Absolute Black Direct Mount Oval chainring review

Oval chainring from Absolute Black

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £70
Road bike direct-mount chainring

Our review

Oval rings aren’t for every rider, but Absolute Black’s offering is light, superbly made, reliable and certainly didn’t slow me down
Pros: CNC machining, chain retention, positive ride feel
Cons: Benefits are hard to quantify

Absolute Black makes a variety of chainrings, and this direct-mount ring is available in 36-48 tooth sizes and compatible with just about everything.

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I replaced a SRAM Force 1 spider and X-SYNC ring weighing 147g with this 40-tooth, 100g, one-piece oval ring.

Each ring is CNC machined from 7075 aluminium with an appropriately weblike spider and 3D narrow-wide teeth profiles. These alternate between 2mm chisel shapes and square 3.5mm-wide anvil-like teeth designed to guide and grip each chain link.

The oval shape means the ring’s radius varies by 10mm between highest and lowest points, so the spacing between frame and chainring must account for this.

Absolute Black Direct Mount Oval performance

When pedalling, initially the oval shape is obvious, but within minutes it’s harder to notice.

Although difficult to subjectively claim any speed increase, riding the oval ring gave a consistently positive feel, with eager acceleration and slightly higher average speeds.

A round ring’s usual dead spot is more noticeable on steep climbs, but an oval ring partly compensates for that, allowing more even pedal strokes, each with less force.

Chain retention was faultless on and off road in all conditions, and the ring is extremely stiff, with a very hard-wearing finish.

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Absolute Black Direct Mount Oval specifications

  • Weight: 100g (40t)
  • Material: CNC machined 7075 aluminium
  • Available sizes: 36t, 38t, 40t, 42t, 44t, 46t, 48t
  • Available colours: Black, Racing Red
  • Price: £70 / $85