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AbsoluteBlack has set the standard when it comes to oval chainrings. Their rings look incredible, work great, and come in all kinds of colors and sizes to fit your bike and preference. In this review, our customer was feeling the gold and went with a new narrow wide chainring from AbsoluteBlack. Read on for more!
I recently purchased a Yeti SB6 2019 and wanted to build it up myself. I was going to reuse some components (160m Pike Ultimate, Renthal cockpit, Sram 1x Eagle drivetrain). I had a chance with this build to try a few things new. I most often ride (3-5 times a week) in Frederick Watershed in Maryland. It is known for its rocky and technical riding and isn’t a beginner's trail. With recent additions of flow and downhill trails (Shuttleable) its really a gem for us in our area. The rocks can wreck a bike and I was finding I was getting way too many pedal strikes and would hang up often on edges of rocks at lower speeds. So, I decided to go with 165mm cranks and try out oval chainring.
After doing research and watching tons of videos I choose to go with the absoluteBLACK Oval 30t to match my drivetrain. From the research, it would help with traction in my technical areas and would increase my cadence a little within the same gearing. That increase spin paired with the 165mm cranks would allow me to run in the middle of my cassette more, which is great. Then on our tech climbs and rock gardens, I would have a smoother low gear with higher cadence as necessary. This should increase my traction, reduce pedal strikes, and help prevent stalling. I really didn’t see any good reason to try another brand since they all try to reproduce what absoluteBLACK started. Decided to go with a Gold look on the Yeti as well so it was a great fit.
I have been on this setup for over a month now, most of the time I can’t tell a difference between the round and oval chainring. The exception is when it gets technical.
I can feel myself not having to lock down as hard on climbs to maintain traction or I have a little bit easier time pedaling out of a spot where I got stuck in a higher gear than I wanted. I also feel like my pedaling is smoother and steady, less forced, reducing the pressure and stress on knees.
I have also noticed improved acceleration capacity and improved pedaling cadence overall. My before mentioned pedal strikes have disappeared and I can now use the improvements of the oval chainring to drive through tech sections.
In summary, I believe my new round chainring will remain as a backup. I have been converted to the oval chainring team and will be spreading the gospel. At the very least I have felt no downside to using the oval chainring. In reality, it has improved my ability to handle tech at lower speeds, therefore, improving my riding. I also really feel like it helps me accelerate just that little bit faster as well.
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