absoluteBLACK Oval Narrow-Wide Chainring [Rider Review]

Our "Rider Review" article series features the honest reviews from verified purchasers of Worldwide Cyclery. They contain the photos, thoughts, feedback & overall review you are looking for.

Oval chainrings have become extremely popular lately, and part of that is due to research that shows their ability to increase pedaling efficiency, and who doesn't want to be more efficient on the bike? Absolute Black has been on the forefront of that research and has some epic chainrings as a result. Read on for more!

Absolute Black Rider Review

Hunter's Review

I recently purchased this absolute black chainring for my YT Capra to see if it would help out on climbs vs the standard round chainring. So far, I really like it and don’t see a reason to ever switch back. I have been riding mountain bikes for about 2 and a half years and started out on a hardtail with a Sram 1x11 drivetrain. A little over a year ago I upgraded to a YT Capra base AL. I have been a YouTube mechanic which has helped me save but I have also learned some things the hard way. After a year with the same chain, I ran through my NX drivetrain and needed to upgrade. I decided to buy the same cassette (Sram NX) but after watching Oval vs Round on Worldwide’s YouTube channel I figured I would give the absolute black oval a shot. After all, my roughly 35-pound bike needs all the help it can get to go uphill.

My first impression was how amazing the product looks and feels. I really appreciate the CNC machined detail on the chainring and it really catches your eye with how the light reflects off it. I was between black and titanium for color options and really like how the titanium turned out. Lastly, I was amazed at how light it was compared to the round Sram chainring. Installing the chainring was very easy. I have Truvativ cranks which have the Sram 3 bolt mount, all you need is some grease and a T-25 torx wrench.

Absolute Black Rider Review

At first, I thought I couldn’t really tell a difference between the oval and round but now that I have spent about 2 months on it, I see the benefits. The difference is slim but noticeable enough when making quick adjustments up technical climbs and when really putting the power down. Also to note, I ride with flats and have 24 points of engagement in my hub (15 degrees) and would assume that with higher engagement, clipless pedals, and a lighter bike the oval might be even more noticeable.

In my opinion, the oval gives that extra little bit of leverage that helps when trying to clean a tech climb.

It feels like my balance has improved because I don’t have to focus on putting all my weight on one foot and then the other, each pedal stroke has a smoother feel.

Final Thoughts

So, who is this chainring for? I think the easy answer to this is if you have worn out your chainring and need a new one, the absolute black oval is definitely worth it. If you have a brand-new bike, should you change out the perfectly good round for an oval? Probably not unless it is for a dream build or to cut weight. The other thing to consider though is how amazing they look. If you want to color match your bike this chainring is the way to go.

Absolute Black Rider Review


June 16, 2021

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