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  1. #1
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    Shimano buys Rotor Q-Rings patent, to be OEM on 7900 and EDA

    you decide!!

    WHAT?!

    From the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, a Japanese market and business newspaper, translated from the Japanese:

    Shimano, the Osaka bicycle giant, has purchased a patent from Spain-based Rotor LLC to develop bicycle chain rings. Rotor LLC's "Q-Rings", an oval version of the traditional round bicycle chain ring will be immediately assimilated into the forthcoming Shimano bicycle component lineup, to be released in the third quarter of 2009.

    Tatsuya Yama, the Japanese market Shimano liaison briefly discussed the impact of the patent purchase:

    "We believe the Rotor design is the most efficient chain ring design today. Consequently, it must be the Shimano design as well."

    Yama confirmed that Shimano has already developed a version of the Rotor Q-ring that is currently undergoing testing. The Shimano developed chain ring will feature "distinctive Shimano design branding", as well as have "a few minor bugs (Rotor's) design overlooked worked out", Yama said.

    The new chain rings will be an important element of Shimano's new 7900 version Dura Ace premium bicycle component line up, as well as the heavily anticipated "Electronic" Dura Ace, a sort of automatic transmission for bicycles.

    "You must appreciate the impact this new element will have on the high-end cycling industry" says Yama. "It's unprecedented."
    DIRT BOY

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  2. #2
    now in philadelphia
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    Biopace. Redundant. Pick one.

  3. #3
    More cowbell!
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    It sounds like Shimano already had a similar ring in the works. By buying the patent it covers them against any infringement lawsuits.
    DFL > DNF > DNS

  4. #4
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    So it's an ellipse now instead of a circle, and you'll have to buy all 7900 just to make it compatible... great, just great.

  5. #5
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    I see Q-Rings as OEM on Shimano cranks as exceedingly unlikely, at best.
    1. Shimano no doubt remember how successful Biopace was, so it'd be really strange for them to dive back in with a similar chainring.
    2. Shimano also knows how small the demand is for Q-Rings and how such things are viewed in the cycling world. Q-Rings have not exactly made a big splash.
    3. It's pretty late in the game to change their '09 game plan, especially given that they've already shown some '09 stuff off.
    4. There have been zero reports or photos of any Shimano sponsored teams using Q-Rings.
    5. While pros will generally ride what they're told to ride, getting pros to switch to Q-Rings will be, uhm, difficult.
    6. This would be a huge risk for them, given the new competition from SRAM, possible new offerings from FSA, and the stuff that came out in the last year from that other company whose name I can't remember. A failure of these chainrings/cranksets to sell would give customers to SRAM and Campy.


    With that said, Q-Rings and O.Symmetric are completely different animals from Biopace. Q-Rings allow you to allegedly optimize the position of the chainrings to get rid of the dead spot. O.Symmetric contraptions have their major axis located to remove the deadspot, and that location is completely different then what Biopace's was.

    Any benefit to these chainrings is questionable. Bobby Julich, a great rider, certainly hasn't made huge performance gains with them. Very few pros have adopted either. If there were significant gains to be had, I'll bet pros would be itchin' to use them.

  6. #6
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    as well as the heavily anticipated "Electronic" Dura Ace, a sort of automatic transmission for bicycles.
    wtf?!? They're gonna make a Dura Ace spec'd Trek Lime?

  7. #7
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    Living in the Past

    Quote Originally Posted by MIN in PDX
    Biopace. Redundant. Pick one.
    See, those Shimno engineers never got over the humiliation they suffered with the failure of Bio-Pace. Face was lost. Here's their chance to save some of that face It's still a bad idea.

  8. #8
    now in philadelphia
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    I will support this when I can run q-rings on my fixed gear bike.

  9. #9
    Two scoops of inertia.
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    From their Rotor Cranks' site:

    Will they work on my MTB singlespeed, or track bike?
    Yes. MTB Q-Rings can be used for MTB singlespeed applications. We are testing this system right now for use on track bikes.
    "Do I need to tell you what the f*ck you can do with an aluminum tube? ALUMINUM!"

