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Thread: Biopace!

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    FBoD Member at Large khatfull's Avatar
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    Biopace!

    While the majority 'round here seem to dislike, all the way to malign, Biopace rings I happen to like them. Being a serious masher they definitely fit my riding style.

    I have some bikes that will never have them, the '74 Newest, the '88 Opus IV, the new and yet to be received and restored '75 Fuji Professional, and the '74 Italvega which is nearing completion.

    But, the Touring Series V, the Fuji America, and yes, the single speed who's frame I just sent to the powdercoater today are all candidates. I've been collecting rings for the TS V and finally put together a 50/46/28 set that all look similar to replace the round 50/45/28 half-step plus granny. The ratios will be a tad different but not by that much. If I ever come across a 44T of the same finish I might switch to that.

    TS V crank before:



    And after Biopace treatment:




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    Large Member realestvin7's Avatar
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    Sweet. I'm a fan.
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    Senior Member DVC45's Avatar
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    Me too!
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    Cisalpinist Italuminium's Avatar
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    Like. They look wonky but bike really nice in the lower rpm's.
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    khatfull, Elliptical rings have always had a love/hate reputation and do need to be correctly installed WRT the crankarm. Blindfolded I couldn't tell the difference, I suspect. If you like them on one bike, why not the others?

    Brad
    Last edited by bradtx; 07-14-11 at 03:58 AM. Reason: sp

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    Senior Member randyjawa's Avatar
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    My question, pertaining to the Biopace thing is why are they not being made today? If these things were so good, why was production discontinued. This is not an attempt to rain on anyone's parade, just an honest question.
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    Death fork? Naaaah!! top506's Avatar
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    I'd be happy to swap a 44t ring for the 46t.

    Top
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    Senior Member KOBE's Avatar
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    I like them. like you I am a masher and they seem to give me more power going up hills. Then again it could just be in my head, but I think I mainly like them because I rode a lot of miles on a Panasonic with Biopace and never had knee problems. Go with what you know works.

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    FBoD Member at Large khatfull's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by realestvin7 View Post
    Sweet. I'm a fan.
    Quote Originally Posted by DVC45 View Post
    Me too!
    Quote Originally Posted by Italuminium View Post
    Like. They look wonky but bike really nice in the lower rpm's.
    Thanks, thanks, and thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
    khatfull, Elliptical rings have always had a love/hate reputation and do need to be correctly installed WRT the crankarm. Blindfolded I couldn't tell the difference, I suspect. If you like them on one bike, why not the others? Brad

    '74 Newest: 144BCD crank...not changing it from stock.
    '74 Italvega: 144BCD crank...not changing it from stock.
    '75 Fuji Professional: 144BCD crank...not changing it from stock.

    (only 110BCD and 130BCD rings in Biopace unless top506 has some secrets )

    '88 Opus IV: I want the Dura-Ace group to remain pristine.

    None of the above are everyday riders anyway. I bet you could tell the difference, especially with the smaller rings where the shape is more pronounced.

    Quote Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
    My question, pertaining to the Biopace thing is why are they not being made today? If these things were so good, why was production discontinued. This is not an attempt to rain on anyone's parade, just an honest question.
    IMHO the combination of a lot of things: 1) ineffective marketing, 2) looks, 3) perception of a "fad", 4) some folks just didn't like the feel

    I'm sure there are many things that although technically superior, fell by the wayside for various reasons. Think Betamax.

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    FBoD Member at Large khatfull's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by top506 View Post
    I'd be happy to swap a 44t ring for the 46t.

    Top
    Hey Top, let me run the gearing numbers again and if the 44T comes closer to the half-step setup we can chat. Is it the matte silver in color? My 46T was an outside ring and the pin has been removed, just so you know (I got it that way...).

    Quote Originally Posted by KOBE View Post
    I like them. like you I am a masher and they seem to give me more power going up hills. Then again it could just be in my head, but I think I mainly like them because I rode a lot of miles on a Panasonic with Biopace and never had knee problems. Go with what you know works.
    Yep...all I know is since I sold the Tiara I haven't had a Biopace bike. And I think I really miss it. We'll see today when I get the TS V out...so long as we're not getting T-storm pounded this evening

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    Senior Member AZORCH's Avatar
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    I bent my 44t last weekend and had to source a new one this past week. Someone here on the forum or on CR recommended I contact http://www.unclecrusty.biz/, whom I'd never heard of until that moment. They have several 44t rings available.

    By the way, I run 50/44/28 Biopace on the Shogun and I'll swear by (not at!) that set up.
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    Senior Member Michael Angelo's Avatar
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    Sold my last biopace a few months ago. I just use 175mm arms on everything.

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    I have 175mm arms with 4/38/28 Biopace rings and an 11-28 cassette on my Voyageur. I'm a masher and I carry weight on it so it works out great for me.

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    FBoD Member at Large khatfull's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by top506 View Post
    I'd be happy to swap a 44t ring for the 46t.

