SRAM X-Sync 2 Oval Chainrings - Review

Sep 7, 2017
by Richard Cunningham  
SRAM X-Sync 2 Oval chainring 2017


Volumes have been written about turning the perfect circle. Some say that it takes a lifetime of cycling before one can truly master the act of transferring leg power smoothly into 360 degrees of uninterrupted torque – which begs the question: “If pedaling circles is so damn hard to learn, have we been doing it wrong all these years?” The oval chainring makes a good argument that there is, indeed, an easier way to pedal efficiently.

When SRAM slayed the mechanical monkey that used to cling to the seat tube near the bottom bracket, they also eliminated the need for round chainrings. The absolute precision that a front derailleur requires to shift reliably dictates the use of round sprockets. SRAM’s victory over the front mech and its introduction of the X-Sync tooth profile cleared the way for mass production and the potential acceptance of oval, and asymmetric chainrings. Paradoxically, SRAM largely ignored that potential market until well after the release of their 12-speed Eagle ensemble. I’ll let SRAM tell the story:

bigquotesSince day one, SRAM has been dedicated to providing riders with component options that fit their own individual riding style. It’s undeniable that some riders’ pedaling styles benefit from oval chainrings, so we’ve engineered the new X-Sync 2 Oval chainrings to give them the advantage they want. They are the only oval option available with our genuine X-Sync 2 teeth profile, so they are the only oval chainrings on the market that are 100-percent optimized for Eagle. More options. X-Sync 2 Oval. Only from SRAM.SRAM PR


X-Sync 2 Oval Details:

• Construction: Forged, machined aluminum with Eagle X-Sync 2 tooth profile
• Direct-mount only, cross-compatible with GXP-type cranks
• Sizes: 32, 34, 36 and 38-tooth
• Offsets: 3mm or 6mm (Boost and non-Boost)
• Colors: Black anodize only
• MSRP: $119 USD
• Contact: SRAM
SRAM X-Sync 2 Oval chainring 2017


Tech Notes

SRAM’s Eagle XX1 chainrings are beautifully made, and the new oval versions uphold that standard, with machined reinforcement webs, laser etching, and the trademark scimitar tooth profile, which create a more seamless release and engagement when the chain is feeding into the sprocket from the extreme ends of the 12-speed cassette.

The ovality (a relatively new word to cycling) of the 32-tooth chainring is roughly 12 percent which, in my experience, is a near perfect balance for delivering more consistent torque to the rear wheel, while retaining the option to spin a wider range of rpm than some asymmetric chainrings encourage.

Paired, narrow-wide chainring teeth have nearly eliminated accidental chain derails, and arguably, oval chainrings would not be gaining popularity among mountain bikers if that technology did not exist. SRAM’s X-Sync 2 chainrings use their next-gen tooth profile in addition to narrow-wide, and Sync 2’s taller teeth may play a positive role, further preventing a derail as the gyrating chain feeds onto the flatter side of the oval chainring.

SRAM X-Sync 2 Oval chainring 2017


Trail Report

Anyone who has installed a SRAM direct mount chainring will vouch for how simple the task is. An 8mm Allen removes the crankset, and the chainring pops off after removing three screws with a T25 Torx bit. The crank’s spline prevents the oval chainring from being improperly indexed so, reverse the steps, torque the screws and, boom, you are ready to ride.

I am used to oval chainrings, but bike testing requires me to switch back and forth from round to oval, often on the same day, so there is always a brief period when my legs are acclimating to the different sensation. I was encouraged by how natural the X-Sync 2 Oval felt from the outset, and by how quiet the SRAM chainring was. All fresh chainrings make noise initially as the sharp edges and fresh anodizing meshes with the chain various angles. Most new sprockets buzz for at least one ride, oval rings usually take twice as long to bed in. The SRAM chainring was silent running within the first half hour on the trail and stayed that way to date. Remarkable, especially because oval rings usually project a subtle pulsing sound.

Big claims have been put forth in support of (and arguing against) oval chainrings. I’ll refrain from fanning that fire. What I can tell you from back to back rides on the same bike using SRAM Eagle round and oval sprockets, is that anytime traction is lacking, or when climbing requires maximum efforts over uneven terrain, the oval chainring is the clear winner. Heart rates are lower and the legs tend to roll through the crank-circle in situations where they would most often stall powering a round ring.

Overall, pedaling with the X-Sync 2 Oval makes it more comfortable to push a taller gear, topping rolling climbs where I would be reaching for a downshift. At speed, or when the trail is flowy, if there are advantages between the two, they are negligible. The most apparent benefits, the ones first timers will reap, are a lot more traction and stronger, more fluid technical climbing.


