absoluteBLACK bills itself as “a cycling company devoted to extraordinary design, European manufacturing and production of parts that not only perform great, but also last long.” The company is best known for their line of ovalized chainrings, which we’ve tested for both road and mountain bikes in their normal size options.
Now, with gravel road riding and racing here to stay, a plethora of new products have come along specifically for this category. Frames, tyres, suspension, and a push towards 1x single chainring drivetrains coming from a lot of manufacturers. These drivetrains tout simplicity, but not all of us appreciate the related cassettes and their widened gaps between many of the cogs.
The traditional 2x double chainring drivetrains are still used and appreciated by a lot of riders, but their larger range wasn’t always necessary or ideal on gravel. absoluteBLACK has recognized this, mostly in the form new sub-compact chainrings suitable for Shimano cranks.
They debuted their gravel-centric 48/32 and 46/30 Shimano-compatible ovalized chainrings earlier this year, and I was keen to get my hands on a set for long-term review. Here’s how it went, including a thrashing of the 46/30 pair at the 2018 Dirty Kanza 200!
Video by Gravel Cyclist. Jayson O’Mahoney is the Gravel Cyclist: A website about the Gravel Cycling Experience.