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  1. #1
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    Eccentric chainrings: Making a comeback?

    I'm starting to see various versions popping up again lately from both indie manufacturers (Moto) and main line (Shimano). The concept always seemed to have some validity to me. Anyone using them or have any knowledge of the new crop?
    Ou et le flamme rouge?!!

  2. #2
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    Do a search, or check Sheldon Brown's site. They make a reapparance every 10 to 20 years or so, getting much hype. Shortly after the hype falls away, no one gets them for another 10 to 20 years.
    My carbon footprint has cleats

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peanya
    Do a search, or check Sheldon Brown's site. They make a reapparance every 10 to 20 years or so, getting much hype. Shortly after the hype falls away, no one gets them for another 10 to 20 years.
    Ha! Kinda like the 17 year locusts??

    Yeah, I recall the other visits as well, but I sense that there must be enough science behind the concept to this point to possibly amount to something more.........or not.
    Ou et le flamme rouge?!!

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    its so weird that it happens, haha. i had a long thread on this not too long ago in components, and the conclusion was that eccentric chainrings such as the RotorQ chainrings ARE NOT more efficient and DO NOT make you faster. i guess i'm sticking w/ round...

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    Was any research done on the various rings, e.g. big vs. small. I could see why a eccentric 52 would not be much use. But I have wondered (since my last eccentrics rings - 1987) if an eccentric small ring would be of use. Maybe only the granny on mtbs and roadbikes with triples? Seems like it'd be.. could be of benefit for very low cadence climbing.

  6. #6
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    Research

    Quote Originally Posted by OldZaskar
    Was any research done on the various rings, e.g. big vs. small. I could see why a eccentric 52 would not be much use. But I have wondered (since my last eccentrics rings - 1987) if an eccentric small ring would be of use. Maybe only the granny on mtbs and roadbikes with triples? Seems like it'd be.. could be of benefit for very low cadence climbing.
    Shimano provided research on their BioPace rings PROVING that they were 3% more energy efficient. Of course it's just possible that those lab results didn't transfer to the real world all that well.

    I will let the "market research" speak for itself. Various forms of eccentric chainrings have been around since the late 1800s and each and every one has claimed 1) imrpoved efficiency and/or power and 2) to have corrected the problems with the previous incarnation. And yet, despite these repeated successful designs, they just never seem to catch on or last in the market. I wonder why that is? Enquiring minds want to know!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyliner1004
    its so weird that it happens, haha. i had a long thread on this not too long ago in components, and the conclusion was that eccentric chainrings such as the RotorQ chainrings ARE NOT more efficient and DO NOT make you faster. i guess i'm sticking w/ round...
    My first post here... I don't agree with your conclusion. You only have to look at the widespread use of a ring like Rotor's in Europe - used in both road and mountain biking disciplines. I don't think things are as 'clean cut' as you describe.

  8. #8
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    Everything old is new again. For a little awhile.

    Then... poof, it's gone again.
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  9. #9
    wim
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    Quote Originally Posted by markw1970
    You only have to look at the widespread use of a ring like Rotor's in Europe - used in both road and mountain biking disciplines.
    The problem is that widespread use does not tell you if a product works or not. This is particulary true in sports, where in a quest for better performance, millions of people spend large sums of money to buy products of no value whatsoever.

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  11. #11
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    P. T. Barnum

    Quote Originally Posted by frmrench
    I'm starting to see various versions popping up again lately from both indie manufacturers (Moto) and main line (Shimano). The concept always seemed to have some validity to me. Anyone using them or have any knowledge of the new crop?
    P. T. Barnum said "There's a sucker born every minute" In the 20 years since Shimano Biopace there are at least 10 million new suckers. I guess that is a good market

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    I have a 1989 Cannondale with a Biopace 52/42. Frankly, I can't tell the difference between it and a 1990 Trek with round chainrings. It sounds a lot like the golf ball ads that promise longer/straighter shots. Sure, maybe in some contrived lab test, but no effect in real life. Do any pros use eccentric chainrings? Presumably their teams have the money, gear, and motivation to go after even a small efficiency gain.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bike981
    Do any pros use eccentric chainrings? Presumably their teams have the money, gear, and motivation to go after even a small efficiency gain.
    More likely, because a sponsor is paying a great deal of money to get their component visible.

    All RotoR has to do is put their rings on a bike, and Paul and Phil will stop commentating about the race for 2 minutes while they wax poetic about the damn rings.
    Man. You are all stuped.
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  15. #15
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    Wow some closed minds out there... surprising really.

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    Quote Originally Posted by markw1970
    My first post here... I don't agree with your conclusion. You only have to look at the widespread use of a ring like Rotor's in Europe - used in both road and mountain biking disciplines. I don't think things are as 'clean cut' as you describe.
    This is absolutely true. My observations during my expensive training in Europe has shown me that Rotor chainrings create a huge performance advantage in Europe. However, as shown by the nonpresence in the US, the Rotor chainrings do not provide a benefit while on US soil. As such, I have a set solely for use in Europe.

