Oval Chainrings.. Thoughts?

Im curious about these… Who uses em? If so, thoughts? Benefits?


I think they hurt top end sprint power. I went back to round rings on the road bike for this reason. Ok for TT steady state power. I kept them on the TT bike.

Overall, save your money unless you have enough disposable to not worry if you try don’t like and sell for huge loss.

1 Like

If you haven’t already listened to this episode, we talked about it on the Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast! You can check this discussion out here:

In this episode, we talked about how they effect power output as well @Landis.

I personally haven’t used them but I’ve heard some people like them and some people don’t. If I remember correctly, @chad runs oval rings on his bikes and really enjoys them.


Gotcha. Thank you Ian, I’ll listen to this for sure. And thanks @Landis!


I used Osymetric chainrings in the past but there is a learning curve in terms of shifting. Before you get the hang of it, expect chain drops to be a frequent thing to deal with. I am currently back to regular round rings as I wanted a robust drive train that I can “abuse”.

I was running vector 2 pedals in the past and looked at the power phase difference between round and oval rings. I noticed that the round rings had a bigger degree of power phase while the oval rings had a smaller degree of power phase . Peak power during the power phase was also higher for the oval rings.

What I got out of it was oval rings give you more micro-rest at the expense of a smaller and more focused power stroke. The resistance comes on harder, earlier and ends earlier. The unloading phase feels incredibly light, almost “weightless”, give you a bigger window of micro rest during each pedal stroke. I see it being useful for something that requires constant pacing, but if its a type of ride that requires constant surges of power, it might not be too beneficial.

Just my 2 cents.


I use rotor q-rings and love them.

I primarily use them to avoid any knee issues and so far so good … not crazy expensive and pedalling feels super smooth.

Power benefits is debatable but they feel great and at the price are definitely worth a try IMO.:+1:


I’ve used the Absolute Black Oval chainrings for years now on all of my bikes. I started using them on my MTB’s where I found they smoothed out the power delivery, meaning less moments on steep loose pinches where you lose traction with the back wheel. Absolute Black actually refer to their MTB oval rings as “traction rings” for this reason.

I’ve grown so used to the feel of the oval rings that they are now on all of my bikes, most recently the road bike. I’m not convinced of any life changing gains but I do like how they feel, particularly during long steady state efforts.

Set up on the road bike is a bit trickier than normal, I reckon my shifting is 90% of what a stock set of Dura Ace rings offers, once you get used to the slightly different feel during front shifts, you won’t even think twice about it.


I have Q-rings on my winter bike. The only reason is that I go a pair for £30 new when I was replacing both chainrings on the bike. Us Scots are tight of wallet!!

I’ve noticed two things: that “weightless” feeling mentioned above, and how good it feels when I’m back on round rings!!!


Wow… This is really good feedback. I can definitely see myself trying them out, especially considering im a steady state/ climber type. Thank you all!

I dropped them from my bikes after a year (Rotor Q and QXL) because of poor shift performance. They just don’t play great with eTap. You can get it setup so it’ll shift okayish but after a lot of dropped chains the confidence to shift into the big ring just dies off. It’s been bliss going back to round.

Shame as I do love Q rings, love the extra leg speed. Not sure on the performance benefits, it’s more of a feel thing for me.

I still keep a sneaky one on the inner ring though. My secret hill sprint assist :blush:


Bump. Any more user feedback out there?

I’ve noticed they do a sub compact range that will fit shimano 4 bolt 110bcd cranks

32/48. And 30/46 options. Looks like they might be a good option for us shimano loving gravel nerds

I used the Osymmetric rings for years and really loved them. I have a pair I’d sell you for $50 or $60 if you like.
My blog: ex-prosays.blogspot.com

Thanks, but I’d probably prefer to get new, no wear issues that way. Plus I don’t think the inner ring would be 30T? Seems like absolute are offsetting the bolt holes to achieve this

Ive spoken with some mechanics and apparently they are a bit of a headache shifting with electronic components

1 Like

I have an Absoluteblack 34t inner ring (normal 50t round outer) with Ultegra Di2 and shifting is just the same as before. I don’t really know if it helps with climbing but I like to think it does :grinning:


I have them on all my bikes, love it. It’s a feel thing (they skew the power reading of a quarq a bit, so I dumb down the slope)
Osymetrics felt the best imo but the shifting was really rough, liking the absolute black road set up (cross,tt,mtb are all 1-11’s)

1 Like

Ran Absolute Black on my enduro bike for a year and really liked the feel. Put them on the road bike somewhat recently and they feel pretty good there as well. Not sure if there’s any performance benefit on the road (def notice traction on dirt), but they feel and shift great on my cabled ultegra setup.


I inherited some on a road bike I bought.

I feel no perceptible difference when pedalling.

Shifting is not as good.

I wouldn’t have them on my best road bike, and won’t by another pair at the end of their life.

1 Like

I have them on my MTB and CX bikes - both single ring. I don’t notice any difference in leg strain or increased speed, but I do notice better climbing traction, especially in slippery conditions.


I have never found this, actually having gone to Di2 both my road and TT bikes I have found the shifting better.