The Missing Oval

I’ve been a long term fan of oval rings. I tried them when I had my cycle shop and fell in love with them so much so I’d go as far to say probably pound-for-pound one of the best upgrades you can pop on your bike.

Thats a BOLD statement and I have no personal, empirical data like power numbers to back that claim up but anecdotally I can say I climb faster, recover faster and I’m less fatigued and sore when I ride them.

My turbo bike has a pair of original Q-Rings (46/34) and my beast best bike has a pair of QXL Rings (46/36) which are 16% more oval than standard. They feel weird and stodgy for a few hundred metres then I get used to them but going back to round (gravel & commuter bike) you can just feel the strain needed to get over top dead centre. It’s quite stark and only something you notice if you have to ride round rings after oval.

My QXL rings took me 200km to North Wales

Sadly I now have two bikes which are oval-less. I tried to pop some AbsoluteBlack rings on the Ribble a while back and that failed because the rings caught the frame but more recently my new Dolan GXA has entered my stable but it’s GRX 1x chainset has limited my oval options. Traditionally I’ve always gone for Rotor Q-Rings but they don’t do compatible rings and god knows how long we’ll be waiting for AbsoluteBlack to join the party. So, I’ve been looking at alternatives and there are a few out there.

Front mech shifting issues on oval rings are a myth. If you can’t get them to work, your setup is wrong.

Wolftooth do a nice oval ring but I want/need a 40T. I’d have considered their 38T available if I was using the Dolan offroad more but I’m not so a 40T is a must for me.

shame I couldn’t get it in a 40T

AriBike in Italy is another option but the last pair of rings I bought they insisted on a brand new chain at the same time. Not doing that either

thank god for Google translate

The last option I found was what I’ve gone for. GarbraUK which look like they’re made and shipped from Poland. Bit of a punt really as I have no idea what the quality or ride is like. I hope it will tie me over until AbsoluteBlack get their GRX shit together but in the meantime I have to say the ring pattern looks pretty funky. So far, so good.

The website and techy data look in order making me think it could be a solid purchase but we’ll see. The rings are available in a host of colours too. I did consider an orange one for about 0.001 secs but I’m not enough of a wanker to match my chainring and bar tape lol.

it has to be black on black

But the most important thing is I’ll be oval again very soon. It’s been too long. Maybe my commuting legs will be less sore and fatigued so I can ride more than 3 times a week.

I’ll let you know what they’re like. Stay tuned.

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