    Top
    Hey Top, actually the 46T works better than the 44T with my 13-15-18-21-26-32 freewheel. Last I rememberd when I calculated it the 44T worked better. man, can't remember @#$%^& anymore!

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    Senior Member Fletch521's Avatar
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    A bike I bought two years ago had them and I gave it a try for about 2000 miles. I really don't like them. They best word I can think of to describe the ride is "annoying."


    IMG_1620 by Fletch521, on Flickr

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    Senior Member clasher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
    My question, pertaining to the Biopace thing is why are they not being made today? If these things were so good, why was production discontinued. This is not an attempt to rain on anyone's parade, just an honest question.
    Rotor's Q-rings seem to be pretty similar in idea to biopace. I've foggy memories of another elliptical chainring being made but can't recall the name at the moment.

    I think there is at least one NIB biopace ring at the co-op I volunteer at as well as many more in various states of wear... I'll keep an eye out for a 44.

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    I just rode them for the first time this week on my new-to-me Voyageur. So far, so good. I haven't taken it out for a longer ride yet, but I'm very happy with the bike overall.

  18. #18
    grad stud. dashuaigeh's Avatar
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    Odd that mashers seem to like them most. I'm a spinner, but I found that even in spinning, the biopace seemed to smooth out my stroke. Admittedly, they sometimes look odd, but they worked in my opinion.

    Sheldon had an article mentioning why he thought biopace went out - FTA:
    The marketers of Biopace made a crucial error of judgement: too much information. In particular, they mentioned that the Biopace design was optimized for cadences of about 90 rpm and slower. Many readers interpreted this as an indication that Biopace chainrings would somehow interfere with pedaling faster than that. This perception caused a bit of a self-fullfiling prophecy, and the Conventional Wisdom arose that Biopace was bad for high-performance cyclists for this reason. I used to believe this myself, but I rode them anyway because I appreciated their other virtues.
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    Senior Member that_guy_zach's Avatar
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    Those look amazing. My Voyageur came stock with them, but when I started messing with the bike I swapped out the 2 larger rings for standard rings and the inner ring for a smaller Bio Pace. I love the feel going up hills loaded.

  20. #20
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    I'm a spinner and I like Biopace a lot, which is funny, because in general I dislike Shimano. Actually I only have one bike with biopace, because it's the only bike I have from that period.
    Last edited by rhm; 07-14-11 at 09:27 AM.

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    Senior Member Chris_in_Miami's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clasher View Post
    Rotor's Q-rings seem to be pretty similar in idea to biopace. I've foggy memories of another elliptical chainring being made but can't recall the name at the moment.
    My wife's Prelude has a set of SR Ovaltech chain rings, they're similar in concept.

    Quote Originally Posted by dashuaigeh View Post
    Odd that mashers seem to like them most. I'm a spinner, but I found that even in spinning, the biopace seemed to smooth out my stroke. Admittedly, they sometimes look odd, but they worked in my opinion.

    Sheldon had an article mentioning why he thought biopace went out - FTA:
    +1, I'm another spinner who likes them...

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    Senior Member RobbieTunes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
    My question, pertaining to the Biopace thing is why are they not being made today? If these things were so good, why was production discontinued. This is not an attempt to rain on anyone's parade, just an honest question.
    I've always wondered that.
    Perhaps the oval shapes aggravate the little bit of OCD in all of us.
    Perhaps they should have marketed them as "they seem funny now, but when you get old and your knees are shot, you'll love them..."
    Perhaps bike mechanics didn't like trying to line up the FD on them.
    Perhaps it was the name. Maybe they should have used something that sounded less medical.

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    I had BioPace rings on my old bike, but now I've got round rings on the Atala.

    I liked the BioPace rings OK, but not enough to go out of my way to source new 130BCD ones for my new crankset.

    I think I'll try them again if I ever build a SS or some other bike where I'm going to mash a lot. That was when I noticed and appreciated the difference the most.

  24. #24
    Senior Member triplebutted's Avatar
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    I road one on a hilly century (about 8k feet). I really couldn't feel the difference.
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    Quote Originally Posted by clasher View Post
    Rotor's Q-rings seem to be pretty similar in idea to biopace. I've foggy memories of another elliptical chainring being made but can't recall the name at the moment.

    I think there is at least one NIB biopace ring at the co-op I volunteer at as well as many more in various states of wear... I'll keep an eye out for a 44.
    The Rotor rings are the opposite of how the biopace are meant to work. These rings have the highest "gear" of the ring when your crank arms are horizontal. Biopace has the highest gear when your arms are vertical. The rational was that the momentum from the downstroke delivers more power to overcome the high gear. This was meant to be a knee saver. The Rotor rings are meant to deliver the most power and speed to your drive train when your legs can put the most torque on your cranks AKA with your moment arm at 90 degrees AKA knee destroyer.

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