Oval chainrings: pros and cons

autorRotor Bike Components
fecha3rd July 2019

For some time now, oval or Q RINGS® have been a trend among amateur cyclists and many professionals. It is certainly true that professionals like Chris Froome use them.

Initially they began to be used on the road and they gradually made their way to mountain bikes due to their excellent performance. This is why, whatever your biking discipline, at ROTOR we have put ourselves at the forefront of the development of top-quality oval rings which offer maximum pedalling performance.

This is how our 1×13 oval ring groupset for road bikes emerged, offering 13 speeds on one cassette. Or our line of oval cyclocross and triathlon chainrings. If MTB is your thing, you can choose between QXI, QX2 and Direct Mount rings.

The advantages of oval rings are more than obvious, but they also have some disadvantages. In this article we will try to highlight the pros and cons of oval chainrings so that you can choose the option that suits you best.

Advantages of oval rings

Advantages of oval rings
  • Enhanced power: Perhaps the main advantage of oval rings is minimising the “dead spot” in the pedal stroke. That is, oval rings shorten your pedal stroke in the dead spot and lengthen it in the power position, where the cyclist exerts more force.
  • Optimise pedalling: This improves acceleration and, with a slower cadence, we will achieve a more powerful pedal stroke than with a round ring. In this way we can use higher gear when going uphill.
  • Easier on the knees: The constant and smooth pedalling will reduce pressure on the knees.
  • Settings: You can adjust them in different positions so that they adapt to your pedalling style and specific needs. Thanks to the OCP (Optimal Chainring Position) you can adjust the position of the chainring with respect to the crank to optimise your pedalling power.

Disadvantages of oval rings

  • Adaptation time: Although this isn’t a problem per se, the truth is that you’ll likely need some time to adapt your technique to the new ring.
  • Sprint performance: Having a smoother and more constant pedal stroke also results in some loss of power when it comes to sprinting.
  • Using it on one bike: If we use oval rings on only one of our bikes and we keep switching between both types of rings, we may not achieve maximum performance in each one.

And you, what is your opinion on oval chainrings? Have you tried them? Share your experience in the comments section and help other cyclists choose between the two ring types.

Also, if you have any kind of technical question or need advice, we will be happy to help. Go ahead and contact us.

Enter here if you want to buy road oval chainrings!