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What is the deal with oval chainrings?

I know that eliptical chainrings have been around for a long time and their use seems to have peaked back in the 70's & 80's. I recently saw a professional rider using them in the TDF and I started thinking...

Is there any empirical data that supports or refutes the claim that eliptical chainrings provide more power output with less muscle fatigue?

  • 3
    I did some "web-research" on this a couple years ago. After quite a bit of reading, it really boiled down (for me at least) to: "opinions differ". Studies that seemed to be driven by the companies offering the rings claim huge success. Not a lot of independent studies.
    – Ken Hiatt
    Jul 13, 2012 at 16:38
  • Yep, previous bike came with elliptical rings (and then I ended up replacing one with a Biopace when it wore out), and I didn't really notice much difference when I switched to my "new" bike without them. If there is a difference it's probably below 5% -- may make a difference on a day-long ride or a pro race, but not going to be noticeable for a 2-hour outing with the guys. Jul 13, 2012 at 17:50

1 Answer 1


Sheldon brown offers a full breakdown of the biopace rings here

This answer here may be what you need

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