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesSRAM's X-Sync 2 Oval chainrings earn a top of the class rating from me, and for $119 a pop, they should. I am sure our counterparts in the UK will be rallying around the fact that good-quality oval chainrings can be had for almost a fourth of that figure. That said, if you are running an Eagle drivetrain, SRAM now gives you the option to upgrade to an exceptional oval chainring that retains the construction and performance features of the original.RC



185 Comments

  • 122 5
 SRAM, you are making great stuff. However, $120 for a chainring cranked out of Taiwan/ China where you only had to adjust a current CAD file to oval (yes there is a bit more to it , but not much) is ridiculous. Same machine time for this vs. any other of your narrow wide chainrings.
  • 62 7
 and this is why i dont buy sram in a nut shell
  • 27 2
 @adrennan: too much emphasis on innovation (note, i'm not against innovation per se), too little emphasis on making a product that works well for less money. love shimano because they balance those concerns much better.
  • 23 2
 @xeren: and when shimano puts something to market, it actually works (see guide brakes for example, supposed to fix all the issues the elixir had but the levers stick if it is too warm out)
  • 17 3
 all that R&D implementing something that has already been done must have cost a fortune though
  • 4 2
 @singleandluvinit: Agree. However, this was only a small modification to the current round rings. Same tooth pattern, same basic spline/design, same dimensions on the direct mount, etc. I am all for making money. However, this is silly. I hope they sell enough and all the smaller competitors also sell plenty.
  • 2 0
 @xeren: That's how it seems to me. SRAM puts out something groundbreaking, Shimano releases the same thing but cheaper and more reliable a few years down the road.
  • 22 5
 @adrennan: Tell that to all the dodgy M8000 XT's that had to be replaced, or the 2014 season when most of our Shimano OEM brakes had to be returned because of faulty calipers or pads. I'm not against Shimano but people seem to ignore their little product failures.
  • 10 3
 @NickB01: i have never heard of that. every shimano brake i have ever used from below deore level to saint has been flawless.
  • 3 0
 @adrennan: and what? Many many many many if not almost all other companies?
  • 7 0
 @adrennan: I didn't even know you could buy SRAM, in a Nut Shell. That's awesome.
  • 15 0
 SRAM in a nutshell... Tech guy comes to our shop about a year ago to talk about product. While talking about xsync he demonstrates its chain retention. He then asks us to get any other narrow-wide rings we had in stock to test, we find out the wolf tooth ring holds just as well. All the others failed his test. His response was they "found a way around the patent for the tooth profile and we have them in court right now actually". Then we ask about oval rings. He says it blows up the clutch in a type 2.1 derailleur and the data and science just isn't there. Now they sell oval rings. And now there is type 3.0. And suddenly it doesn't blow out your clutch anymore I guess? And now I suppose there is data and science to warrant making them? Annnd they didnt squash wolf tooth soooooo....
I still ride their stuff though because it's what came on my bike. I have no loyalties.
  • 3 0
 @adrennan: That's my point. Just because you've never heard of it doesn't mean it doesn't exist, yet odds are you hear all about Srams issues because its the cool thing to do on Pinkbike. Never mind the fact I've owned multiple pairs of Guide since before their public launch, from RS to Ultimate and never had a problem. The only brake problem I've ever had was my left Saint lever on my Session had to be replaced due to a sticky piston...
  • 1 0
 Yep. Pure profiteering.
  • 1 0
 Who pays the retail?
  • 4 2
 @xeren: I wouldn't call this innovation. My road bike from 23 years ago had oval chainrings.
  • 1 0
 @smoothmoose: you're right about the oval, but i just mean SRAM in general- prioritizing "innovation" (or their version of it) over every other important factor in business

but if you're talking about biopace, biopace was rotated 90 degrees from modern oval rings
  • 1 0
 You can get a stainless steel oval for about the same from Wolftooth, which should last wayyy longer for about 100$
www.wolftoothcomponents.com/collections/stainless-steel
  • 1 0
 @skilots: all SRAM customers pay retail since you can't find SRAM online at the usual places that sell parts for a reasonable price. You can only pick them up from your LBS who charges retail (who have to order them in), or the U.S. online stores that are forced to charge MSRP or MAP.
  • 1 0
 If Absolute Black don't already have one out they will soon for a fraction of the price. Been using their oval direct mount on a set of X01 cranks for about 3 years and only just replaced it, faultless piece of kit, machined beautifully and most importantly 50 quid delivered.
  • 1 0
 @bicimane: haha the data isn't there!! I'm sure the science from road cycling where they have used oval rings for years would have been very useful. Unless they cared enough to worry about frame designers and how oval rings will effect peddle bob which I doubt
  • 1 7
flag lifeskyline (Sep 10, 2017 at 20:40) (Below Threshold)
 Please, there is no Taiwan/China. There is only China.
  • 5 0
 @lifeskyline: Incorrect, there is a Taiwan that is/has been separate from China since your 'revolution' and Mao was responsible for the deaths of millions. Those opposed to Communist repression fled to Taiwan. British ruled for sometime. You should look it up and do some research IF you can manage to get around your BS censorship.
  • 2 0
 @lifeskyline: Edit. Hong Kong was my intention. Tawain didn't have many Han Chinese until the 1800's. WWII caused some confusion. Many governments still consider Tawain legitimate and independent from China.
I'm going for a ride and a beer
  • 37 1
 At that price I'll stick to my OneUp Switch setup. You can get a spider and two rings from them for the same price and they've been trouble-free with my Eagle drivetrain.
  • 43 57
flag racecase (Sep 7, 2017 at 9:36) (Below Threshold)
 calm down, no one is forcing you to buy 80's technology-
  • 4 0
 Are your ring normal narrow/wide teeth? Are all normal rings compatible with eagle
  • 20 2
 @YouHadMeAtDrugs: Eagle and a 3x drivetrain = UNSTOPPABLE!!!
  • 36 3
 @racecase: for the last time, Biopace from the 80's is not the same thing as the modern oval rings!

