Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Fifty Plus (50+)
Reload this Page >

Bio Pace Rings

Notices
Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Bio Pace Rings

Old 07-10-09, 03:44 PM
  #1  
stapfam
Time for a change.
Thread Starter
 
stapfam's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: 6 miles inland from the coast of Sussex, in the South East of England
Posts: 19,913

Bikes: Dale MT2000. Bianchi FS920 Kona Explosif. Giant TCR C. Boreas Ignis. Pinarello Fp Uno.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Bio Pace Rings

They seem to be getting the occasional mention right now and I am wondering if anyone has done any real tests to see if they work better than a conventional chain ring?

My only experience of them was on a bike about 15 years ago. It was an old secondhand bike then so no idea how long they had been around. I did not find any advantage to using them at the time and the bike was passed on to someone else. I rode with him and the only comment I could pass is that he used to throw chains a bit more frequently than to did on his previous bike. I put this down to him keeping pressure on the pedals when changing and with a rear derailler that was constantly moving to keep the chain under tension.

So has any one used the "NEW" bio-pace rings and found them of any advantage over a convential ring?
__________________
How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


Spike Milligan
stapfam is offline  
Old 07-10-09, 04:05 PM
  #2  
BluesDawg
just keep riding
 
BluesDawg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Milledgeville, Georgia
Posts: 13,560

Bikes: 2018 Black Mountain Cycles MCD,2017 Advocate Cycles Seldom Seen Drop Bar, 2017 Niner Jet 9 Alloy, 2015 Zukas custom road, 2003 KHS Milano Tandem, 1986 Nishiki Cadence rigid MTB, 1980ish Fuji S-12S

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 173 Post(s)
Liked 26 Times in 16 Posts
Are you asking about actual Bio-Pace or the new designs based on similar concepts?
BluesDawg is offline  
Old 07-10-09, 06:03 PM
  #3  
The Weak Link
Banned.
 
The Weak Link's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Post-partisan Paradise
Posts: 4,938

Bikes: GF Wahoo '05, Trek T1000 '04, Lemond Buenos Aires '07

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 2 Posts
Bio-Pace sounds like something you catch and then have to take Bicyclovir for.

I'll be here all week. Try the roast beef.
The Weak Link is offline  
Old 07-10-09, 06:12 PM
  #4  
Velo Fellow
Senior Member
 
Velo Fellow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 352
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I rode original biopace in the late 80's. In retrospect, it was a notion then that was riding the crest of the new "CAD" (computer assisted design...a nifty, trendy term at the time that was being touted on everything from rings to bottle cages). At first, it felt uneven like you're riding a soft tire losing air. Despite its claims to "enhance the power phase of your pedal stroke", I found a more natural spin when I changed out to normal round rings. No experience with the "new" BioPace. More marketing hype?
Velo Fellow is offline  
Old 07-10-09, 06:17 PM
  #5  
Sixty Fiver
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Posts: 27,268

Bikes: See my sig...

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 58 Post(s)
Liked 28 Times in 18 Posts
It was a case of sound design and poor marketing that is being re-visited now, some 20 years later.

They really shine when one is climbing (I use them on my utility bike), can eliminate some bounce when one is spinning those pedals at very high cadences, and are easy on the knees as they unload the drive just a little when the knee is under the most loading stress.

Anyone with a smooth and well developed pedal stroke is not going to appreciate these as much as someone who does not and will notice their rotational difference more.
Sixty Fiver is offline  
Old 07-10-09, 07:29 PM
  #6  
brotherj
Senior Member
 
brotherj's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Hilliard, Ohio
Posts: 89

Bikes: Schwinn MTB, Surly LHT, Cannondal CADD8ek XO

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've ridden Biopace rings on my Trek 700 for about three years. When I first got the bike they felt "funny". Couldn't really place what the feel was, but very quickly didn't notice. Below is a link to Sheldon Brown's article about them

