Things have gone a bit pear-shaped

I’ve of course read Sheldon Brown’s page on Biopace chainrings, those oblong oddities from years past. I’ve also read a lot of stuff from people who hate them, or at least think they’re pointless. I had doubts myself, but that’s nothing new. I had my doubts about fixed-gear bicycles, too, bit I gave it a try and found that I really enjoy riding one. So when I found some Biopace chainrings in the bins at Sopo, I had to give them a try.

I grabbed a 52/42 set and stuck them on my road bike, which normally has 53/39 round rings on it. First I checked them out on the trainer, and wasn’t sure I really felt any difference. Then I rode them a few miles over to the shop. I thought I felt something different, but suspected I might just be imagining it. Then I took them on a good 25 mile ride.

About half the ride is fairly flat, and half is fairly hilly. On the flats I wasn’t noticing a lot of difference, and after a bit I forgot anything had changed on my bike. But then I hit the hills and I was startled. I was running higher gears than usual, keeping higher speeds, and it was significantly easier than with my round rings. After a pointedly leisurely ride, I had an average speed that rivaled one when I’m pushing, and I felt great. I think I might be sold…


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