biopace made the pedal stroke easier where you have the most power. it was stupid

modern rings make the pedal stroke harder where you have the most power. a 32T ring feels like 34T when attacking and 30T when climbing. i'll never go back to a non-oval ring
  • 21 1
 @racecase: current ovals are not biopace, as tiresome numbers of people have already explained.
  • 11 1
 @YouHadMeAtDrugs: I don't know if all are, but OneUp's rings work fine. AbsoluteBlack's rings are also Eagle compatible.
  • 3 1
 @DrPete: not sure what kind of doctor you are, but you dont sould like a dentist....
  • 4 0
 @DrPete: Actually, the 12 speed eagle chain is a bit narrower. This can cause more noise and faster wear in an absolute black oval chain ring. I switched out my AB chain ring for the eye watering MSRP price. I'm not a dentist, i just ride a dentist's bike.
  • 9 0
 @dtax: I'm a vascular surgeon, but I'm in the Army. I can't compete with the dentists on my salary. Smile
  • 48 19
 "I am sure our counterparts in the UK will be rallying around the fact that good-quality oval chainrings can be had for almost a fourth of that figure."

What is a forth? Do you mean a quarter? Despite this, even our super expensive Absolute black rings (which are amazing) are a 2nd of the price of these Sram rings
  • 13 3
 I second your comment
  • 23 16
 one, one half, one fourth, one eighth, etc is acceptable English and more commonly used than one quarter nowadays.
  • 24 11
 @hamncheez: great, I'll call your 25c coins "fourths" then.
  • 25 2
 The Pinkbike proper English discussion again Rolleyes
  • 9 6
 @mbl77: In the context of measures, one-fourth is as correct as one quarter, and is used far more frequently, especially for English as a second language. Tell me, what is the 'one quarter' equivalent of 1/8?
  • 11 0
 @hamncheez: what do the Canadians think? It's their website...
  • 21 3
 Seriously? A fourth is more than acceptable terminology.

Also if you are going to try a mocking toned comment about language you should really learn how to spell. "forth" indeed.
  • 51 0
 one eighth is about $40 where I come from Smile
  • 11 2
 "
What is a forth? Do you mean a quarter? Despite this, even our super expensive Absolute black rings (which are amazing) are a 2nd of the price of these Sram rings"


forth means onwards e.g from this moment forth, it has nothing to do with fractions.
  • 2 0
 I'll take 2.
  • 3 0
 @hamncheez: one half quarter?
  • 8 2
 Yup, once you go Absolute Black, you never go back (except to the free clinic).
  • 6 0
 @dbodoggle: Indeed. Pinkbike comments section - the ultimate authority on proper English.

This may be just a difference in terminology across the pond. An Englishman professor of mine used to jokingly refer to "Two cultures divided by a common language".
  • 3 0
 @mbl77: haha brilliant.
  • 5 0
 @BenPea: Obviously a half-a-half. Dunno what's wrong with the rest of the world.
  • 4 0
 Is that metric?
  • 1 0
 @Dethphist: a double of eighths?
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: That would be a Henry!
  • 1 1
 You must have been out riding instead of going to school and learning what a forth is Perfectly acceptable word which I use all the time. I only use a quarter when dealing with measurements i.e. a quarter inch
  • 2 1
 @pimpedupmonkey: Once again, forth is a process one undertakes; ie 'we went forth to ride our bikes'.
  • 3 0
 Since this thread won't die:

It might be tempting to assume that forth and fourth are two different spellings of the same word, and that one is the American and one is the British spelling. This convention holds true for many similar words in which a U follows an O, and is in turn followed by a consonant.

In this case, however, these two words are completely different. If the word you are using is an adjective, choose fourth. If you are using the word as an adverb, it should be spelled forth.

You can remember that fourth is an adjective describing a number in a sequence since it corresponds with the number four, and you write four on your way to spelling fourth.

writingexplained.org/fourth-or-forth-difference
  • 2 0
 @dbodoggle: you can send a monkey to space but you can't make him drink... Or something...
  • 1 0
 @BenPea: That's awesome. Going to use it in my next meeting here at work.
  • 2 0
 @dbodoggle: I'll hold you to that.
  • 18 2
 why the f*ck would I buy this when Wolftooth makes better shit at a better price?
  • 2 0
 The cool bird logo??

Hard to justify the price for a pretty bird...
  • 11 0
 Put a bird on it.
  • 1 0
 @Lookinforit: Nothing better than a pretty bird ;-)
  • 2 0
 And made in the US.
  • 11 0
 Sram has an impressive ability to "optimize" their selling points that's for sure...

