I recently had the opportunity to try out an AbsoluteBLACK Oval chainring. I am going to tell you right now I am not going to pretend I am someone I am not, which is a techy someone. Let’s get real. I used to choose bikes based off of color. It could have been the most badass bike in the world. Icky color scheme? No way. However as I learn more I am finding I can tell the difference between tires, pedals, cassettes etc. I will be honest I wasn’t sure what the deal was with the Oval chainring. All I knew it was red and matched my bike. My techy significant other put it on and due to weather and sicknesses we didn’t ride for a while. I actually forgot it was on my bike.
First ride out I was like oh I feel great for not riding. My legs felt great. We did a nice flowy downhill with a few punchy climbs. I soared right up them. Next few rides out included our normal climbing along with the downhill and that’s when I really took notice. My pedaling felt great, super smooth. I even remarked, “I am not sure what is going on but my bike feels amazing.”
I was so impressed, I went back to AbsoluteBLACK’s website to read about the chainrings. Here’s what they claim:
“Our premium Oval chainrings work because riders do not produce power evenly through a pedal stroke – the musculature of human legs makes it difficult to maintain an even power delivery to a round chainring. Believe it (or not), but a round chainring doesn’t transfer torque to your rear wheel as smoothly as an Oval one. Oval rings work with the natural human physiology. Oval chainrings maximize the part of the stroke where power is produced and minimize resistance where it isn’t. As a direct consequence, Oval rings enhance a cyclist’s ability to spin with a smoother power delivery and feel easier on legs while climbing. You will actually feel your pedal stroke to be more “round” with an Oval chainring than with a round chainring.”
Ah ha! I can concur it did feel smooth! I kept reading:
“AbsoluteBLACK oval chainrings deliver power more smoothly to your rear wheel. This means you are better able to generate and maintain constant cadence. Because oval chainrings reduce the peak loads on knee joints, riders using them get less stress on the joints (knees) and therefore are able to keep certain level of effort for longer. This results in higher average speed.”
It went on to talk about studies proving that using oval chainrings enables the rider to spread the load of pedaling over a greater muscle mass. It didn’t matter. They had me at less stress on the knees! I entered the world of mountain biking after leaving the last shred of cartilage I had in my knees at mile 14 running an Ultra race. I dragged that knee for 17 miles knowing that was the end of my long distance running. My knees are way happier mountain biking. However due to loving technical downhill versus cross country, I spend quite a bit of time in a squat. After so long my worse off knee starts to scream at me. Add in Enduro training with all the climbing in between stages of downhill and it’s ready to punch me in the face. As I read that I realized I had no knee pain on any of my recent rides.
I am so excited to have this chainring for all the Enduros and Downhill races I plan on doing this summer. This is now a mandated bike part for me! Plus, they reached out to see how they could support women in mountain biking through Women’s MTB Experience. How cool is that?