SRAM Eagle oval chainring

Review: SRAM Eagle X-Sync 2 Oval Chainrings

Theresia & Robert 01. July 2017

Oval chainrings help minimise the dead point in your pedal stroke. Finally, SRAM has introduced one for their EAGLE drivetrain! Read on for more.

SRAM has now launched their own oval chainrings! The demand was high, and they are no longer just seen in the Cross Country race scene, but also on Enduro bikes so SRAM knew it was time. How well do the SRAM oval chainrings perform? And what’s the difference to a normal chainring?

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What is an oval chainring?

An oval chainring is a ring with a variable radius. When speed remains the same, the radius differences on the chainring change the angular speed of the cranks. The ovality of the ring is designed to minimise the dead zone at the top of the pedal stroke by decreasing the amount of teeth that come in contact with the chain. The chainring does exactly the opposite during the push down portion of the pedal stroke by increasing the amount of teeth to chain contact. This makes the pedal stroke overall more efficient.

SRAM 34t chainring.

SRAM 34t chainring.

Technical Information
Application Trail, Enduro
Mount SRAM Direct Mount
Teeth 32, 34, 36, 38
Gearing 1x12-speed
Type oval
Offset 6 mm
Material aluminium
Compatibility all SRAM Eagle groupsets

SRAM’s first oval chainring

SRAM’s first oval chainring is made for their 1x12 Eagle groupset and it is the only one available specifically for 1x12 drivetrains. It comes equipped with SRAM’s new X-Sync 2 technology which increases chain tension and the height of the tooth profile. Both of these factors reduce wear and increase the chainring’s, as well as the chain’s, durability.

SRAM Eagle oval chainring

SRAM Eagle oval chainring

Differences between oval and round chainrings

A round chainring has a constant radius, which lacks the pedal stroke benefits of an oval chainring mentioned above. When comparing a round to an oval ring, we noticed a difference when pedalling through the dead zone. The oval chainring does exactly what it should and increases drivetrain efficiency.

Left: oval, Right: round

Left: oval, Right: round

Installation, wear and chain guides

Mounting the oval chainring is just like any other SRAM version. Wear and tear on the ring itself is also not increased when compared to a round ring. If you ride with a chain guide, you will however, need one that is made specifically for oval chainrings. OneUp makes one that we can recommend. 

Robert testing the oval chainring at the WC in Albstadt.

Robert testing the oval chainring at the WC in Albstadt.

Theresia testing the oval chainring during a WC race as well.

Theresia testing the oval chainring during a WC race as well.

Summary while training and racing

Technical climbs with roots and rocks are much easier to overcome with an oval chainring. When the cadence drops the oval ring increases the drivetrain efficiency by decreasing the amount of time spent in the dead zone. This saves valuable energy per pedal stroke. Overall, during training and races it is a very noticeable effect.

We are both very happy with the SRAM oval chainrings. The ovailty is comfortable while pedalling and technical climbs are much easier. The only negative, is that they take some time to get used to, when switching from round rings. We can only recommend the new SRAM oval chainrings to help better your performance.