    Markw, what are you talking about? I lived and trained in Belgium for a year and didn't see one pair of Rotor chainrings. I just saw a whole bunch of stock Madones and Eddys. Furthermore, observations of this nature are fundamentally flawed. I broke a bottle cage and went to the bike shop and bought their cheapest bottle cage. I was surprised to see they had a TA Specialties bottle cage. Look up TA Specialties. In America it's a VERY high-end brand... very boutique. There? Not so much. Obervations there say TA is cheap, low-end. Here, they say TA is insanely high-end.
    "It's hard to tell the poison from the cure, so enjoy the disease."
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by markw1970
    Wow some closed minds out there... surprising really.
    Nah. It's just that many ppl here have seen the trends come and seen the trends go, so they don't get all exciticated about the umpteenth marketing push for non-round 'rings.

    It's called 'experience', not a closed mind.
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    SystemShock: I kicked Lance in the nuts. Err, nut.

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    Rebranding?

    Quote Originally Posted by SystemShock
    It's called 'experience', not a closed mind.
    Not to be confused with old age!

  19. #19
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    My favorite part of Shimano's marketing BS around this was that after going to Biopace, then to a less aggressive aspect ratio, they went to (IIRC) "Roundtech" That name made me laugh. It was as if the marketing guys are telling you, "Yo man, these chainrings totally revolutionary. They're -wait for it- ROUND! Be smart and upgrade those dated oval chainrings that we were hyping 3 years ago, they're no good for spinning"

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons
    Not to be confused with old age!
    LOL. I guess it's a matter of degree, eh?
    .
    Monkhouse: I want to die like my Dad did, peacefully, in his sleep... not screaming in terror like his passengers.

    SystemShock: I kicked Lance in the nuts. Err, nut.

    Platypius:
    I'd rather fellate a syphilitic goat than own a Cervelo.

    AM999: Romney 320 Electoral votes, Obama 218. Colorado profs' [prediction] model, 100% accurate since 1980.

    Seamus: Saw Bjork poop onstage back in the day,it blew my teenage mind


  21. #21
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    Now this is going on 20+ year old memory, but here is what i recall. Originally the bio pace were made for riders who rode at a lower cadence. That they were never designed for people who raced. However shimano found that no one was buying or specing them so they got some racers onboard to use them.

    Frankly if memory serves they rode well enough, i road on them for about 5 years, never any issues. I do remember climbing easier, however back then i was 22 years younger and about 50 lbs lighter, so i'm going to bet it might be age and weight that is slowing me down now.

    Honeslty some things have gotten better with age. I have a fantastic NOS (New original stock) 600 ultegra STI 8 spd group that i run on my classic bike. THe hubs feel the same, the bb feels the same, even the brakes feel the same, but boy oh boy is the shifting light years behind todays stuff. The whole rotor rings thing is funny to me, if you think they will make you faster then bolt them on, i bet that you will be a small bit faster. Never underestimate the power of belief.

    But todays rings with the ramps and pins do shift lightyears better than the old stuf does. ANd if shimano came out with a nice 34/50 combo, in oval, with the great ramps and pins i would give them a whirl.

    Bill

  22. #22
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    I can't contest with some of the users' experience and age of living though multiple attempts at this stuff, but aside from Kerry Irons, I don't see much acknowledgement towards the idea that current oval rings are set at a different (opposite, actually) orientation than previous.

    Rotor's "science" does make sense to me, and as Kerry noted: manufacturer can be true to their data, but it's not like the average joe can surely get that same benefit out of the rings.

    I gambled with getting an inner ring this week from Rotor. I figured it's the cheapest way to try the new stuff, and I do climb repeats often. Instead of hunting for power out of thin air, I'm putting my focus into any endurance/rhythm benefits. If that never happens, I'll just pray that shifting is still reasonable. BBL with a thread later.

  23. #23
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    They're not eccentric; they're completely mad.
    Other countries need to stop hatin' or we'll unfriend them. - Christine

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  24. #24
    wim
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ventruck
    Rotor's "science" does make sense to me.
    The mechanical part of the science does make sense (effective gear changes during one crank revolution), but the problem is always the same: the basic assumptions are either unproven or have been disproven. Even Joe Friel falls into that trap when he claims that, quote:

    "...“spinners” transition at the top and bottom of the stroke more smoothly and ride with a higher cadence and a more graceful pedal stroke. This makes for a much more economical use of energy."

    In fact, almost all elite riders do not "transition" force delivery smoothly, but deliver short-term (about 1/15 second at 90 rpm) high force onto the pedal in the downstroke, even at extremely high cadences. And as an aside, economy is not necessarily what the racer is interested in—he primarily wants large amounts of power regardless of how economical it is to generate it.

    http://www2.trainingbible.com/joesbl...4/q-rings.html

  25. #25
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    Phase angle

    Quote Originally Posted by Ventruck
    I don't see much acknowledgement towards the idea that current oval rings are set at a different (opposite, actually) orientation than previous.
    Yes, Rotor uses a different phase angle than Shimano BioPace, but I can assure you that every phase angle possible has been used over the years and the outcome has been the same. A brief flurry of interest in the marketplace and then fading into oblivion. Call me a doubter, but I'd be surprised if things were any different this time.

    Besides, we're due for some "miracle crank arm" design now. It's been a few years since the last revolutionary product faded from the scene

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