Osymetric Rings – Final Thoughts

We have to admit that it was a bit of bad luck that on the week we published our First Ride thoughts on the Osymetric chain rings, Bradley Wiggins also announces that he will no longer riding Osymetric rings, going as far as calling them “silly”. But we don’t ride products because a single rider uses them, we ride products because many riders are showing results (and maybe there is a bit of objective data to back it up as well), and whether it is Wiggins at the Tour last year or Sanchez, Porte, and Froome riding this year, there are plenty of elite riders putting their faith in Osymetric.

Our goal of this review was not necessarily to validate the claims of Osymetric rings (or any asymmetrical ring), but instead to discuss how it feels to ride the rings, and any acclimation time we needed. We recognized that a byproduct of this testing would be seeing if our performance numbers showed any improvements (or declines). To this end we spent the past month answering two basic questions – How do the Osymetric rings ride and did we get faster? But before we can answer those questions, a quick recap on the specific rings we were looking at.


The Osymetric Rings

We went with a pair of Osymetric 52-38 110 BCD rings to match with the stock Vision TriMax cranks that came with our test CD0.1. On our test bike we also have a set of Vision’s excellent Metron shifters (which we reviewed here) and we had some concerns that shifting the rings may prove to be a challenge. Because of this, we had the guys at Alex’s Bicycle Pro Shop help us with the install to ensure we got the shifting as precise as we could. (However for those who never let anyone touch their bike but themselves, Osymetric has a great video walk-through – here.)

The decision to go with the 52-38 was easy due to the fact that Osymetric only offers the 110 BCD in 52-38 and 50-38 (and the lack of hills in South Florida makes going bigger the way to go). In 130 BCD, Osymetric offers six sizes ranging from 52-42 through 56-44. If we 130 had been an option we most likely would have gone with a 54-42 or 56-42, but unfortunately we were a bit limited by the parts we currently have on our test frames.


Ride Thoughts

We were not sure what to expect from the Osymetrics, our biggest concern coming into the review was that riding Osymetrics would force you to completely relearn how to pedal. Luckily this was absolutely not the case; after the first 2-3 miles we had become completely accustomed to the rings. For those first few miles you will experience the feeling that at the top and bottom of the pedal stroke your feet were floating (a feeling similar to a sudden shift to a bigger cog). However once you get past those miles, riding became as natural as it was on your stock circular rings. We spent most of our time riding on flat surfaces down here and riding the rings has been a true joy.

But we also wanted to test what happened when we were out of the saddle sprinting and climbing, would the change of position and the pounding of the pedals feel different than the circular rings? (This was partially a result of the request our reader – Jessica made in the comments from the first look.) Surprisingly (based on our expectations from flat road riding), they do. Sprinting you tend to feel that each stroke has a bit more push and that you are entering the next stroke a tad quicker. Unfortunately, based on the little bit of sprint drills we did, we never became quite comfortable sprinting on the Osymetrics, however we do believe that if we made sprinting a more regular part of our riding we would. Climbing also felt a bit different than standard rings, but while sprinting tended to feel a bit awkward, climbing left us with a feeling of power. Each rotation of the rings tended to feeling like you were surging up the climb, this was a feeling we quickly got used to.

The other open question we got from readers was how shifting felt. We were using an Ultegra front derailleur matched to the Metron shifters. The Metron shifters have always been a little “touchy” for front shifting so we weren’t surprised to see that with the Osymetrics as well. We found that front shifts often required a second pull on the levers to finalize the shift; however the issues may have as much to do with the Metrons as it does with the Osymetrics. Either way for the riding we did, it was never a factor, we rarely if ever are in the small ring, and when it is needed we were able to shift up and down without a single dropped chain.



As we mentioned above we were not looking to do a purely scientific analysis of the claims of Osymetric rings. Osymetric claims a 7-10% improvement, which would have been a bit difficult for us to fully prove (or disprove). What we can say is that throughout the test period we consistently rode faster than we had prior to the new rings. In group and solo rides we tended to have a bit more top end speed (about 1-2 mph) for the same effort. To that end we do believe that we were getting a bit more power from the Osymetrics.

