The elliptical ring. Been there. Done that. Why go down this bunny hole again?
Dunno. Curiosity? Boredom? The desire to tinker? Fuck with shit, as a friend once deemed it.
To which I answer, "no."
Because I owned at least one mountain bike and one road bike plagued with this type of drive train. So, I guess I haven't had enough with oval rings... yet.
In case you're not old enough to remember, shitty mountain bike full suspension designs that bobbed while pedaling suffered from something that people called "Biopacing," a term
that none too politely referred to the aforementioned advance in pedaling efficiency that functioned like a cold turd. That's how bad it was.
The newer generation of oval rings seems to make some sense. At least the parts that I can comprehend. Granted, most of the science out there comes from the ring manufacturers, which is like getting crime stats from the RNC (or insert some falsehood stated at the DNC here).
Want to listen to some folks smarter than I blather on and on about elliptical rings? Here's not just one, but two podcasts over on Mountain Bike Radio's Engineer's Corner to fill your ears and the empty space between them. The first one is a conversation between MBR's Ben and Phil the Engineer, and the other one is Ben (again) and Brendan from Wolf Tooth (insert more RNC/DNC commentary here).
Short/long of it (or the oval of it), my 30 tooth should feel like a 32 when I'm pulling the chain with the widest part of the oval at the top and a 28 when the narrowest section is at the top. That means in one revolution, you go 32, 28, 32, 28. So, like shifting four times per revolution... in single speed terms, like jumping up one tooth, down one tooth, up one tooth, down one tooth in the rear (about) with smooth infinite mini-shifts through the entire range. That's a lot of SPR (shifts per revolution).
I should feel that, right?
I've only got one ride on the ring so far. Did I notice anything?
Yeth. I noticed that I was tired and thought I might vomit or shit myself. Not the ring's fault, I imagine. I was Variable #2.
Helping to invalidate the test, I put a suspension fjork (variable #3) on my bike hours before the ride instead of the rigid crabon frok that's been on there for... a year? Dunno. The best way to ruin an experiment like this is to change more than one variable at a time. Not to mention, I have absolutely zero data points to compare anything because I don't really do "data."
So, I'm going by feel.
Which is terrible for someone like me. For example, if I'm driving a car, I could be excreting buckets of sweat before my passenger might request some air conditioning.
"Oh, I guess it is hot. I didn't really feel it."
I'm pretty good at observing things with my eyes. I can spot broken/bent/loose spokes on other people's bikes like nobody's business (that would be a trbl business BTW). I see all kinds of things that are out of sort, but when it comes to feeling things?
I lack the ability to feel.
I'm just going to leave the ring on there for the time being. Not a lifestyle-altering amount of money was spent on the new ring, and since it does serve to keep the miles off the OG Race Face ring, it's not really a waste even if I end up feeling "meh" about the whole thing.
Maybe my feelings will start working in the next month or two, and I'll have my eureka moment. If not, fine. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and all that.
Although, something ventured and nothing gained would suck, I guess.
Either way, even if it doesn't work, I don't mind actively sticking things in the "no column" because I actually tried them. I ate lentils the other day and liked them, and I swear I didn't like them the last time I put them in my mouth part.
So, there's that.
Maybe if I put some Bruschetta and feta cheese on the ring, I might like it. Worked for the lentils.