Rotor Q-Rings XL £185

Elliptical aero QXL chainrings promise greater power

BikeRadar score 4/5
  • HIGHS: Increased power output
  • LOWS: More careful front shifting needed
  • WE SAY… Power-boosting upgrade with a money-back guarantee

Elliptical chainrings work by increasing the effective gear through the main power part of the pedal stroke, between one and five o’clock. They then decrease the effective gear through the ‘dead spot’ of the pedal stroke, when the cranks are at six and twelve o’clock. By decreasing the gear through the dead spot, oval rings make rotation more efficient by speeding up the pedal stroke.

Rotor’s QXL chainrings are aimed at bigger, high power riders who tend to be rich in fast twitch muscle fibres. We have been using QXL rings for five months, running a 53-tooth outer and 38-tooth inner ring. In use, the 53 ring is equivalent to a 57 through the power part of the pedal stroke and 49 through the dead spot.

The QXLs are noticeably more oval than Rotor’s own Q-Rings, but there are five different settings to adjust how ‘oval’ the rings feel. Rotor suggests first-time users start at position three on a road bike and four on a time trial bike

After getting an initial feel, you can then adjust to suit your preference. Rotor say it takes one week for your muscles to adapt from regular rings to the QXLs. Having used Q-rings for the past two years, we set our QXLs to position five, which creates the greatest feeling of continuously being on top of the gear. 

We saw the most power gains at cadences of 85 to 100rpm, and as a consequence found ourselves spinning gears more than previously. The only slight issue was having to take a little more care shifting the front gear, and it’s best not to change under a heavy load.

Our tester was already a convert to oval rings but we appreciate that many people won’t see it as important to try them and switch if they’re not bothered about the potential gains. But Rotor are so confident that you’ll like their elliptical rings that they offer a 30-day period to get a full refund if you try them and are unsatisfied. 

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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