Don't see an significant advantage over whats out there already at a fraction of the price.

Nice try though.. doh
  • 4 0
 THe hook tooth profile does work better- it probably doesn't retain any better, but it wears down more slowly and might do better in muddy conditions. Whether its $80 better I'm not so sure.
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: I was pro oval till i switched back to a round and did not feel a loss climbing at all. You "feel" the oval at first and i think this is the gimmick to making it climb better.

I will agree the new sram rings are smoother, quieter. Yet to see the wear performance, only have the dakota 50 mile race on mine but all the paints missing off the teeth.
  • 12 0
 just took a look at my wallet and it looks a bit light to buy another sram product...
  • 15 2
 for that price you can get an entire crankset
  • 7 0
 and a decent one at that
  • 11 0
 Carbon Diamonback Levelink?!
  • 4 0
 Yeah, tell us about that! Saw Mike Hopkins on one in Whistler.
  • 1 0
 Haha my thoughts too. Way more interested in that.
  • 8 2
 Says he's not going to fan the flames then states: "Heart rates are lower and the legs tend to roll through the crank-circle in situations where they would most often stall powering a round ring."

I wonder how much SRAM contributes to Pinkbike's bottom line? All good though, we all have to make money somehow.
  • 7 6
 If oval were better, all the pros would have been on it for some time.
  • 4 0
 "the legs tend to roll through the crank-circle in situations where they would most often stall powering a round ring."

that's absolutely true of all modern oval rings, though. that's the whole point of them.
  • 9 0
 @McNubbin: ummmmm you mean like the guys that have won the tour using them? I'm sure we'll see more XC guys on them now that SRAM has them available and they have the off season to play with them.
  • 2 0
 To be fair, he does go on to say that it is of negligible advantage at faster speeds and on slower terrain. After spending significant time on round and oval, I wholeheartedly agree with his assessment.
  • 3 2
 Other brands get barely anything for more complicated products sram gets a multiple page spread and terms like"remarkable" for making a quiet chainring... Id love to see how much sram pay...
  • 10 0
 Holding out for the new oval wheelset
  • 10 0
 I think Greg Minnaar has one for you
  • 1 0
 Hold no more! Here you go: youtu.be/HqgR9Hq90Ts
  • 6 0
 I got my 32t narrow wide oval chain ring delivered to my door for $12 Canadian (that's like $3.50 USD) in three weeks. Straight from Asia, prolly machined in the same shop. Ppl say support your lbs but its hard when the srams and shims won't pass the opportunity on to the lbs s. This sham chain ring should retail for $36 max! Lbs suffer because of crap like this!
  • 9 0
 Anyone out there actually use an oval chainring? Does it help?
  • 9 1
 I agree 100% with RC- its a subtle change that you feel in the parking lot but not on the trail. However, when you spin thousands of RPMs on a ride, that subtle change adds up. I have a lot less knee pain, plus you can scratch your way up difficult climbs more easily. Not a super game changer, but a nice incremental improvement none the less
  • 2 0
 I run a wolf tooth, honestly didnt notice a difference but I did switch from a 30t round to a 34t oval so maybe thats whats up ha.
my biggest issue with it is I run the wolf tooth chain catch too on it which they say works with their oval rings but at the same time sometimes Ive managed to drop the chain through the catch when the ovals at its small part. f*cking sucks especially in a race cause you have to manhandle it back into the catcher.
(could be its just time for a new chainring for me.)
  • 10 0
 I'm using Absolute Black oval rings on my bikes. Been using them since they were launched. I'm getting the same results as in the review, better results on steep climb over round rings. It's also easier on my knees. Outside of that, there is no other benefit over a round ring.
  • 2 0
 I had one on my last bike and really liked it - it just feels easier to pedal to me. I can't say how much of that was just down to a bit of halo effect, but my average speed did climb fractionally. I'm not on one now, as my XT chainset doesn't have the right chainring bolt configuration to carry it over, but when I replace my ring it will be with an oval one.

It's worth asking around as you could probably find someone with one locally to try before you buy, but if not you could always sell it on. It's a bit more of a risk given the price of this one though - mine was an Absolute Black one for £45 or so? I think Superstar Components here in the UK do a cheaper version though...
  • 6 0
 yes. i'll never go back to a non-oval ring. you don't even notice it until you are standing and climbing something steep out of the saddle, and it's just much easier to get the crank rotated around from the weak part of your pedal stroke. completely worth it.
  • 5 0
 I do use an AbsoluteBlack chainring! The funny part was that I didn't feel any difference while pedalling when I first tried it! But on those long climbs you do regularly, it does make a differwnce! The problem was when I pedaled on a friend's bike after using oval for some time, the normal chainring on his bike felt very strange! I won't go back to normal chainrings.
  • 4 1
 I did a calculation about how much it should help in theory recently. It turned out to be a few percent, I think between 5 and 10 percent for a 28-30-32....................12.5% I think, 6.25% less and 0 power, 6.25% more at 100% power. So instead of 100km you'd go 112.5km, not really that important for me on a mountain bike (I just do it for fun), but helpful I guess nonetheless.
  • 1 0
 @lRaphl: I was going to write exactly the same thing. Most, including myself, won't even notice the difference in the pedal stroke from the oval shape.
  • 2 0
 I think it makes a difference. I came from road biking so I like to spin a high cadence when climbing but when it slows down and gets chunky I would struggle a bit with the round ring. I definitely think its helps with traction and getting through rooty rocky climbs.
  • 3 0
 +1 for Absolute Black oval rings. I have been running them for 3 years now. Same as RC's assessment.
  • 2 0
 I do. It does. On low speed tech climbs in particular.