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/biopace.html
brotherj is offline  
Old 07-10-09, 10:38 PM
  #7  
BluesDawg
just keep riding
 
BluesDawg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Milledgeville, Georgia
Posts: 13,560

Bikes: 2018 Black Mountain Cycles MCD,2017 Advocate Cycles Seldom Seen Drop Bar, 2017 Niner Jet 9 Alloy, 2015 Zukas custom road, 2003 KHS Milano Tandem, 1986 Nishiki Cadence rigid MTB, 1980ish Fuji S-12S

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 173 Post(s)
Liked 26 Times in 16 Posts
This may mean something to some of the engineer types out there. I didn't try to read it myself.
https://www.noncircularchainring.be/

Bobby Julich was using one type of non circular chainrings in competition and Carlos Sastre used Rotor Q-Rings in winning the 2008 Tour de France. In fact, all of the Cervelo TestTeam riders are using them this year. Thor Hushov was using them when he won stage 6 of the tour Thursday. Who knows? Maybe there is something to it.
https://www.pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fu...atname=Toolbox
BluesDawg is offline  
Old 07-11-09, 08:54 PM
  #8  
Artkansas 
Pedaled too far.
 
Artkansas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: La Petite Roche
Posts: 12,851
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
Well, my Hard Rock with biopace rings definitely climbs better than my recumbent without them, but there are so many other variables that I can't pin it down to the biopace.
__________________
"He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
Artkansas is offline  
Old 07-12-09, 09:16 AM
  #9  
BluesDawg
just keep riding
 
BluesDawg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Milledgeville, Georgia
Posts: 13,560

Bikes: 2018 Black Mountain Cycles MCD,2017 Advocate Cycles Seldom Seen Drop Bar, 2017 Niner Jet 9 Alloy, 2015 Zukas custom road, 2003 KHS Milano Tandem, 1986 Nishiki Cadence rigid MTB, 1980ish Fuji S-12S

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 173 Post(s)
Liked 26 Times in 16 Posts
^^^^^
BluesDawg is offline  
Old 07-12-09, 09:39 AM
  #10  
n4zou
Scott
 
n4zou's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,393

Bikes: Too Many

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
It was a case of sound design and poor marketing that is being re-visited now, some 20 years later.

They really shine when one is climbing (I use them on my utility bike), can eliminate some bounce when one is spinning those pedals at very high cadences, and are easy on the knees as they unload the drive just a little when the knee is under the most loading stress.

Anyone with a smooth and well developed pedal stroke is not going to appreciate these as much as someone who does not and will notice their rotational difference more.
A couple of years ago 42/32/22 Bio Pace Rings started selling for high prices on ebay. A professional rider swore by them. Soon others were scouring the country for Bio Pace Rings causing the high ebay prices for them. Someone at Shimano picked up on this and went back into production. I use them myself on my touring bike. They are much easier on the knees. After obtaining a touring bike with Bio Pace I rode it for a couple of hundred miles over a week making sure it was what I wanted before spending more money on it. I thought the frame geometry was improving my knee comfort on long rides. I striped the bike and rebuilt it. This included removing the Bio Pace crank and replacing it with a new crank. Thats when I noticed the bikes frame geometry was not associated with the comfort level on my knees. I put the old Bio Pace crank back on and noted how much easier it was on my knees. Needless to say I am a convert.
n4zou is offline  
Old 07-12-09, 01:15 PM
  #11  
Rixtory
Senior Member
 
Rixtory's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Bloody Hills of Saucon Valley
Posts: 103

Bikes: 1986 Cilo 12 Speed, 2003 Trek 7700 FX, 2016 Specialized Diverge, 2020 Specialized Turbo Vado 5-SL

