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  1. #1
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    Oval Chainring? What is the purpose?

    Hey fellow mountain bikers! Im curious. Ive seen and heard bikers talking lately about oval/ elipse chainrings. Do these give better performance or what? What are they all about? Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Q-rings in theory change the way you pedal by reducing load when you can't produce as much power, as well reducing stress on your knees.
    Shimano did this years ago (search Biopace, I have one, it does feel different) But Q-rings are 90deg in rotation, supposedly they work significantly better than biopace.

    There should be enough discussion on these already on this board, probably best to post on those threads rather than starting yet another.

  3. #3
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    Rotor (who make the Q-Rings) claims a 3% energy savings
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  4. #4
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    Its a very personal thing. If you tend to pedal in squares or have specific muscle weaknesses then the Q-rings can help. This is especially true for me with climbing as I find it much easier to keep spinning, or at least to get the pedal past the 12/6 o'clock dead position.
    Some find no improvement at all, these tend to be the pro's who already have pretty even muscle development and good technique. Julian Dean (Team Garmin) said it helped him with climbing but took away a little from sprinting
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  5. #5
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    They made or tried this back in the 90's and it died and I see its coming back again, I guess everything comes and goes again and again.
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  6. #6
    Formerly of Kent
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    Never used them myself, but it's worth noting that this year, two grand tours were won by two different riders who used them (who are not sponsored by Rotor).

  7. #7
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    I have Qrings on both of my mountain bike SS and FS.

    The biggest difference is that they seem to pedal more "rounder" through the pedal stroke.
    I guess because they do reduce the dead spot in the crank stroke.

    The biggest different is that on really long rides, I don't get cramps and my legs feel fresher. On 6/12 hr races...its been a big difference!
    Thats my take!
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  8. #8
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    Just seem to expensive for me to just try out for a maybe gain of 3%

  9. #9
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    To sell another product.

  10. #10
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    There's quit a few Pro Tour riders (aka roadies) using them that claim real gains in performance but to them 3% is a big deal. For me though there's about 20 or 30% to be gained from getting stronger and losing weight before I go looking for 3% from chain rings.
    This may be a total waste of time but I can't help but think that you might amount to something someday.

  11. #11
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    3% gain in what I wonder. All I know is 5hrs into a 6hr race and I am not getting cramping is 100% gain IMO. Also, the package (crankset/ring) for SS comes to ~450. That is pricey..but not much more than an XTR and its stiffer and lighter.

    Also there are 3 settings on the ring so you can set it up for climbing or speed+ initial setup.

    I say this..don't knock it till you try it!

    I'll be getting it on my roadbike too once I have the $$ for it.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubdryver View Post
    3% gain in what I wonder. All I know is 5hrs into a 6hr race and I am not getting cramping is 100% gain IMO. Also, the package (crankset/ring) for SS comes to ~450. That is pricey..but not much more than an XTR and its stiffer and lighter.

    Also there are 3 settings on the ring so you can set it up for climbing or speed+ initial setup.

    I say this..don't knock it till you try it!

    I'll be getting it on my roadbike too once I have the $$ for it.
    If I remember the article I read correctly both Bobby Julich and Fabian Cancellara were talking about average wattage gain which translated out to pretty significant time gains.
    This may be a total waste of time but I can't help but think that you might amount to something someday.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by fahza29er View Post
    They made or tried this back in the 90's and it died and I see its coming back again, I guess everything comes and goes again and again.
    Actually oval chain rings go way back before the 80-90's. The concept is the same but the clocking of the ring makes all the difference. Biopace was basically opposite the clocking of the q-rings.

    It is a bit pricey but I feel for me there is a difference. AlexRandall is correct, its not for everyone. One thing I think is majorly overlooked is the huge benefit when running flat pedals, which I do.

    For me Im running a single chainring, so much less wear = more bang for the buck

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by CjSwat13 View Post
    Hey fellow mountain bikers! Im curious. Ive seen and heard bikers talking lately about oval/ elipse chainrings. Do these give better performance or what? What are they all about? Thanks!
    I've used them for a few years on one of my bikes. I wore out the 40/27 rings and replaced them with the newer 38/25's this year on my JET because I needed the extra clearance to prevent chainstuck between the big ring and the chainstay yoke area.

