Before anyone else does it, I’ll say it for you: “BioPace.” There, now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about the Absolute Black oval chainrings without mentioning any previous incarnations again.
Yes, oval chainrings have been tried before. No, they didn’t stick around, for reasons not really known to we the people. But some thought there was enough merit in revisiting the idea and Absolute Black are leading the way (as far as single-ring, off-road applications anyway; there’s been a couple of companies making oval road rings for quite a while now).
We got our hands on a 104BCD 32 tooth narrow/wide single ring and bolted it on… easy to do and there are versions for pretty much all of the different crank/spider configurations and sizes from 28t to 34t depending on your crank.
The narrow/wide teeth have a high profile and there are 2mm spacers and threaded holes machined into the ring as well to allow the 32t to fit a 104BCD crank properly. The scalloping and machining on the ring is pretty sexy looking too.
The premise behind non-round rings is eliminating the ‘dead-spot’ in the pedal stroke, smoothing it out and maximising power transfer from the pedal to the drivetrain. Does it work? I guess that depends on what you are expecting from the ring. If it’s miracles, then I’d say no. But going off initial rides there are noticeable differences: are they improvements? I’d say “yes, but let me get back to you”. After a bit more testing and in-depth mathematical analysis*, we’ll bring you a review in Issue 62…