Had been using Rotor granny rings for many years for that reason. Had not been using in middle ring position as it would shift like crap (and less benefits), but now with 1x drivetrains that point is moot.
  • 3 0
 I use one on my HT and found I had more traction on climbs due to the more consistent torque output it offers. I love my OneUp traction ring and will likely buy an oval ring again.
  • 4 0
 I love my OneUp oval CR. Noticeably easier on the long slog-it-out climbs; however I dislike it for stair-step climbs that require trials like skills, back pedal to torque at just the right timing. In that situation I sometimes hit the oval's dead zone right when I need the most power to clear a step. Just my 2 cents.
  • 4 2
 Yes I thought I would give it a try and to be honest I could not tell any difference from a normal round chain ring , People then told me if I now went back to a round chain ring I would definitely feel the difference ,so when it wore out I put original round ring on and guess what !!! I could not tell any difference , If there is a difference its very very small
  • 4 0
 I think it helps maintain traction on steep climbs by evening out the torque throughout the whole pedal stroke, especially at low cadences. It have been riding AB rings for several years and prefer them when trying back to back. They do feel a bit odd at high cadences, but I usually only notice it on the pavement to/from a trail. Fitment with chain guides can be a bit funky.
  • 3 1
 I switched to an Absolute Black Oval at the beginning of this season. I haven't noticed a single bit of difference.
  • 1 1
 I have had a couple oval rings, wolftooth and absolute black i think. I have kept the 30t oval on my fatbike but have switched to a 30t regular over the 34t oval i was using on my 29er xc race bike. I do notice a slight difference but strava says im faster with my 30t then my 34 oval. Top end is obviously limited, but i calculated that i ride in 2,3,4,5 on a xtr 11 speed 11-40 for 80% of my ride, with the 34t oval, 5,6,7,8 on the 30t. To me this is a better chainline. I have gone as far as putting a chain that was 3 links too long on my 30t 11-40 so i could notice if i was running in the 9,10,11 at all.The chain slap from the long chain notified me only 3 times in a 25km ride. Thus i have come to a conclusion , that people of regular fitness, who ride regular trails should ride a little less then regular gearing.
  • 3 0
 I'm using a one up 34 oval ring, came from a 32 round. During the first short rides on my home turf i didnt notice anything and was disappointed. But then i went on a three day trip with long climbs, and noticed two improvements: significantly less fatigue than with the round rings, and really better traction when climbing on loose gravel. It chhanged my opinion.
Dropped chains are as rare as with the rounds.

Fwiw i ride a 2013 steel honzo with 1x10, 11-42 cog. Non clutch x7 derailleur.

Long story short: give em a try!
  • 2 0
 Yes, so much. It's faster and easier. Especially on a single speed where everything is low rpm but high torque and your always wrenching on the pedals and handle bars. If you ride a single speed you need an oval chainring. I got a 9 dollar one from China, works perfect. Never dropped a chain but I also have horizontal dropouts and no derailer, difference in tension from hard to easy part of the ring is only like 2 or 3 mm. The only problem is that on the easy part or the ring, with the little bit of slack, it shakes and makes a little noise whereas round chai rings are totally silent. Also you should get a single speed, so much fun, so cheap and easy, and it'll turn you into a monster.
  • 2 0
 Better stroke (really useful over technical features requiring timing) and smoother.....my knees are grateful....really pays off when you doing miles regularly or taking a month off to ride everyday....try it you wont regret it.
  • 1 0
 @bvd453: You definitely notice it, but you get used to it, and stop noticing it after the first ride or two. The funny thing is, when you jump on a bike with a round chainring, after being used to oval, you also notice it feels a little funny and awkward, then you get used to that again. It's not that it doesn't make a difference, it's just that humans adapt pretty quickly. You still get the traction benefits even if you don't notice the ovaliness.
  • 1 0
 @TucsonDon: What I should have said is that the stroke doesn't seem non-round. I put at least 800 miles on a 32t Absolute Black oval ring and it just seems like there's a spot in the rotation where there's slightly less effort needed to push the crank relative to a round ring. I don't dislike them, but I haven't noticed an improvement in climbing times although I'd agree it would help in steep, techy climbing. My purchase was to reduce knee stress which I DO think the shape helps with.
  • 1 0
 @bvd453: I agree with you. It doesn't feel non-round. It feels a little different the first 5 minutes or so, or less, but you quickly get used to it. I think it probably does help with knee stress. I like mine. I don't think they hurt my performance and I needed a chainring for switching to 1x anyway. I think there is a benefit, but I think it's too subtle to notice consciously. It might show up in the data if I bothered to do some sort of comparison using power meters and all that, but I just want to ride my bike, and it works well for that. So I'm happy.
  • 9 1
 It's funny. Going to the dentist to remove narrow/wide teeth allows the dentist to get narrow/wide teeth.
  • 3 0
 Ran Wolftooth and Absolute Blacks chainrings, recently switched to an SRAM ring and my drivetrain is a lot quieter and smoother. But the price is way to high compared to competition.
  • 1 0
 Currently running a Blackspire oval ring.. Haven't noticed any noise other than the deafening creaking of my 2004 octalink crankset. Chainring is silent enough. This is my first aluminium chainring (was using 9 euro Deore steel rings) and, after having noticed that Wolftooth does make them in steel I'll probably go back once this one wears out. Steel will probably be noisier as aluminium is softer. The article doesn't mention the alloy used but yeah if it is soft enough it will be silently and smootly grind away.
  • 2 0
 Neutrino components, look it up... I like the rings because they are about $30-35 dollars. And same quality as other offers.
Shipping takes a little bit. I think only boost offset.
I can understand rotor rings being a little more expensive as you can adjust the position, but somebody as sram must be out of touch with reality thinking they can sell these for more than $60-70.
  • 5 0
 For Eagles that can't fly straight?
  • 3 1
 £28.00 from Works Components and made in England, same from SS, Hope at a little more.

