Friday, September 23, 2011

Gone Technical

Earlier this spring one of my friends and training partners showed up at a race with these cool new rings on his bike. In addition to looking sleek and super cool, he claimed that they dramatically increased his power and speed. He called these rings "rotor q-rings". Knowing my friend is already a power horse on the bike, I shrugged it off and forgot about it. After all I barely know the name of my bike components, forget the brand name. (embarassing-yes I know).
A few weeks later I went on a ride with the same person whom I can usually can keep up with. After being dropped several times in the same ride trying to maintain a 26mph ave, I decided that maybe I needed to perform a little q-ring investigation. What exactly is a Rotor Q-ring? For my technical and non-technical readers I'm going to give 2 definitions.

Heidi definition:

Q-rings are oval shaped rings that supposedly increase your power per pedal stroke and increase your pedal stroke efficiency. They eliminate the dead space with-in your pedal stroke.

Technical definition:

By looking at your pedal stroke in terms of the face on a clock, the most power generated is between the 1 to 5 o’clock position. The Q-rings are designed to have the timing of the ellipse’s larger diameter portion match the powerful 1 to 5 o’clock position of the stroke. While gear inches increase during the power part of the stroke, the Q-ring, in turn, reduces the gear inches during the least powerful parts of the stroke, which is the 11 to 1 o’clock and 5 to 7 o’clock positions, helping speed through the less powerful portion.

I was sold.....

As my anniversary approached you can imagine the surprised look on Scott's face when I asked for bike components (q-rings). And being the good husband that he is... he pulled through. No wanting to change anything for my last A-race for the season, I waited until this week to make the change. In fact this week the pink hotness got a full make over including her Q-ring replacement and fresh hot pink handle bar tape.

So now you are probably thinking... what's the verdict?

It's a little too early to tell but I can say from my speed work yesterday that I was flying. My sprint tri next weekend will also be a good test. Ultimately we shall see in 2012!

And of course every product has it's downfall.... Although I have yet to experience any issues, my bike mechanic forewarned me about dramatic shift changes (from big ring to little ring). Because of the oval shape, I guess there is a higher chance you will drop your chain with dramatic shift changes? With my below sea-level riding conditions I don't see this being a huge problem for me. Happy weekend everyone-


  1. I am intrigued, what did he mean about dramatic shift changes? Is he talking about the rear cogs or changing from Big ring to little ring? Did you have to get a new chain or shorten your chain, do you think a chain catcher will help?

  2. Yup-changes from big ring to little ring....All my mechanic did was adjust the derailer a little bit.... I've asked my friend and he has never dropped his chain... but again we ride totally flat... and again if you finess the gear changes it shouldn't happen....

  3. Have a good weekend. Only thing I know about my bike is it is called a bike. :)

  4. I'm with BDD - intriguing! The whole logic is there for the engineering, but I'll be quite interested to see if you feel or find a difference down the road.

    You talk about it in the singular, but did you get both front rings replaced with Q's?

    Thanks for sharing. I'll have to look into that.

  5. I am very interested on how this works out for you. Please keep us updated!

  6. I've got to take a look at this. I'm a power junkie and wonder if there is real science behind this. Even if there isn't though if you believe in it, it will make a difference.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  7. Hmmmmmm. I have no idea about bike components--sadly--but this looks like I need to investigate too!