The folks at Absolute Black are expanding their oval chainring offerings to include road-ready ovals for 2x drivetrains, aero chainrings for fast single ring setups and more narrow/wide oval options for cyclocross. They’ve also expanded the mountain bike offerings to include Shimano bolt patterns.

The most eye catching product, though, was the aero chainring, which offers an oval shape for 1x applications and a unique spiral groove pattern to brush the air off…


The new Aero Oval chainring for SRAM DM will come in 50 and 52 tooth counts. Regarding the design, founder Marcin said dimples would be slightly more aero, but they’re incredibly hard to manufacture, taking about 30 minutes per ring. But, borrowing concepts from the golf ball industry, a grooved surface proved to be just as aero in certain conditions that somewhat carryover to cycling. They’re not making any specific aero gain claims other than to say it’s more aero than a flat surface.


The design is patent pending, with that protection covering mainly the structure on the backside. The flat sections between the machined struts is just 1mm thick, but the rest of it makes it very stiff.

At launch, it’ll only be offered as a 1x with narrow/wide tooth patterns. He’ll be developing a round big ring that will be shiftable to pair with his smaller oval ring for double setups. Retail will be €145. All of these silver rings are prototypes, finished products will be in black.

Retail is €145 / £105 / $165, available in a 52-tooth ring at first with other sizes to follow.


Absoluteblack’s founder Marcin told us, “When in the big ring, an oval on the road does not make sense as you have high rpm’s and a dead spot is not an issue at all. But when you climb while in the small ring on the road, you pedal slower and this is where the oval chainring shines”. Another big plus for only going oval on a small chainring is that there is no difficult adjustment to make to the front derailleur like there is on systems where both rings are Oval. And with that, he’s now offering a small-ring-only oval option to fit a Shimano double crankset, shown above on the Ultegra arm.

It’ll come in 110/4 and 110/5 BCDs with 34 and 36 tooth options. It’s not a narrow wide pattern, instead using the same cuts and tooth shaping as Shimano’s chainring to facilitate shifting.

Apparently, ovals are blowing up (we love them!), so Marcin’s been putting together a series of videos that help explain the phenomenon. Here’s the latest.


SRAM Oval CX will soon run from 36t all the way up to 46t, making it perfect for everything from cyclocross to gravel to road. They’ll fit mountain bikes, too, so long as your frame will clear the larger ring sizes.

They’re also working on an oval CX ring with four and five bolt 110bcd patterns in 36, 38 and 40 tooth counts. The four bolt models will use the Shimano asymmetric pattern, so basically they cover all old and new Shimano cranks.



Not shown in any particular order, they now have a Cannondale Oval Direct Mount chainring collection for Si/SiSL cranksets in 30/32/34. Retail is €57 ($ and € listed on their website).

The Taco bash guard launched prior to the show, but we learned a bit more about its construction. It starts as a block of polymer with glass and carbon fibers laid in a mostly flat arrangement so that it can flex upward a bit on impact. They then CNC machine it to drop a bit of weight, and the lower section is replaceable.

The copper colored ring was a test sample. It looks good, but is a bit expensive and wouldn’t stay as shiny. One could argue that its weathering would make it look pretty sweet on the right bike, but it’s not likely to make it into mass production.


Shimano fans will be happy to see their new Oval XT and XTR (30/32/34) with the 30 really pushing the limit to how small they can go because of the bolt clearance. They’re made for the current generation with asymmetric bolt patterns.

The XT chainrings will start shipping in late September (€54.99 / £39.99 / $61.99), the XTR rings are available now (€56.99 / £45.99 / $65.99). Both will use the stock bolts that come with the Shimano crankset, so you won’t need to purchase new bolts.



  1. Can’t say i’d ever buy one of those “aero” road rings, purely based on aesthetics alone. However, I have an AB oval ring on my MTB and love it. I may get curious and try and oval ring on the CX bike.

  2. I agree that spiral looks terrible. Love oval rings on my road bike but use Rotor. I’ll probably go to these guys for my mountain bike though

  3. Keep in mind it would be black though. I think they should go for matte though, as a high gloss black version would be a bit ugly looking as well.

  4. im not sure to understand which of the rings on their site works for “regular” 110/130bcd oval with bb30.

    they mentionned you could change the small ring only for ex. on double road chain rings, but its not 100% clear which one will really be compatible with what setup (also which are narrow-wide, which arent, for double chainrings setup…)

  5. Marcin @ Absoluteblack here

    And here is why we are not fans of showing prototypes to the public:) Guys all of non anodized parts always look a bit worse than fully finished product.
    That spiral will not be visible on black ring. Photos also look different than real parts. There is a lot of reflections from surrounding light on shiny metal part.

    CX. We have already in production oval rings for 110/5 (old Shimano) and 110/4 (new asymmetric Shimano cranks). Also as mentioned in the write up we have Sram direct mount ovals coming. So you will be covered.

    There is much more coming in the Road department from us. What you see is just the very small portion of what you will see in coming weeks.