Eagle compatibility is a myth - the chain is just slightly thinner, eagle chains work on almost any 11spd designed ring.
  • 1 1
 Why the first comment avout Works ovals are this low? Been riding one for a year now and not going back. They may not make sense for a road bike where you spin at high cadence, but offroad where you rely on torque more and have all kinds of funky situations, it just makes your life easier and pedalling that much more comfortable. Not going back to round.
  • 3 1
 @hirvi: small company I suppose, more people know about Hope - Absolute Black , Oneup etc, especially outside the UK
  • 2 0
 As I'm looking for a chainring to be used in a 1x9 setup, with lots of flat commuting, would an oval give me a bit more top end speed than the same sized round one without sacrificing climbing ability?
  • 6 0
 No
  • 1 0
 Tested the sram oval after 2 years on wolftooth oval. Sram oval dosen't work for me. I get back on a wolftooth oval after 3 ride! On the sram, you need to deliver the power too early or too late in my opinion! some things dosen't work and It killed my legs!
  • 1 0
 I do notice that as I get older I back off of full effort climbs quicker than I used to and it isn't due to my heart of lungs. I think I am trying to preserve my knees at this point. I would try something like these rings, just not at this price. Oh and Biopace was crap, but so many people hyped it back in the day. Ugh...sounds like they have it figured out now.
  • 1 0
 I think these days the oval has been turned 90 deg to Biopace. Biopace had the long lever in the dead part of the stroke to even out the torque, whereas these have the longer lever where your leg is strongest.
  • 1 0
 Real price $19 price to marked up because people will pay $119. Guarantee if sold at $19 they would still have a 300% mark up. If everybody just stopped buying all bike related stuff for one year just imagine how cheap everything would get.
  • 3 0
 @WAKIdesigns if you wan to compare 2 rings, compare the same sizes, there's no much point in saying that you haven't felt any difference if you didn't get the size right
  • 1 0
 Oh Jesus, apart from the fact that people claim they increase grip and are better for standing pedaling. Which I haven't experienced despite being a prime example of what companies see as target group. Nevermind.
  • 1 0
 at that price I would rather f*ck my own face. thanks SRAM, you're always good for a laugh!

"the only chainring optimized for eagle."

Does SRAM think the world is retarded? Do they not understand there is multiple companies making parts that work with their shit drive trains and make them less shit?

Here's an idea SRAM, why don't you make something that's not a 1xshit?
  • 1 0
 Does anyone have any experience changing chains on the new XSync2 tooth shape? Every time I change a chain on a wolftooth narrow/wide I have to change the chainring also to avoid grinding noises. If the XSync2 allowed two chains per chainring it might be worth it. But I still wouldn't buy one unless they bring out 30T. This shouldn't be a freak item: 30T via 29 wheels is just like 32T on 27.5
  • 1 0
 Each ring(round or oval) has its benefits. As a Machinist, I think that the price of each ring shouldn't be so far apart as the programming on a CNC mill is very similar ring to ring.
Though, for what you are usuing it for can vary and there may not be a right or wrong in that case

Pros: round rings promote consistency in drivetrain wear and pedalling patterns. Cheaper by cents
Cons: well there isnt really many cons for round. Chain drives are 98% efficient by the books with round sprockets as a base efficiency

Pros: oval rings can be more efficient during mid stroke where you arent in your most effective leg position, making it able to turn a higher gear as it has a progressive ramp up to a larger diameter. ( aggressive cams can be ineffiecient to run, bit output is greater) so it may not work in every case.
You may not be prone to spin-out on high torque climbs as it uses that energy up as the ring gets bigger.

