The Q-Ring is designed to do two things – give assistance through the dead spot of the pedal stroke by reducing the effective gear, and enhance the point of most force, or ‘Q-moment’, by raising the effective gear.
Using the middle of the three orientation settings – these allow you to tune the maximum power, as flat pedal riders will hit maximum power later in the stroke than clipped-in riders – pedalling is smooth and the extreme elliptical shape not even noticeable.
What is noticeable though, is that the Q-Ring succeeds in doing exactly what it sets out to do. Gearing does feel easier through the dead spot and seems to increase through the power stroke, without feeling lumpy or pulsing.
You'll need to adjust your chainguide to allow the elliptical ring to spin through untouched, leaving a big gap between the guide and chainring at the ring’s two low points. This gap does mean that the chain’s security is slightly at risk but we’ve suffered no problems as yet.
Whether the Q-Ring is worth the money over a traditional ring is a different matter, but those out there looking to shave fractions of a second off should certainly take a look. Former world champion Fabien Barel swears by these odd-shaped rings after all...