Q-rings, or oval/elliptical chainrings, aren’t exactly new in the world of riding fast, but what is new is how available—and affordable—the option is becoming. What was once the purview of the elite only, such as Wiggin’s adoption of asymmetrics since at least 2009, has become, if not mainstream, both within the public knowledgebase and obtainable by the same. To that end, we start to see new options for a number of different crankset manufacturers. One of the better known adopters has been Rotor.
Rotor has released a new set of chainrings for their crankset, the QXLs, with a much more pronounced oval than before. The focus of the new ‘rings is to put down the power when you need it—in sprints, where the 1-2% (5-7 watts is normally cited) power increase makes the difference between podium and irrelevance. If you’ve tried elliptical rings before and like their behavior, but wish you had just a little bit more time in the ovoid, these are for you. Be warned, though, even Rotor says these aren’t the easiest thing to make play nice with your front derailleur.