Rotor Q-Rings – An Email DiscussionWritten: April 28, 2011
Components, New Kit, Review, Setup & Position
I’ve recently been having an email discussion with a mate who is interested in Rotor Q-Rings – I’ve just started running them on my new bike so he’s been asking a few questions. The conversation around them has been quite interesting so I thought I’d share the discussion pretty much as it went.
Here’s what’s been said…
8 Apr 2011, Mark wrote:
How you getting on with them so far?
8 Apr 2011, Rich wrote:
Only used them once to date, and actually couldn’t feel much difference to be honest, but I reckon that’s possibly down to roller use having made my technique quite smooth anyway.
As I said before I really tried to ‘just pedal’ as they recommend and it felt quite normal, although I think I was spinning more. Need to ride them more yet, but I might move position quite quickly as their blurb suggests it would better suit my style.
My legs did ache more than normal the next day though which would suggest something different was definitely happening.
12 Apr, Mark:
What size did you go for – 34/50?
12 Apr, Rich:
I went 50/34, yes. Should have read up more though I think – reckon 52/36 would have been better, but if I get on with them ok I’ll switch after the GF Sportful.
15 Apr, Rich:
Legs have definitely ached differently after Wednesday so there’s definitely something going on with those rings…
Tomorrow will be a real test – 230k on the new bike with the Rotors… intriguing. I just wish I had a bloody power meter on it!
15 Apr, Mark:
I suspect the Rotors will come into their own on climbs – seems to be the general consensus of why the pros pick them (can’t think where I read that!).
21 Apr, Rich:
I like them.
I can now definitely feel a difference in my leg muscles when I use them – I said before my legs have been aching differently, and that was magnified this morning after using the Baum on a roller session last night. There’s definitely more going on, for example I now feel like my glutes are coming into play a lot more (I can actually feel them firing during riding, and aching more afterwards) which is no bad thing.
Tomorrow’s CCC will be kill or cure as far as they go I reckon – I’ve done nearly 500km on them which is the minimum they say you should do in position 3 before you move them, but I’m not prepared to have the knee pain again for another 220k (it’s not excruciating, just discomfort) so I’ve spun them round to position 4. Their gumph says the ‘front of knee’ pain I’ve been experiencing plus spinning at higher RPMs than usual to stay comfortable are both indicators to try position 4.
As for Di2 + Q-Rings, I’ll readily admit there were teething problems (the front mech wasn’t trimming as it should have been and I was getting some quite bad rub in some gears) but I think that was rushed front mech setup rather than the Q-Rings (I didn’t have the front derailleur support bolt set right, and the H & L screws were a bit out).
Tell you what though, I really miss my power data. Cranks going to SRM in the first week of May…
21 Apr 2011, Mark:
That’s excellent feedback, thanks matey. So they’ve been mucking with your knees huh?
Rollers must be good feedback too – one way I used to gauge my spin was the ‘vroom-vroom’ pulsing noise on a turbo. Reduce that noise and it’s a sign your spin is getting smoother. So how does that figure on the rollers with the Q rings? Does it sound smoother? I think a good climb would show if they suit you too – from the bits of research I’ve read it seems to suggest they help preserve the freshness of your legs for longer (less lactic build up).
Wiggins uses Di2 and Q Rings, you must be able to get it properly smooth? Are you there with it now?
21 Apr 2011, Rich:
They have yes – but like I say, it’s more discomfort than real pain. I didn’t feel it on the first ride but it did start to come into play during that 110k midweek job last week, then on the CCC it kicked in, then again on the rollers last night. The fact they note it on their “if this is happen switch to position X” list tells me it’s not uncommon. I just hope it doesn’t still happen in position 4.
Yup, know what you mean about controlling that noise being an indicator of spin smoothness, although I didn’t really pay attention to it last night.
The shifting is totally sorted now – properly smooth, it’s ace.
25 Apr, Mark:
So how did they feel on the CCC? Longest time on them?
26 Apr, Rich:
Right, some more feedback…
The switch to position 4 has made quite a marked difference. It’s difficult to describe but (and again, without yet having tested the resultant noise on the rollers) it definitely feels smoother.
In position 3 I felt like I was coming off of the oval too early meaning that on the bottom of the downstroke it felt like I wasn’t able to apply enough power, like you’d spun through the power before the bottom of the stroke (imagine the torque band of a Diesel car – it’ll pull strongly from 2k-5k revs but when you get to 5k it drops away again, rather than petrol which keeps going). Position 4 means that I can apply power all through the downstroke, which also means the second leg is coming over more quickly and easily.
Can I feel a difference on the climbs and do my legs feel more fresh? To be honest, I’m not sure. I’ll be frank, on the leg freshness I’m not convinced but again, both recent CCCs have been on the Baum with the Q-Rings so it’s difficult to compare. I think I climb Staple Lane better on them, but the Look is standard double Vs compact on the Baum so I can’t even do I direct comparison by the gear I’m using (although I could work it out as a mathematic comparison I guess).
I’m definitely not convinced about Rotor’s theory that you can go up a couple of teeth for your chainrings – I’ll definitely be running full compact in Italy! I might switch to 52/36 after Italy though, just because I used to run that and just generally quite like it as a happy medium.
My knees are better in position 4, but they still niggle a bit. It feels like they’re getting used to it more though. Regardless, if the knee discomfort continues I will be sacking them off.
Convinced I am not, but equally I’m not in any hurry to bin them. I hope to get out on the Look tomorrow morning – that should tell me a lot more about all of this…
26 Apr, Mark:
Very interesting matey, thanks.
I might be coming to the same conclusion as I suspect you are – they’re no different.
Still, what may be more revealing is having power. And yes, I think working out equivalent gear ratios then doing a climb on each bike would be more scientific.
26 Apr, Rich:
Doing all of this with power may well be the only true indicator – SRM is due to be going on them next week, so once Italy is out of the way I may well attempt to conduct some tests. If they stick around for Italy at all that is.
They do feel different, but whether that difference translates into anything ‘real world’ is TBC.
I suspect the reason many people stick with them over normal chainrings is more to do with just liking the feel of them than anything else, and I have an inkling that liking or disliking the feel is down to how smooth your pedal stroke was initially. I think I have quite a smooth stroke so I don’t think I’m finding them quite so beneficial.
Like I say, the return to round rings will be the acid test, at least as far as ‘feel’ goes anyway.
So that’s what I’ve discovered to date – should the discussion continue I’ll be sure to let you know.
Anyone else tried them and got anything to say?…
Tags:Oval chainrings,Q-Rings,Rotor,Rotor Q
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