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
had them on my first really nice road bike - 1986 Cilo. I ended up in mid 90's replacing the front crank with Shimano 600 Biopace, but this one doesn't seem as oblong as the old 105 did.
Rixtory is offline  
Old 07-12-09, 07:38 PM
  #12  
zonatandem
Senior Member
 
zonatandem's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 11,017

Bikes: Custom Zona c/f tandem + Scott Plasma single

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 75 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 14 Times in 7 Posts
Used them back when (80s) on a triple. Only time it felt 'different', but not necessarily better, for me was when it was on the inner small chainring.
Thought they were just more hype than function.
zonatandem is offline  
Old 07-13-09, 08:09 AM
  #13  
wobblyoldgeezer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Brighton, UK
Posts: 1,561

Bikes: Rocky Mountain Solo, Specialised Sirrus Triple (quick road tourer), Santana Arriva Tandem

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
They seem to be getting the occasional mention right now and I am wondering if anyone has done any real tests to see if they work better than a conventional chain ring?

My only experience of them was on a bike about 15 years ago. It was an old secondhand bike then so no idea how long they had been around. I did not find any advantage to using them at the time and the bike was passed on to someone else. I rode with him and the only comment I could pass is that he used to throw chains a bit more frequently than to did on his previous bike. I put this down to him keeping pressure on the pedals when changing and with a rear derailler that was constantly moving to keep the chain under tension.

So has any one used the "NEW" bio-pace rings and found them of any advantage over a convential ring?
I don't have any views on the question concerning 'new' bio pace rings - but for what it's worth

My second best, and still good, bike is a 1990 Specialized Sirrus Triple - lugged steel, drop bars, down tube indexed Shimano 105, advertised 19 years ago as a 'fast day tourer', which I've used and enjoyed as my main bike until 2 years ago when I bought a newer steel/carbon machine with Ultegra 50/34 compact .

The Specialized has Bio-pace triple crankset. I still like it, and it's my tourer of choice. I'm aware that I like it best as a tourer, and that the cadence it encourages is more 'touring', maybe 75 circles a minute, and I'm happier at a higher (95?) cadence on the round Ultegra/FSA crank and gear set on the new one. Trying to spin that fast on the bio-pace has me bouncing in the saddle.

Never had chain-throwing problems on either. Both good, but the bio-pace suits me better for longer/slower. I remember that back in 1990 the advertised advantage of bio-pace was for runners transitioning to cycling who might have more of a 'striding' than 'spinning' approach.

Love 'em both!

Last edited by wobblyoldgeezer; 07-13-09 at 08:28 AM. Reason: remove inadvertent repetition 'ultegra'
wobblyoldgeezer is offline  
Old 07-13-09, 08:24 AM
  #14  
BluesDawg
just keep riding
 
BluesDawg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Milledgeville, Georgia
Posts: 13,560

Bikes: 2018 Black Mountain Cycles MCD,2017 Advocate Cycles Seldom Seen Drop Bar, 2017 Niner Jet 9 Alloy, 2015 Zukas custom road, 2003 KHS Milano Tandem, 1986 Nishiki Cadence rigid MTB, 1980ish Fuji S-12S

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 173 Post(s)
Liked 26 Times in 16 Posts
I have never owned a bike that had Bio-Pace and have only ridden them a little. I noticed no real difference. I have worked on some bikes with Bio-Pace rings and I know that setting up the front derailleur is trickier.

I was not aware that Shimano was producing them again. I have not found them being sold anywhere except old ones on eBay.
BluesDawg is offline  
Old 07-14-09, 02:10 PM
  #15  
Pat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 2,794

Bikes: litespeed, cannondale

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I recall biopace rings from way back. The notion is that your are pedalling fewer teeth in the dead part of your stroke and more on the power stroke.

THere is a problem with biopace rings. The higher your cadence the closer to round you will want. The old biopace rings were nearly round on the big ring, less round on the middle ring and darn near square on the small ring. I had a set and I liked spinning in the small ring on steep hills. It felt like pedalling a square. I ripped off the small ring and put on a round.

They became nearly universal and sold initially at a premium. THen people learned about round rings again and round rings sold at a premium.

