval CR's' thread?

    =)

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  43. #43
    Anytime. Anywhere.
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    Love, not hate.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  44. #44
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    I started with a WT 32 oval on my Yeti ASR5 and loved it. I then went to a DM (Specialized) 32t Garbaruk Melon and continue to love it. I must have different physiology than some here as I found spinning fast (120-130rpm) was smoother with the oval than the round. I also now have a 46t Melon on my commuter 1x10 bike and love that one too.

    The One-up chain guide has lots of coverage for oval rings, and makes it super easy to disable the guide for whatever need/reason you may have for needing to do so. And for those worried about wearing out their clutches, there was a Youtube video floating around that showed the RD moving a miniscule amount as a result of the oval ring. Nothing that'd worry me about longevity at all.

  45. #45
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    I have never had a chain drop with my oval an m8000 RD.. Except when my pants got caught between the chain and the chainring. This is over course of 2 years of riding.

  46. #46
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    I have the Oneup guide on my other bike and it doesn't cover enough. I haven't dropped a chain on that bike, but I don't think it's because of that flimsy thing.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  47. #47
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    I have found that I am faster & usually run a gear higher than everyone else. As fast as these NW chainrings wear out you should go for it. If you don't like throw it up on PB

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveF View Post
    I've run 30, 32 and 34 on various bikes at various times. The ovality of the AB is more noticeable than that of the WT but you adjust to either one pretty quickly. I had an AB on one bike but do prefer the WT. I did notice a change right away, a positive one, going from round to oval. It seemed to smooth out power delivery and my pedal stroke-and made an improvement in climbing traction consistency.
    What makes you prefer the WT over the AB?

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexbn921 View Post
    Clocking of the ring makes a big difference in how the ring will feel. I'm very tall which changes my angle of pedaling force. Might be one of the reasons the AB ring didn't feel right.
    AB, was unsuccessful for me as well. Do have one with a different clocking that works for you?
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  50. #50
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    I had an AB oval on an XT crankset for a while on my SS. Probably 250-300 miles. I liked it enough to keep it on. I honestly kind of forgot about it after the first ride. Didn't feel much different than round to me. I did feel like after hard climbs, my legs recovered a little quicker than they did before. I also felt, like others have said, that it was better at high rpm than low, but I did feel like the tire seemed to often 'stick' a little better than I sometimes expected. Like those rides where you have the *perfect* psi, and dirt is nice.

    That said- I sold the XT cranks to a friend and bought an RF cinch set with the stock round ring. It took about 2 miles and a climb or two to forget I wasn't on oval anymore.
    Maybe oval doesn't do anything, maybe I just got stronger and better at weight distribution.

    I'd try an oval ring again maybe.
    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Yeah, why not?

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