Osymetric im

Final Thoughts

The biggest question to ask is whether or not we plan on riding Osymetic rings going forward. Obviously if our plan is to pull them off the bikes and never ride them again we wouldn’t be giving a ringing endorsement. Conversely if we don’t plan on giving up these rings until they take them from our cold dead fingers that would be a strong endorsement. So finally – we may be sending these rings back to Osymetric but we can tell you that at least one of our team members plans on having a personal set back on their bike in due haste, so yes we have become quite the fans.

10 responses to “Osymetric Rings – Final Thoughts

  1. Shifting on the Osymetrics is definitely a challenge, as the rings’ shape means they shift better in certain parts of the pedal stroke, and the rings are relatively flexy and he me no ramps or pins. Osymetric did just thicken the big ring recently, so that should help. On my Di2 setup, they shift okay. Sometimes it takes a second tap to encourage the front derailleur to keep at it. Not a big deal for triathlon or TTs, but potentially problematic for road racing. For comparison, I also have Rotor Q rings (with the stiffer aero big ring), and it shifts well under load.

    The Osymetrics rings feel magic when you are on the rivet. I like sprinting on them because they are so quick to get you back into the power stroke, which is harder when you are out of the saddle.

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  3. Were any testers using the Osymetrics AND standard rings during the test period? I’m wondering what it would be like to have a TT bike with Osymetrics and road bike with standard rings, and whether there would be any issues with switching back and forth.

    • As part of the review we did not (we have been spending a huge amount of time on the TT bikes for Tri-Season), however we still have a set of Osymetrics on one of our editors bikes. Give us a few weeks to do some testing and we will let you know.

      • Cool! I love stage racing and often come across days with TTs and crits, or a road race one day and a TT the next morning, and just wonder if my legs would need to “adapt” every time I switched from a TT bike with non-round rings back to my road bike with standard rings.

      • Adam I know it has been quite a while but we are finally ready to report. Switching back and forth is awkward for the first few miles and then your legs quickly adjust back. We wouldn’t recommend switching back and forth in the middle of the season (say riding circular road rings and Osymetric TT rings) only because in a race scenario you may waste a few miles readjusting. However if you were to say ride Osymetric rings in the Spring and Summer and round rings on your cross bike in the Fall you should be able to manage,

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  5. I’m riding the smaller ring (38) right now, but by the looks of things I’ll be getting the big ring too. I’ve increased my watts by about 20% with the small ring.

  6. I would like to comment on switching between Osymetric and round rings: No issue if the rings are on different bikes, no adjustment needed at all. I just get on my road bike, cross bike or mountain bike and ride or race.
    However, I initially installed only the large Osymetric 56 ring on my TT/Tri bike, with a round/conventional 39 small ring (BCD 130). When shifting down, you immediately feel the difference. It’s quite amazing to feel the dead spot on the round ring, its quite educational – in a weird way. Its like a rubber band attached to the round ring when you go through the dead spot.
    Did I get higher power? Not really, but I am consistently faster for similar power (measured by SRM) – I take that any day. The ring feels just super efficient, very smooth. One word of caution, 56 is a BIG ring (feels like a 60+ in the power phase), any head wind or incline forced an unfavorable chain line. I did order the 52/42 combo, that should fix this issue. These rings will stay on my TT/Tri bike, they are that good.

  7. The only problem I’ve found with Osymetric rings is in the mountains. I live in the French Alps. The 38T ring is too big because the “push” phase is equivalent to something like a 42T – when gradients get above 11% over several kilometres that becomes a nightmare. I get around this by using a Rotor Q Ring 36T matched to the 50T Osymetric – but last week on a 4km section of climb at between 11 and 15% I felt like abandoning even with a 36T oval – and my weight well down. I was jealous of other guys with 34T round rings for climbing and who could keep a good cadence. For gradients lower than that the 36T solution is fine. Matching the 36T to the 5OT Osymetric is tricky as it really covers a range of about 34 to 54 effectively – but with careful adjustment a Dura Ace short cage derailieur works and all gear options can be reached (either chain ring) over an 11T to 28T cassette.

    You have to stop pedalling a moment in the dead spot (pedal about 5 o’clock) to be sure of shifting chain wheels cleanly and without the chain jumping off. It’s my third season with this setup now and I will not go back to round chain wheels because the mechanics of the dual camber Osymetric feels right for the body – it’s just a shame they can’t make a smaller ring.

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