Oval Chainrings: The Skinny. With Shawn M. Ryan.

“Listen, these oval – …” Pauses. Places his drink purposefully on the table; fixes me with that classic Shawn Ryan stare and adjusts his glasses back up onto the bridge of his nose via the corner of the left frame.300EX

“Oval chainrings. Marginal gains. All this stuff: Ancient technology. ryansNothing new here – and I can prove it. Old hat. I was running that stuff back in ’94 on a Raleigh 531 frame! The Shimano Biopace EX300. Oval chainrings. Bought them from John Atkins of Coventry – even got a picture of them somewhere. The key was to make sure the things were fitted correctly – to line up the oval sections on the crank spider so the shifting could actually work. All to do with the dead-spot and maintaining power transference through the pedal stroke. This ain’t new theory…”

“No Way – Really?! Back in ’94? I mean, I remember that Mavic electronic shifting thing that everyone agreed never to mention again, but not oval chainrings… Was it any good? You could feel the difference?”

“Not really” He retrieves his pint and takes a sip “Even that secret squirrel – Team Sky fella said so just the other day. It was just a load of bollocks. Biggest problem it caused me was when I converted the bike to a single speed. Got it onto the driveway, ready to go. But, really, you don’t wanna be mixing oval chainrings and fixed chain-length…”