Non-round chainrings making headway in the pro ranks

Usage has increased by 100%

We once counted on CSC-Saxo Bank veteran Bobby Julich being the sole rider in the peloton using non-round rings but even though he wasn’t included on the team’s Tour squad this year, the total number of riders so-equipped has still doubled from one to two.

Julich’s preferred O.symetric brand is now represented by Agritubel’s Geoffrey Lequatre while his CSC-Saxo Bank teammate, Carlos Sastre, has also jumped on the non-round bandwagon with Rotor’s Q-Rings from his native Spain.  Sastre had them mounted on both his primary and spare bikes this year after successfully testing them himself and apparently receiving the ‘ok’ from his team to use them in competition.  Rotor actually claims a number of Pro Tour riders use its rings in training but aren’t allowed to use them when it counts (we can personally vouch to include Garmin-Slipstream’s Magnus Backstedt in that category).  Even so, Sastre’s Q-Rings are stealthily finished in anodized black instead of the usual champagne hue of production bits and all of the Rotor logos have been covered over.

Both Rotor and O.symetric claim their rings provide rather heady physiological advantages, namely increased power coupled with reduced exertion (otherwise known as free speed), although the Rotor design is notably less radically shaped than O.symetric’s ‘harmonic’ form. 

Either way, both Sastre and Lequatre have likely gone up against a fair bit of sponsor resistance to run their preferred equipment so whether the performance gain is real or imagined, each of them feels it’s well worth the effort. 

James Huang

Technical Editor, US
James started as a roadie in 1990 with his high school team but switched to dirt in 1994 and has enjoyed both ever since. Anything that comes through his hands is bound to be taken apart, and those hands still sometimes smell like fork oil even though he retired from shop life in 2007. He prefers manual over automatic, fizzy over still, and the right way over the easy way.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
  • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
  • Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA
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