This weekend marks the beginning of British summer time and the rolling out of long warm nights, many a winter bike will be retired to the garage/shed/store until the seasons turn again. Cyclists across the county will suddenly start adding 2mph+ to their ride speeds as the super light carbon fibre deep rimmed speed machines ride out, quickly forgetting about the reliable work horse they straddled whilst the elements were against them.
One thing I’m going to miss from my winter bike is the chainring. It’s fitted with an Absolute Black oval narrow wide item, and what a great piece of kit that is.
Maybe it’s because my winter bike is singlespeed but it has transformed how it rides. It’s given a noticeable increase in range for the same gearing, the pedal stroke ramps up to where you are strongest, effectively easing into a harder gear without changing cogs. Because the effort increases on the downward motion of the pedal stroke it also helps to smooth the action down by adding resistance later on. This is especially noticeable when spinning out on the round ring, one gear will only go so fast! Yes I still spin out but it’s not so violent, enabling me to spin faster.
How does that transfer to climbing then? Well my knees are thanking me for it and my strava pb times have fallen. I was running a 42t. The ring has an ovality of 40/44t so in the initial phase of the pedal stroke I’ve dropped down 2 teeth, effectively reducing the strain on my knee cartilage. Something I was suffering with.
Now there’s the looks, these things look awesome. Great cnc machining and strong anodising that seems to have lasted well over winter, they look good for a while as well.
I don’t want to sound like I only review things that I like or have had success with but it seems that either cycling tech is just getting better or I’m making some astute purchases. I’d wholly recommend the move to oval on a singlespeed bike, probably just in general if that translates, and now I’ve just got to decide if I want new chainrings or new kit for my birthday…..