First impressions of my Oval Chainring


I had my first ride today with my oval chainring.

I thought it would be interesting for you to
see how I found it.
 
First up...a little backstory as to why I changed.
 
At the moment I'm on Shimano XT 1x11 with a 
10-42 tooth on the back and a 34 tooth on the front.
 
I was finding on steep climbs and especially longer
days on the bike that my legs were burning out sooner
because I was having to really push to get power down 
into the pedals on the steep stuff (and I have fairly strong 
legs...can squat over 110kg etc.)

I found that my legs were tiring out too soon...and to be honest 
I just didn't need the high end gears. When I first went from 2x 
to 1x I didn't want to spin out on the descents...but the ONLY 
time I actually needed those top gears was on the roads on the 
way home where it really doesn't matter. 
I decided to get a smaller chainring for the front...but I needed 
​​​​​​​a new cassette as well.
So...after some research I got a 10-46t for the back (an extra 4 teeth at
the lowest) and a 32 Tooth Absoluteblack Oval Chainring for the front.
​​​​​​​I wasn't really expecting to see a huge difference with the 
​​​​​​​oval chainring...but was expecting the lower gears 
to come in handy on the climbs.
Well first of all...the extra 2-4 gears at the bottom end 
REALLY helped. I was much quicker on the hills and 
tired much later on. Now I expect my legs have got stronger
from the 34 tooth over the past year so dropping to 
32t was a welcome change, but I noticed a real difference.
I just found my legs got tired a good 25% later on the climbs 
​​​​​​​and I didn't reach the point where I was putting as much 
​​​​​​​power through the pedals on the steep stuff...I felt there 
was a little left in my legs on the really steep short sections 
of climbs.
​​​​​​​So first of all - dropping from 34 to a 32 has been great.
Now onto the oval chainring.
I really like it!
The biggest difference I noticed was how it modulates the 
power better so your back wheel doesn't spin out.
Now I ride flats and I'd class myself as a good climber...I'm
good at modulating my power in the real wheel on the slippy
and loose stuff. It's rare my back wheel spins even on 
really loose terrain.
With than in mind - I found that the oval chainring did a lot 
of the work for me.
Most of the climbs today were loose with thousands of 
small rocks. I found I could almost forget about modulating
my power and keeping the pedal strokes smooth and literally 
just focus on pedalling and the way the power was distributed 
​​​​​​​through the whole of the pedal stroke was much smoother 
and kept traction with less effort on my part.
Another thing I noticed is how at the very top of my pedal stroke
(when my foot is high) it feels tougher to push down...and then
as you get through the stroke it eases off.
The 32t oval ring is supposed to feel like a 34 tooth at the 
strongest part of the stroke and a 30t at the weakest 
part.
I can vouch that it feels like that.
Overall I think you aren't going to get an Oval chainring 
and have it be completely ride changing...however I think
if you tried it you'd want to stick with it.
It's a bold claim for my first ride with an oval but I can't 
​​​​​​​see me ever going back to round now. 
​​​​​​​The benefits are definitely there to notice on just one 
ride and from what I can see there are ZERO 
​​​​​​​negative effects to having one.
For 40ish quid I think the benefits of keeping traction more
easily, modulating your power/spinning in circles with 
less effort and the benefits of making your pedal stroke 
more efficient just seem like a no-brainer.
Consider me converted.
​​​​​​​I'd recommend it.
Matt Mooney
p.s I paid my own cash for it and don't get 
any kickbacks for this post. I just feel I should
​​​​​​​share the benefits I've seen with you