The folks at Absolute Black are expanding their oval chainring offerings to include road-ready ovals for 2x drivetrains, aero chainrings for fast single ring setups and more narrow/wide oval options for cyclocross. They’ve also expanded the mountain bike offerings to include Shimano bolt patterns.
The most eye catching product, though, was the aero chainring, which offers an oval shape for 1x applications and a unique spiral groove pattern to brush the air off…
The new Aero Oval chainring for SRAM DM will come in 50 and 52 tooth counts. Regarding the design, founder Marcin said dimples would be slightly more aero, but they’re incredibly hard to manufacture, taking about 30 minutes per ring. But, borrowing concepts from the golf ball industry, a grooved surface proved to be just as aero in certain conditions that somewhat carryover to cycling. They’re not making any specific aero gain claims other than to say it’s more aero than a flat surface.
The design is patent pending, with that protection covering mainly the structure on the backside. The flat sections between the machined struts is just 1mm thick, but the rest of it makes it very stiff.
At launch, it’ll only be offered as a 1x with narrow/wide tooth patterns. He’ll be developing a round big ring that will be shiftable to pair with his smaller oval ring for double setups. Retail will be €145. All of these silver rings are prototypes, finished products will be in black.
Retail is €145 / £105 / $165, available in a 52-tooth ring at first with other sizes to follow.
Absoluteblack’s founder Marcin told us, “When in the big ring, an oval on the road does not make sense as you have high rpm’s and a dead spot is not an issue at all. But when you climb while in the small ring on the road, you pedal slower and this is where the oval chainring shines”. Another big plus for only going oval on a small chainring is that there is no difficult adjustment to make to the front derailleur like there is on systems where both rings are Oval. And with that, he’s now offering a small-ring-only oval option to fit a Shimano double crankset, shown above on the Ultegra arm.
It’ll come in 110/4 and 110/5 BCDs with 34 and 36 tooth options. It’s not a narrow wide pattern, instead using the same cuts and tooth shaping as Shimano’s chainring to facilitate shifting.
Apparently, ovals are blowing up (we love them!), so Marcin’s been putting together a series of videos that help explain the phenomenon. Here’s the latest.
SRAM Oval CX will soon run from 36t all the way up to 46t, making it perfect for everything from cyclocross to gravel to road. They’ll fit mountain bikes, too, so long as your frame will clear the larger ring sizes.
They’re also working on an oval CX ring with four and five bolt 110bcd patterns in 36, 38 and 40 tooth counts. The four bolt models will use the Shimano asymmetric pattern, so basically they cover all old and new Shimano cranks.
MOUNTAIN BIKE CHAINRINGS & STUFF
Not shown in any particular order, they now have a Cannondale Oval Direct Mount chainring collection for Si/SiSL cranksets in 30/32/34. Retail is €57 ($ and € listed on their website).
The Taco bash guard launched prior to the show, but we learned a bit more about its construction. It starts as a block of polymer with glass and carbon fibers laid in a mostly flat arrangement so that it can flex upward a bit on impact. They then CNC machine it to drop a bit of weight, and the lower section is replaceable.
The copper colored ring was a test sample. It looks good, but is a bit expensive and wouldn’t stay as shiny. One could argue that its weathering would make it look pretty sweet on the right bike, but it’s not likely to make it into mass production.
Shimano fans will be happy to see their new Oval XT and XTR (30/32/34) with the 30 really pushing the limit to how small they can go because of the bolt clearance. They’re made for the current generation with asymmetric bolt patterns.
The XT chainrings will start shipping in late September (€54.99 / £39.99 / $61.99), the XTR rings are available now (€56.99 / £45.99 / $65.99). Both will use the stock bolts that come with the Shimano crankset, so you won’t need to purchase new bolts.