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MIN in PDX
    Biopace. Redundant. Pick one.

    EXACTLY what I was thinking! It's Shimano Biopace Part II. Ahh yes, the 80s all over again. I guess Shimano doesn't want to give up on the oval chainring idea.

    And anyway, why would Shimano have to buy Rotor's patent??? It was Shimano's idea way before Rotor was even a company.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbedwire
    EXACTLY what I was thinking! It's Shimano Biopace Part II. Ahh yes, the 80s all over again. I guess Shimano doesn't want to give up on the oval chainring idea.

    And anyway, why would Shimano have to buy Rotor's patent??? It was Shimano's idea way before Rotor was even a company.
    Nope. It's an entirely new idea in terms of how the major axis of the ellipse is oriented (i.e., it's adjustable) and in terms of how the thing adjusts.

  12. #12
    Cat 6 rider
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    They always sounded like a great idea to me- tailor the machine to the man, don't make the man conform to the machine, but then I've never used them.
    To the troll mobile, away...

  13. #13
    Two scoops of inertia.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forrest Root
    Nope. It's an entirely new idea in terms of how the major axis of the ellipse is oriented (i.e., it's adjustable) and in terms of how the thing adjusts.
    That's the nice part and why I was curious to try one out. Their philosophy is to minimize the ammount of time you spend in the pedalling deadzone at 12 and 6. Biopace just 'randomized' the stroke if I understand properly from reading and seeing their shape. You are able to orient the ring to suit your own preference as to what part of the stroke should emphasized/demphasized. Rotor Cranks' cranksets are just crazy though.
    "Do I need to tell you what the f*ck you can do with an aluminum tube? ALUMINUM!"

  14. #14
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    Part of the ellipsoidal chainring problem is that there's been no conclusive data showing they provide a performance benefit. That makes 'em a tough sell. Even with a high profile pro rider on them, they're a tough sell.

    Aero stuff was an easy sell when LeMond trounced Fignon in the TT on the final stage. Ellipsoidal chainrings? Not so much.

  15. #15
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    Let someone win the TDF on them, and everybody will be trading their first born child for a set.

  16. #16
    wim
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    Recollections.

    I tried the Biopace thing in the 80s. Noodling along on my grocery-getter at cadences around 50, they actually felt good. On my race bike at cadences around 90, they felt awful. It was as if years of training how to spin smoothly had been erased from my muscle memory. Many others who tried Biopace felt the same way. Shimano quickly realized this problem and started offering (in Europe, anyway) a modified "high performance" version called "Biopace HP." But by that time, most competitive riders considered Biopace a bad joke and rejected it, HP notwithstanding.

    Looks like Shimano is taking another run at selling ovoid rings—but this time with the design based on racing cadences and force applications of trained competitive riders, not casual cyclists. This difference may make them more successful than Biopace, but I doubt it.

  17. #17
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    Boipace was one of the few changes that they made that never started with or even made it to Dura Ace.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by MIN in PDX
    I will support this when I can run q-rings on my fixed gear bike.
    Odd as it seems, you might be able to. Check Sheldon's experiences with Biopace.

    For the historians, this would be Biopace III. The stuff c. 1988 was Biopace II. Don't know the details of original Biopace, but probably mid-80's. FWIW, the last discussion of this I recall, someone found a late 1800's bike with adjustable ellipticals.

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forrest Root
    Nope. It's an entirely new idea in terms of how the major axis of the ellipse is oriented (i.e., it's adjustable) and in terms of how the thing adjusts.

    Ellipse, Oval, non-circle. Who cares?! No way would Rotor win in a court of law if Shimano wanted to pursue it. I think Shimano just went ahead and paid Rotor for the usage of the thing was it would end up being less hassles and cheaper for them down the road than a costly court battle that no one wanted.

  20. #20
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    Looks like a troll post pasted from another forum accidentally.
    Dr. Cox: Lady, people aren't chocolates. Do you know what they are mostly? Bastards. Bastard-coated bastards with bastard fillings. But I don't find them half as annoying as I find naive bubble-headed optimists who walk around vomiting sunshine.

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