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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 09-11-05, 08:57 PM   #1
Ken Cox
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Biopace Report

I normally ride a 52X17 (80.4") Sugino/EAI chainring and cog setup.
I experiment all the time and also like 47X17 (72") for the control and versatility.

Looking for something new to try, I came across Sheldon Brown's article and Shimano Biopace chainrings.
Apparently, Shimano tried to market these in the 90's and it didn't work out for them.
A few people who have tried them really like them, and a few "scientific" tests regarding them proved inconclusive.

So I ordered a 53t chainring from Harris Cyclery.
Dirt cheap.
I guess no one wants them.

Anyway, I put it on my Pista with the 17t EAI cog, which comes to 81.9".
I adjusted the chain tention at the two tightest points so that I had about 3/16" play, with effort.
The chain would probably feel too tight to most people.
That left it about .5" - .75" slack at the two loose points in the spin; pretty loose for me.

On the work stand, I got the wheel and crank up to speed and then let them coast down a few times.
The crank spun forever and stopped at random points, so I figured the tight chain wouldn't cause any issues.

Going out to test ride it, I went on my usual 12.5 mile training ride and threw in a little detour just to add some spice.
My training ride has a dynamic range of about 800-1000 feet in elevation changes, and takes me through both urban and suburban traffic with a couple of very intimidating hills.
I average 13 to 16 miles per hour for the whole ride, including stoplights and the like.

My first impression involved a sense of powerful fluidity and speed.
I mean, I didn't do a warp 9 or anything, but I definitely felt faster for less effort.
In fact, it felt like I'd gone down a tooth on the chainring instead of up, and I felt noticeably faster.

Long climbs in the saddle felt more comfortable.
I had better acceleration, almost "squirty."
I also noticed more control going downhill, and no tendency to "bob."
My knees seemed to like this new chainring, too.
I couldn't feel the slack at the loose points and the chain sounded as silent as usual.

Well, I thought maybe I just had a good day.
It happens.
So I asked my seventeen year old son, the world's most physically fit human being, to take it for a test ride.
He disappeared for a long time and came back with big grin.
"Fast," he said.
He doesn't talk much.
That represents about four days conversation for him.

Anyway, I'll ride this for a week and report again.
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Old 09-11-05, 09:18 PM   #2
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i hear they make you sterile.
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Old 09-11-05, 09:28 PM   #3
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I keep a set of NOS 600 rings in storage ... for when i get old....just in case the rumors are true.

Interested to know how they feel under braking and over bumps with all the slack?
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Old 09-11-05, 09:29 PM   #4
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Dustin wrote:

"i hear they make you sterile."

Fat and bald, too.
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Old 09-11-05, 10:14 PM   #5
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I had them on my geared ride. I didn't like them.

It's not that I thought I was going slower, it's more that I noticed them at all. I swapped my Biopace out for a set of round 600 rings and I'm happier for it.

Just sayin.
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Old 09-12-05, 02:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Cox
Dustin wrote:

"i hear they make you sterile."

Fat and bald, too.
No, They make you grow a long beard:
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Old 09-12-05, 10:00 AM   #7
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I've long liked Biopace rings. I am running 48/17 with a biopace ring on my fixed gear right now, and like it alot. No problems with chain tension or anything.
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Old 09-12-05, 12:10 PM   #8
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I had a biopace ring on my mntn bike about 12 years ago. I thought I heard somewhere that they were knee-destroyers.. but I have nothing to back that up, and it never really made that much sense to me either.
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Old 09-12-05, 01:40 PM   #9
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When I switch between biopace and regular bike, I notice for about 5 seconds, then not at all. The only time I notice now is on my ss city tank with 44x16 biopace combo - on a long ride (ended up on an unintentional 25 mile ride last week) with flat pedals and no clips it seemed to require less effort to keep cadence up somehow. Maybe it's because I've been riding my 35lb mountain bike and knobby tires for a few days.
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Old 09-12-05, 01:50 PM   #10
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whats a biopace chainring? whats the difference with regular chainring? please cure my ignorance of chainrings.
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Old 09-12-05, 01:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wangster
whats a biopace chainring? whats the difference with regular chainring? please cure my ignorance of chainrings.
yawn.

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/biopace.html
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Old 09-12-05, 07:14 PM   #12
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Can someone please throw all of them into a pit that goes down to hell and let me never heard about or see one ever again?

thanks.
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Old 09-12-05, 07:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 48x16
Can someone please throw all of them into a pit that goes down to hell and let me never heard about or see one ever again?

thanks.
you're just jealous because your chainrings weren't computer-engineered for maximum efficiency.
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Old 09-12-05, 07:27 PM   #14
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for the sf bay area folks who love biopace, Urban Ore in Berkeley has lots (or did a couple days ago) of them in the wrappers for a buck a piece.
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Old 09-12-05, 11:56 PM   #15
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I'm a biopace fan. I still use them on my Miyata 1000 touring bike. Hill feel easier to climb with them.
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Old 09-13-05, 01:18 AM   #16
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its all in the mind hahaha
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Old 09-30-05, 10:01 AM   #17
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Recently got a Miyata 912 with Biopace.Oblong rings?Wierd!!So after receiving the bike UPS and reassembling it I thought I'd take it for a 8-10 mi. stretch.FAST!!Quick starts and up to altitude in no time.The Biopace makes the 912 quite the interesting ride.Fluid....
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Old 09-30-05, 10:20 AM   #18
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"I'm Kent Brockman, and this is a BioPace report"
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Old 09-30-05, 02:15 PM   #19
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how does skidding feel on a biopace setup? might be fun to throw on my commuter...

Last edited by modmon; 09-30-05 at 02:21 PM.
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Old 10-13-05, 07:20 PM   #20
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I'm riding a Gitane 912 so have'nt tried it,but from what the Bio~Pace feels like I'm sure it'd be alot of fun.I'm 44 and started out on dirt-bikes(BMX),so I'm very familiar with skidding.In Florida we used to go down to the bottom part of a road on the steepest hill we could find and scatter sand all along the edge of the pavement.We'd then go to the top of the hill,start down,then once we reached the highest speed possible we'd wait until the first moment we would hit the sand,slam the rear brake and ride the skid all the way to the end of the sand~patch.Fun Stuff!!So as far as the Bio~Pace is concerned,once you got to the end of your slide I bet you could release your rear brake,balance your cycle straight back up,give your cranks a few pumps and you'd be off and running again with little or no hesitation.As I had said in my earlier post,the Bio~Pace has excellent pickup,regardless of what "anti-computer designed" individuals say.
Bio~Pace would be an interesting experiment for your commuter...Give it a try!!You can grab em' up relatively cheap on eBay if you shop for a bit .......

Hey Cyclers!!Don't look now,but your wheels are going around !!
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