    New Race Face Vintage Turbines and Rotor Q Rings

    They "seem" to help - if they do at all - on climbs. Yet, I handle the same climbs on my other bikes with round rings just fine. It's hard for me to figure out the exact gear inches/gain ratio with a Rotor ring compared to a round ring - so when I say "seem" to help on the climbs, it is because I am able to go up the climbs in a bit taller gear than the round rings.

    I have one (a Rotor 34T SS ring) I would really like to try on my new SS, but I don't have a spare 4 arm 104mm BCD crank of the right size sitting in the parts bin at the moment outside of an old XT set - and the Rotor ring I bought doesn't fit on the XT arms. The good news is I have a Truvativ crankset on another bike I could cannibalize to run the ring.

    Search some threads here at MTBR as these types of rings have been written about with all sorts of propaganda as well as scientific evidence refuting the propaganda provided within the discussion.

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  15. #15
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    How are these rings on shift points? Are they slower to upshift/downshift?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubdryver View Post
    3% gain in what I wonder. All I know is 5hrs into a 6hr race and I am not getting cramping is 100% gain IMO. Also, the package (crankset/ring) for SS comes to ~450. That is pricey..but not much more than an XTR and its stiffer and lighter.

    Also there are 3 settings on the ring so you can set it up for climbing or speed+ initial setup.

    I say this..don't knock it till you try it!

    I'll be getting it on my roadbike too once I have the $$ for it.
    Hey, just a heads up on the roadie thing w/ Q-rings. I bought a compact set and originally had both on mine. Because of the oval, a gap develops between the front mech's cage and the ring every 1/2 cycle and things got weird w/ the front mech/shifting. Also, this threw in an oscillation on the ultra short cage of the rear mech...which if you're running a big stack (11-28), things go weird there also. So, I swapped the 50T (big) ring back to round so I can have better shifting. Plus, I use the bennies of the oval ring more for climbing than anything else, and I don't climb in my big ring
    What I'm saying is you might be able to save some $$ and get on the oval quicker if you start out w/ just the inner ring on your roadie.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    How are these rings on shift points? Are they slower to upshift/downshift?
    They shift great. Ramped and pinned with chain drop prevention pins as well.

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  18. #18
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    I have Q-rings on both my road bike and now my MTB bike. I've had them on my road bike for three years now.

    The reason I started to use them is to aid my Osteo Arthritis in my r knee.

    For me, it helps. The easiest way to describe the "feeling" is that the rings "speeds" up your rotation through the "slow" weak points during your rotation.

    It's like having a 45 teeth through your power part of your stroke and then having a 42 teeth as you come through the weaker part of your stroke thus making your pedal stroke speed through that weaker part.

    The shifting performance is very crisp IMO. Equally as god as the XTR and Campy rings it replaced.

    Is it worth it? For me yes. Will you see an improved performance? I doubt it but will help alleviate some knee issues which IS an improvement in my case.


  19. #19
    gran jefe
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    Quote Originally Posted by roobydoo View Post
    Shimano did this years ago (search Biopace, I have one, it does feel different) But Q-rings are 90deg in rotation, supposedly they work significantly better than biopace.
    90 degrees different? Soooo, the theory is exactly opposite? That's weird.

    I think oval chainrings are a great idea. My ability to apply torque to the crank isn't symmetrical all the way around, so why should my chainring be?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    How are these rings on shift points? Are they slower to upshift/downshift?
    I have them on all three of my bikes, no problems shifting whatsoever.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by roobydoo View Post
    But Q-rings are 90deg in rotation, supposedly they work significantly better than biopace.
    I remember riding my rigid MTB with a Biopace set and recall not liking it as it felt like it would surge forward adding a strange forward momentum...not necessarily good.

    Biopace - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Interesting to hear that the Q-rings design may have improved upon the original Biopace.

  22. #22
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    I've only used it on my single speed, and I couldn't tell the difference really.










    Last edited by Entrenador; 01-15-2013 at 09:55 AM.
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