Addicted to Oval Rings
Addicted to Oval Rings
The Addict oval is Shovel Components’ answer to the oval chainring craze that has quickly taken off
in the mountain bike world. With 11.51% ovality clocked at 108 degrees, the ring positions the
largest ratio portion of the front ring at the position of maximum power in your pedal stroke, and
reduces the ratio for the “recovery” part of your pedal stroke – the portion where neither of your
legs can output maximum force.
Installation and First ride
Pulling the Addict out of the box, the machining quality is simply stunning to behold. The look of the
ring oozes quality, and the tolerances between the ring and the provided spacer for adjusting the
offset are so perfect that they fit together with a reassuring “click” as the splines connect.
Installation could not be more straight forward – remove the three bolts securing the SRAM ring,
pull off the ring, and replace with the shovel, using the slightly longer bolts provided.
The initial feeling of pedalling with the oval ring is different, not a big change, but legs used to
turning a circular ring will pick up on the slightly different torque output generated by the ovality.
After just an hour, my legs had become accustomed to this different feeling, and it simply feels like
pedalling a bike. The ring does not suddenly make you speed up the hills as if you’re Lance
Armstrong, after all it is not magic. The initial difference on fire road climbs is almost imperceptible
in fact. On extended rides, there is a slight reduction in fatigue – after all, you are maximising the
ability of your legs to generate power, which results in slightly greater output for the same effort.
Getting off the fire road and on to a technical climb is where the Addict oval ring shines. When the
path gets rooty and rocky, and maintaining cadence and momentum is vital, the ovality helps to
optimise your power output. The “dead spot” naturally occurring in your pedalling stroke is reduced,
as the ratio of the ring is less where your legs are at their least powerful. This reduction in the ratio
allows this “dead spot” to be overcome, getting your legs orientated to their most powerful position
easier, and allowing you to complete that pedal stroke over that tricky bastard root or rock more
consistently. Similarly, where traction is lacking, the smoothing of your pedalling circle reduces the
peaks and troughs in power output to the rear wheel – maintaining a smooth output of power is
essential to prevent slipping, and the ovality helps to achieve this. When the going gets tough is
where the Addict Oval ring may appear to be magic.
In the months of trouble free operation utilising the Addict Oval, in true Shovel fashion, chain drops
are not a concern. When paired with the Carbon Enduro guide, the chain has remained firmly in
place for the duration of the test, running smoothly and quietly and letting you focus fully on the
ride. With over 500km on the ring, the anodising on the ring is still looking good, and chain retention
has not reduced. I see no need to run anything different.