After several years of racing with Rotor cranks and chain rings, I was delighted to join the team of Rotor supported athletes in 2014.
The Rotor product I was most excited to ride this season was the QX1 ovalized chain ring. QX1 rings are designed for the increasingly popular 1×11 drive trains and come in even sizes from 28 to 36 teeth. They are CNC machined in Spain from 7075 Aluminum. The engineering precision of rings is quite remarkable. If it wasn’t bolted to my bike, I would frame it and hang it up on a wall.
Switching over to QX1 ovalized rings from standard circular rings was an easy and welcome transition. Their 12.5% ovality is far less extreme than Osymmetric rings. The rings are drilled so that riders can choose between three different orientations of the oval with respect to the crank arms. The middle position felt best for me, but the built-in customization provides flexibility for riders with different riding styles and/or biomechanics, who prefer an earlier or later apex. After an initial 10 hours of moderate riding, felt quite comfortable on the QX1 rings and commenced with some hard trail riding.
As advertised, the very tall, alternating thin/thick teeth hold the chain firmly in place, even through very technical terrain. Unless you’re riding with a full-face helmet on a serious enduro or downhill track, a chain guard isn’t necessary.
While the ovality is noticeable on all terrain, it really starts to shine during hard riding and racing on twisty, technical, and/or punchy single track. Being able to pass through the “dead spot” (when the pedals are between 11 and 1 o’clock and 5 and 7 o’clock respectively) without down shifting is much easier with the QX1 ring. This allowed me to stay in a bigger gear to maintain stability and avoid spinning out on slippery climbs littered with rocks and roots. The ability to push a bigger gear thanks to the mechanical advantage is also perfect for accelerating out of tight corners.
I enjoyed the QX1 rings so much that I did almost all of my road training on my mountain bike this year. I highly recommend them to any mountain bike enthusiast and racer.