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Oval Chainring vs Round

oval chainring vs round

Without a doubt, a chainring is one of the essential components of your bike. For many years, we have all known its functionality in transferring crank force to the drivetrain. Its round design was very familiar in the bike industry.

However, with the continued development of bike parts and components, manufacturers introduced an oval-shaped chainring alternative. This article focuses on comparing oval chainrings vs round in terms of bike performance.

Oval Chainring Increases Pedaling Efficiency

Most of the bikers I know told me that using the oval chainring allows them to climb easier, pedal smoother, and get less tired. But why is that? The reason behind it is that oval chainring does not produce more power on your pedal. However, they increase the biker’s effectiveness.

One of the benefits of oval chainring is the ability to reduce the components of your pedal pushing force which does not help your bike move forward. This ability enhances the biker’s efficiency by reducing the wasted force and preserving the biker’s energy.

As a direct effect, oval chainrings will deliver power to the rear wheel very smoothly. On the other hand, the round chainrings will let you put more power on the pedals when they are in the horizontal position. In this situation, the power tends to fade as the cranks move to a vertical position resulting in a harder bike pedal.

With that said, the oval chainring will allow the biker to push harder when it only matters. This situation can result in reduced tiredness of the biker. This is the reason why a biker can ride faster with an oval chainring.

Improved Pedal Stroke

round chainring

In my experience, using the oval chainring has also improved the overall performance of my pedal stroke. When I started using it, it felt a little bit weird using a different type of chainring. But after a few minutes of riding and getting used to it, I was impressed by the smoothness and how the bike felt planted into the road.

There are no scientific bases for my experience, but my pure judgment only uses the oval chainring on the road. With this type of chainring, I was getting more of the power down with no power being improperly wasted.

Are oval chainrings better? In my experience, the difference between oval and round chainrings in dealing with technical climbs and sharp rocks is worth noting. The oval chainring gave me the feeling of easily powering these sections, while the round chainring would get me hung up.

I noticed that the standard round ring makes me use some extra power in every technical climb. The pedaling response increases tremendously, especially in situations where I need to put down power.

Oval Chainrings are Good for Gravel Bikers

Gravel bikers can take advantage of what the oval chainring offers, especially with dealing with the type of terrain that this biker uses. The oval chainring has the ability to balance the power output of the biker, which provides a marginal traction advantage, especially on gravel road climbs.

The oval chainring can significantly reduce the stress on the knees when climbing on steep gravel destinations. The oval chainring will marginally spin the rear wheel and will tempo an actual torque output using the cranks.

Oval Chainrings Pros and Cons

oval chainring

The oval chainring may be better than the standard round chainring, but it also has its advantages and disadvantages. The most significant advantage of oval chainrings is their ability to minimize dead spots in the pedal stroke, which results in enhanced power.

The oval rings will be able to shorten your pedal stroke in the dead spot and lengthen it in the power position as the cyclist exerts more force. The oval chainrings will be easier on the knees with their consistency and smoothness on the ride.

On the other hand, oval chainring only sometimes comes perfectly. One of which is it may take time for any biker to adapt to using its new technique with a new ring. In addition, with a smooth pedal and improved pedaling efficiency, you likely lose power when you sprint.

If a biker keeps on switching between oval and round chainrings, the biker may need to achieve maximum performance on each chainring. So, using it on one bike rather than multiple bikes will be better.


Comparing oval chainring vs round will give you a good indicator that the newer chainring gives some advantages to the bikers. In fact, most of the bikers I know think that the oval chainring increases the effectiveness of the pedal stroke and will maintain traction more on steep and technical climbs.

Please note that some bikers may disagree with the observation but based on my personal experience, I still notice some improvements while climbing. The oval chainrings will improve the imperfect pedal stroke of any biker to make the pedaling more effective.

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