It looks like the ovalized chainring phenomenon has no intention of going anywhere soon, with most of the ‘ring makers starting to offer a non-round ring of some persuasion.
One Up Components are basing their whole business on drivetrain conversion components, and I’ve been running their 40t and 42t expander cogs, the Rad Cage derailleur upgrade and the round narrow/wide chainring with great success over the last year.
After using the Absolute Black oval ring for the last month or so, I’ve gotta concede that I’m a fan. Whether or not the claims of flattening out dead spots in the pedal stroke are true or not, there is definitely more traction available when climbing technical terrain, eliminating the lurching feeling when stomping rather than spinning, especially when using flat pedals.
The One Up Traction Ring looks as well-made as their other components, with precise machining of the narrow/wide teeth and the bolt holes for the 104bcd 32t ring threaded and raised up for precise chainline without the need for loose spacers. Laser-etched graphics look good and will last longer than it takes to wear out the teeth. I’m interested to check out the degree of ovalistation between the One Up and AB rings, and whether any differences affect performance one way or the other.
The One Up rings are available for 104mm BCD, 94mm Symmetrical, 96mm Symmetrical, SRAM Direct Mount, Race Face Cinch direct mount, XT M8000, and XTR M9000.