Cons: uneven wear on large diameter/ pressure points.
Poor shifting( if using derailleur)
Not every ring cam design will suit riders
Drivetrain wear( although during a run your derailleur moves with every one of those 3000 bumps your beautifully designed suspension soaks up, clutch or not) so wear is negligible.
Can increase the chance of a chain breaking.

Now really, unless you have the hulks legs, or money to blow, the majority of us dont need this tech. But it has its benefits absolutely. Just like clipless pedals or 29 inch wheels or all the carbon things or coil or air or tubeless tires.
Everything finds its place....as long as its got two wheels and goesSmile Smile Smile Smile Smile
  • 5 0
 +1 for Absolute Black.
  • 4 0
 Optomized. You mean works with nothing else.
  • 1 1
 I got pretty excited when I saw the number "2" in the name, even though I rationally knew SRAM wouldn't make a 2* compatible oval. Disappointed as I'm a tech climber and would like to try oval rings.

#2*moreGearRangeThan1*forLife
  • 6 5
 Yuck, I seriously hope that this ovalisation doesn't happen to chainrings large scale in the same way 26" wheels have been left behind...
  • 5 2
 dude, oval rings are nice. Try one.
  • 2 0
 @trialsracer: They might work alright but they look horrendous and don't offer all that much of an advantage to make them worth while in my view.
  • 2 0
 wolftooth for 1/2 the price and have 28 and 30t available. I love my 28t. I use much more of my cassette now.
  • 1 0
 Agreed. I run a 28t and can stay with a 11-36 10 speed cassette now. No need for the big bailout gear using this setup, where I ride.
  • 1 0
 I tried oval, I could feel the difference but didn't like it. I also felt bad for the rear derailleur damn thing got a workout.
  • 2 0
 OK so I am not the only one... I tried it too but went back to normal.
  • 1 0
 Pardon my naivety but why would a front derailleur prevent Sram from creating oval chainrings? Roadies like Froome has oval 2x cranksets for years
  • 4 0
 Davefw: Road bikes don't get thrashed around like mountain bikes do, so they can get away with oval or asymmetric two-by drivetrains. They still shift poorly and, if you get a chance to walk around the pits at a ProTour race, you'll notice that all of them use some sort of additional chain guide on the inside of the chainring to stave off a derail.
  • 2 0
 @davefw Froome is running ossymetric rings, which are very different than oval. The shape is more extreme as the difference between the large part of the ring and the small part of the ring is way bigger than a oval ring. Moreover the shape is not linear as it has square edges. Those are the main issue affecting shifting. Froome needs to run inner and outer chainkeeper.

People and pros running Rotor oval rings (the oval shape everybody is copying nowadays), do not have any issues with shifting, either on road or mtb. And they have been around for ages taking podiums at big time events.

Sram is just making up stories to portrait themself as the "cool innovative bla bla bla", the truth is they did not even consider oval rings until it become a considerable market share.
  • 2 0
 Kind of off topic, but is that the new Diamondback Release in a red carbon frame?
  • 2 0
 $119 USD. Only from SRAM.

I will continue to use other oval chainrings, thanks.
  • 3 1
 Late to the party-oneup makes a nice oval...AB as well and that was long ago-
  • 1 0
 I might try one of these once my Absolute Black wears out, but man that's a lot for a chainring.
  • 2 0
 Someday when they aren't $120 I'll have to try one.
  • 1 0
 a bunch of companies already make them, like wolftooth and 1up
  • 1 0
 Here....

www.ebay.ca/itm/Bike-Single-Narrow-Wide-Round-Oval-Chainring-Chain-Ring-BCD-104mm-32-34-36-38T/282473835587?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&var=581620693104&_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649

That's for a 104 4-bolt pattern for $17.80 USD with free international shipping for a 32T size (took about 8 days from China to Ottawa, Ontario for the one I ordered last week) but you can find others on ebay in different bolt patterns including SRAM's direct mount one.

Here's one for the new style shimano 10/11 speed 4-bolt cranks like SLX/XT starting at $32USD with shipping for a 30T....

www.ebay.com/itm/Narrow-Wide-Chainring-Neutrino-Components-Shimano-M7000-M8000-30-36t-Oval-Round-/252813938573?var=&hash=item3adce28f8d:m:mDuAJLA9oXvWKObhYCziUFA
  • 2 0
 This.

