Every now and then something grabs your attention in the media and your ears prick up like a Meerkat in the desert. Instantly, (showing my age here) you can't help but think of another near disaster that was, the oval Biopace system. For those left wondering what that was, Biopace often resulted in riders knee's becoming weaker then a school boys when holding his first girlfriends hand and ending ones riding for months to come. Was this going to be take-two some decades on?

By now the oval revolution from Absolute Black isn't exactly new but my hiatus from the oval greatness of recent times with a temporary crankset has given my opinion a solid stake in the ground.

Having seen this new fad a while back and deciding i'd take up absolute black guarantee with their try it and swap it program. I have to admit that I was skeptical at first. Boy was I skeptical. I mean, isn't this just another style of Biopace?

Initially I found the AB Oval's to be so fantastic, That I quickly found all 3 in my stable sporting the unusual squished look. My climbing seemed to strengthen, knee wear and old man pain seemed to take a dramatic turn for the good and traction seemed to leap and bound ahead. Placebo?

Now Absolute Black's claim to fame with these rings covers a lot of the above but their biggest claim is traction and efficiency. Absolute Black claim that "Load from pedaling an oval chainring is spread over greater muscle mass which in effect gives you the feeling of fresher and more relaxed legs". This aside IMHO, is one of the biggest benefits especially being old, Fat and slow...

Why switch to Absoluteblack OVAL chainrings from absoluteblack on Vimeo.

After merrily riding an AB oval for well over a year on all of my bikes in literally every condition, I recently upgraded my trail bike with a new Sram GXP X1 crank. In the interim I reverted back to a traditional round X-sync Narrow wide which came with the crankset. I instantly thought now was the time to see just how much of a difference it was after riding an oval, and only really an oval....

First off, I noticed a distinct difference in traction levels and notably, climbing efficiency. Straight away I was needing to climb a gear or two lower, and a definite, distinct burn coming from an old hockey injury in my left knee smashed its way back to centre stage. standing up to pedal now felt foreign and alien. It was at this point that I wanted to put the placebo effect well and truly to bed.

A quick e-mail to Tony at AB, a return of shipping and payment information and Viola' my new oval was here, mounted and ready for the next outing.

I can now confidently say that after running my own un-official comparison program, being back on the oval has my climbing better and a gear or two up again, traction is back by the bucket load and my niggling knee is calming back down after the deep gasping climbs. And it’s NOTHING like Biopace!!

Available in most common chain-ring mounting styles and sizes, the rings are well finished with some Rad precision machining, have plenty of options colour wise and most of all are lite-weight. Absolute black has also nailed their narrow wide system and I can hand on heart say I have never dropped a chain while riding one of these rings, ever!

Without any doubt, if you are in the 21st century, riding a 1 by system and open to change, I suggest you jump online or zap down to your LBS and get one on order. I have no hesitation when I recommend you try an Absolute Black oval today and guarantee you wont be disappointed. Ya never know, you may get that PR on that climb you've been desperately trying for....