AbsoluteBlack oval chainrings: Initial thoughts and first ride review

I’ll write this review in three parts: how the chainrings look coming out of the box for the first time, installation & how they worked for the first ever ride I did on them.

The first part: How they look:
Absolutely great! The package I received was the same as any other customer of absoluteBlack’s. The chainrings were neatly nestled inside the white foam packaging, topped off with absoluteBlack finishing tape to secure everything together. Pulling the chainrings out of the box led to a great surprise: these were probably the cleanest-cut chainrings I’d ever seen. Chalk up one win!


The aesthetics of these chainrings are to die for!

Having used Wolftooth component chainrings, as well as Shimano Ultegra and Dura Ace chainrings before, I’m pretty confident in saying that these have the best aesthetic out of them all. A high gloss finish paired with great graphics and a well machined outline leaves a great first impression. I was certainly impressed by my new oval chainrings from the start, regardless of having not used them yet!

The second part: Installation:
This is were most people get unstuck. It’s advised that anyone using absoluteBlack chainrings in a 2x configuration (ie a standard crankset with double chainrings) uses their covering bolts for both the best aesthetic and for ease of installation. Luckily for me, I was moving to 1x (only having one front chainring [Shameless plug: I explained why I’m doing this in my bike setup report , check it out!]) and could use pretty much any kind of chainring bolts available. Also luckily for me, I work in a bike shop – whilst I’m not the most mechanically inclined, I can work my way around a set of allen keys – however I’m confident I could probably have installed the absoluteBlack chainrings without any sort of professional tools or help (Youtube is your friend!). The installation start to finish took about 10 minutes total, which made my feelings towards these chainrings even better. They looked good and were easy to work with. Chalk up two wins!


With the bolt holes lined up it’s easy to see the difference between a standard circular chainring and the absoluteBlack one – the absoluteBlack chainring is definitely ovalized!

The third part: First ride – do they make a difference?
My first ride out on the absoluteBlack oval chainrings was novel. There was something not quite the same about today’s ride. My cadence was the same, bike position was the same, the roads I was riding were the same. Nothing seemed different until I looked at my power – it was lower. I was using less effort to propel me forward than I usually had to! For anyone – from the best racer in the world through to someone just going out for Sunday brunch on their bike – this good news. The holy grail of bike riding is being able to go the same speed for less effort, or to use the same effort and go faster! I wasn’t attempting to take any Strava KOM’s straight away, but I certainly look forward to trying with my new weapons.

Chalk up three wins for the absoluteBlack oval chainrings!

My first ride on them was an easy hour spin where I only covered 30km or so. I’ll check back in after having done 3-400km of decent mileage where I try to beat these chainrings up, and again after covering somewhere around two thousand kilometers.

If you fancy checking out which chainrings might be best for you, have a look at https://absoluteblack.cc/chainrings.html – it’s a great way of finding the best possible chainrings for you to use!

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Happy riding!


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