  6. @ a

    At the moment we only have on website mtb rings. All of them are narrow wide. Road rings will be visible on the website in few weeks.
    So at the moment we do not have road rings for immediate purchase. Stay tuned.

  7. @absoluteblack aaah that makes sense. I saw the new site options since last time so i figured it must be there but could no find it.

    I’m very interested by the small ring on my double-ring CX for reasons you mention in the video. I use your ovals on my MTB and it makes most difference during climbing/lower cadence – and to be honest this is great stuff which i’d believe everyone will switch to.

    I want exactly the same on the CX (which again, I wanna keep as double chain ring) hehe. I’m sure it can be helpful for hilly roads as well.

    Also thanks for taking the time to reply here, this was unexpected !

  8. But that said, its fine to mix and match rings. Rotor takes this one step further with OCP. You can have a large ring like 54 in TT ocp position, and a 36 or so in climbing ocp position. This is a great combination with some modern saddle like ISM.

  9. Then you don’t understand how power is measured. It’s always measuring torque. I notice you have developed a rapport with Marcin, but don’t take all statements as fact. There is a reason Rotor designs and sells oval TT rings.

  10. @philz sure its a “rapport” i must be “affiliated” since i got a reply lol. I got both rotor and ab rings in fact, and only what ab said appears to match my experience, so they seem to be knowing their stuff in my eyes so far.

    go bring rotor and make them reply here, before attacking commenters.

  11. I’m not trying to pile on here but the way the oval rings have been marketed has been a bit weak, and in some ways contradictory to Rotor. From there you have potential customers scratching their heads, and likely siding with the more established oval ring brand. As it is, I don’t think there’s any compelling figure explaining how AbsBlack’s shape compares to the competitors.

    And again, that video is such a bore (lmfao literally 17min lecture no thx) vs. more compelling graphics that can be registered easily by potential customers.

    I’m not trying to hate on the brand at all, though. If the production version of the road rings look cool and the price is competitive, I’m undoubtedly going to be interested. BUT had I not used oval rings before to gain first-hand perspective, I’d surely be rolling my eyes off the bat and never look back.

    So yeah, not to be throwing out marketing advice on a comment thread…but straightforward graphical figures with demonstrated science would be more effective to draw interest from new users and skeptics.

  12. As someone who once wrote to Marcin pleading for larger spiderless road rings, this pleases me.
    However as someone who also lived through the Biopace era to emerge a “round-tech” follower, asking us dinosaurs to try again is indeed a stretch.
    I only hope more to come means we will also see Race Face & Cannondale in AT LEAST 46t sizes (with this awesome new round-tech i have heard so much about!)
    When I wrote to Marcin it was only a handful of home made 1x road freaks as customers but hopefully the advent of SRAM’s 1x road group changes matters.
    I’m about to to a road build and currently due to limited options I will probably have to fit the 130BCD 52t SRAM narrow wide ring to an old set of Cannondale Hollowtech cranks x 11-40 or 11-46.
    But I don’t want to run a poxy traditional spider and would much rather a sleek spiderless road ring in 48, 50 & 52T.
    So far Marcin, Wolftooth, Blackspire etc are only supporting CX market but 1x road is coming even if it won’t become popular until we see 12, 13, 14, 15sp cassettes.
    For years people have been moaning “7sp is too narrow, stick to 6sp! 9sp is too narrow, stick to 8sp!” and now we’re in the “12sp would be too fragile, stick to 10 or 11!” era but we all know those cogs will keep coming until chains resemble toothed fishing line.
    My view is I would like to see something like Boost148 for road bikes to provide the extra space for a 14sp cassette.
    Only then will road 1x provide the identical range of a modern road bike.

    PS: I don’t agree that “straightforward graphical figures” or indeed any static image could adequately educate customers to comprehend the benefits of oval rings at a glance.
    It would at least take a fancy slick computer animation or conventional advertisement citing “science” but while opinions on these rings vary from heaven sent to nonsense, I don’t think it would be easy.

  13. Hello Marcin,
    interesting for me is also what´s with the 10T cog for a 10-speed cassette you was working on?
    No more information about that in the www or somewhere else….

  14. So, uh how about oval 2x mountain rings? Am I the last person on the planet that likes 2x on MTB? Has no else ever need to drop 3-4 gears quickly to climb up an unexpected rise? I guess 1x is a godsend for CX, but you will need to seriously improve the speed of the rear mech to get me to drop my front shifter! While I’m not sure oval is awesome for MTB, my suspicion is that it is.

    2X, OVAL, Shiftable, MTB SIZED (~24-38) RINGS PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. >Am I the last person on the planet that likes 2x on MTB?

    hell no. 2* is required for actually riding in the mountains. Still not sure I am interested in oval rings but if a 22 (23t ? ) 104BCD one came out I would definitely try it. I guess there is a company in Italy that makes one, forget the name, so I guess I’m not that interested lol. That’s interesting what was said about a round big ring avoiding problems with front shifting, although I do a hell of a lot of climbing in the big ring too, but I can’t imagine the FD would work well with oval rings.

What do you think?