The mark up on bike parts is really sickening these days. Used to be you could get an XT set for a reasonable price and the benefit was worth it. These days? Not so much. SRAM seems to have adopted the Shimano practice for premium kit. Too bad!
  • 2 0
 @deeeight: yep...I paid $16 for a Deckas NW oval 32t on eBay. Quality is great, oval design is maybe 20-45 degrees off, but at that price I don't care. Pedals great, just not AS great as a perfectly designed one at a much higher cost.
  • 1 0
 @Warburrito: this is why lbs suffer, its not your fault for going to eBay, its seams fault for gauging. I got mine for $12 Canadian
  • 1 1
 Oval chain rings and clutch does not make sense. Every pedal stroke makes the rear mech move and you are wasting your precious watts.
  • 3 0
 Ever used one? This is a pretty big myth, you won't wear a clutch out with an oval ring.
  • 1 0
 @Racer951: I'm not talking about wearing the clutch. But it takes a small amount of power to make the rear mech move back and forth. Especially when you use a mech with clutch. It's like when your suspension is much more efficient when you're riding without a chain. And yes, I have been riding with different types of oval rings.
  • 2 1
 Oval, just like my head bwahahaha!
  • 1 0
 More options-only from Sram
  • 1 0
 I like One Up on an XT8000 crank. Cheaper.
  • 1 0
 How they play with upper chain guides?
  • 1 0
 wotks really well. I have a 30t and set my guide between 30-32 and no drops.
  • 1 0
 about time we got an accidental picture of the DB carbon release!
  • 5 7
 I wish I would've kept my Shimano BioPace rings from my 90s diamondback topanga. They'd be worth as much as I paid for my whole bike back then... Maybe.
  • 5 0
 I bet they were enduro anodised also
  • 3 1
 biopace are 50% off what modern oval rings are. I don't know who thought it was a good idea, but biopace is the completel opposite of what you want- its geared higher between pedal strokes and geared lower on the down stroke.
  • 2 0
 No one would want them still.....still crap....
  • 3 0
 biopace had its ovality (?) rotated 90 degrees. it worked differently.
  • 2 1
 @xeren:

You know you could change the orientation of he biopace rings right ? You didn't HAVE to mount them as shimano suggested.
  • 1 0
 @deeeight: I guess, but that's not how they were supposed to be set up. it's a different idea, even if the chainrings are both ovals
  • 1 0
 You all know you wanna try them. Maybe mine were installed wrong cuz I remember out climbing all my friends with ease. Rigid Cromoly frame and form too. It was a beast. Big jumps never even bent the wheels out of true. I did have fat tires protecting them though. I miss it. Is still have it if it didn't get stolen.
  • 9 11
 Am I the only one who tried oval and felt... bullsht? I switch back and forth between Absolute black oval 34t and round Race Face 36 and feel no fkng difference what so ever.
  • 2 0
 It's comments like this that keep me on a round ring. I have friends that use them and like them but I'm not so sure I'm sold. And if you're not noticing a difference, what's the point?
  • 1 0
 @wcjrush: Just try one for yourself. I did and have now used them non stop for 3 years. First part to come off a new bike is the chainring, round rings just feel wrong now somehow.
  • 10 0
 So you can not tell difference between 34t and 36t? I think you are not qualified to have an opinion then.
  • 2 0
 depemds on the person too. I used it to help reduced my knee pains.
  • 3 0
 I noticed a subtle difference immediately when going to an Absolute Black ring. My pedal strokes "feel" rounder and my climbing has improved. I'm probably not any faster, but climbs fatigue me less than they did with a round ring. Its not a night-and-day difference but enough for me to want to stick with the oval ring.
  • 2 0
 @ratedgg13: what brand and what size are you using? I'm on a 32t right now with a 1x11. Should I stick with a 32 if I try an oval
  • 3 0
 @wcjrush: That's what I did, 32t round to 32t oval. This quote is from AB's website: "32T oval ring will suit best someone who uses round 32T chainring currently. While pedaling, you will feel quite similar effort to the one riding round 31T ring (as the smallest diameter of the oval is 30T), but you will gain the speed similar to riding 33/34T chainring."
  • 4 0
 @wcjrush: I've been using Absolute Black (current ring has lasted me two seasons on my trail bike with minimal wear). I'm on a 32 so I'd stick with a 32, but you could try a 34 as well, as the "hard" part of your stroke is now minimized by the ovality.
  • 2 2
 I tried an AB oval ring for a while and went back to round. For one thing, it actually made my knee pain worse. Also, in contrast to the oval claims, my pedal stroke felt less round with the oval ring and I eventually got sick of the "mushy" feel/feedback it gave. And my hub was taking a beating as the oval ring caused a very significant engagement hit that I never noticed with round rings. Lastly, like others have mentioned, I didn't like how the oval gave my derailleur such a workout. So, I'm down with round.
  • 2 0
 @daddydonuts: you need biopace then. It should do the opposite for your knee. Shame it isn't 1988.
  • 3 0
 My personal experience with oval rings (absolute black) has been great on larger sizes and not much difference at all on smaller rings. When I mounted an oval 38T on my cyclocross I noticed a nice improvement over round. But when I mounted a 30T on my mtb I could not tell a difference in terms of improved efficiency over the round one. If anything it got rid on those few seconds of weird feeling when switching between bikes and going from to oval to round in terms of pedal stroke/motion...nothing more though. I guess it must be down to the physics of a larger vs smaller diameter
  • 4 0
 @BenPea: Nah, I'm gonna keep to round chain rings, but as soon as they have oval shaped wheels, I'll be all over that!
  • 1 0
 I'm thinking maybe a 36t
  • 1 0
 Options are good.
  • 1 0
 38 th.love

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