|Do not adjust your sets … it really is that wonky.|
|Just remember to line this mark up with the crank arm and you won’t go wrong.|
The idea of an oval chain-ring might seem somewhat odd at first but the science does make sense. The theory is that an oval chain-ring will maximise power on the part of the pedal stroke where it’s produced and minimise resistance where it isn’t. Potentially, this translates into increased traction and less strain on the muscles and joints – in fact, Absolute Black claim that you will actually pedal more smoothly with an oval ring than you will a round one.
Aside from the obvious ovality, the chain-rings also feature the almost obligatory thick / thin tooth profile, which has largely done away with the need for any type of chain device on 1 x something set-ups. The machining and finish is top notch which adds to the feeling that the perceived benefits will actually materialise once you start to use it. Fitting is as easy as fitting any other chain-ring – you just have to remember to line the small mark up with the crank arm.
|Alivio cranks! In my defence, they’re one of the few readily available in 165mm lengths.|
You’ll probably notice a slightly weird sensation for the first few pedal strokes. I’ve heard other people say, that they feel it for an initial few miles but I didn’t make it out of the yard before I ceased to notice it … whether that says something about them or me, I’m unsure. With your body and brain adjusted, the ovality goes unnoticed although you do feel the effects. The flat sections largely remain the same and the downhills appear no different but once you start to climb, there’s a discernible change. It appears that your legs have shunned nature’s grand plan and now turn in perfect circles. You might also find yourself having to check what gear you’ve selected as you’ll likely feel that you’re one ratio lower than where you thought you were. The ring isn’t going to bestow magical powers on the rider, it’s only a chain-ring, it’s not a electric motor but the benefits are noticeable … subtle but noticeable
I did wonder whether I’d need to re-adjust when swapping between oval and non-oval equipped bikes but that doesn’t seem to be the case. It appears that once your brain has initially figured out the ‘oval ring thing’ it doesn’t forget and will happily accept it, so you don’t need to go through the initial ‘weirdness’ each and every time. In reality, I’ve probably done less than 100 miles on it so far, so it’s too early to comment on the subject of longevity and wear but I can’t see any reason why it won’t last just as long as any other aluminium chain-ring subjected to the same conditions … but as usual, I report back and let you know.
Available in lots of sizes to fit lots of cranks – Absolute Black