They are a good idea that does not really work. They have had at least 2 incarnations in the past and have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.
Pat is offline  
Old 07-14-09, 02:27 PM
  #16  
stapfam
Time for a change.
Thread Starter
 
stapfam's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: 6 miles inland from the coast of Sussex, in the South East of England
Posts: 19,913

Bikes: Dale MT2000. Bianchi FS920 Kona Explosif. Giant TCR C. Boreas Ignis. Pinarello Fp Uno.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by Pat View Post
I recall biopace rings from way back. The notion is that your are pedalling fewer teeth in the dead part of your stroke and more on the power stroke.

THere is a problem with biopace rings. The higher your cadence the closer to round you will want. The old biopace rings were nearly round on the big ring, less round on the middle ring and darn near square on the small ring. I had a set and I liked spinning in the small ring on steep hills. It felt like pedalling a square. I ripped off the small ring and put on a round.

They became nearly universal and sold initially at a premium. THen people learned about round rings again and round rings sold at a premium.

They are a good idea that does not really work. They have had at least 2 incarnations in the past and have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.
This is my feelings completely- but I am prepared to think that Modern technology- and a lot of testing- MAY have improved the NEW biopace rings over the old form. I am just not prepared to get a set till it is proved conclusively that they do work. and that proof is not there yet.
__________________
How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


Spike Milligan
stapfam is offline  
Old 07-14-09, 02:54 PM
  #17  
BluesDawg
just keep riding
 
BluesDawg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Milledgeville, Georgia
Posts: 13,560

Bikes: 2018 Black Mountain Cycles MCD,2017 Advocate Cycles Seldom Seen Drop Bar, 2017 Niner Jet 9 Alloy, 2015 Zukas custom road, 2003 KHS Milano Tandem, 1986 Nishiki Cadence rigid MTB, 1980ish Fuji S-12S

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 173 Post(s)
Liked 26 Times in 16 Posts
I'm still not clear on the question of whether or not there are any new Shimano BioPace rings. I know there are the Q-Rings by Rotor which are kind of similar in concept, but different in design.
Can anyone provide a link to any new Shimano BioPace?
BluesDawg is offline  
Old 07-16-09, 09:08 AM
  #18  
BILLB58
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Cape Coral, FL
Posts: 389

Bikes: '79 Schwinn Varsity

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I mounted a set of "Q Rings" on May 7. "Q Rings" were made by an independent company, but Schimano bought them this past winter. They were not cheap, but since I needed to replace my worn large ring on my Dura Ace 7800 wheel, I thought I would try them. I did have to raise the front derailleur a bit. I have about 1200 miles on them at this point. It definitely took a bit to get used to them. I commute 23 mi. R/T every day. At first, I felt I was a bit slower with them in headwind conditions. This was probably more because of my being in a higher gear than I should have been because of the oval effect. I was in the same gear that I normally would have been in at that time. I was ready to take them off and scrap the idea, after the first two weeks.

Then I tried a different approach, and set my computer to cadence, and started to focus on that. After about two weeks of that, I think I got my shifting in tune to the "Q Rings" rather than my old multi-year, same set of gears method. I live in the big ring and just shift the rear. Now I am quite pleased with my decision.

I notice a significant increase in acceleration from stop lights. I can't quantify that, but I "feel" quicker.
In headwind conditions...lately just about every night commuting home, I am not "noticing" any change. In no wind or low wind conditions though, my normal speed on straight-aways is between 21-23 mph. Now I seem to be doing 23-25 mph. I am crediting the "Q Rings" with that 5 to 10% improvement.

This has been my very limited experience.....I don't keep track of a lot of statistics....so unfortunately, the soft, fuzzy "feel" is positive from my perception.
BILLB58 is offline  
Old 07-16-09, 12:43 PM
  #19  
TromboneAl
Senior Member
 
TromboneAl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Far, Far Northern California
Posts: 2,873

Bikes: 1997 Specialized M2Pro

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The biopace rings on my wife's 87 Centurion have never thrown a chain.
TromboneAl is offline  
Old 12-01-09, 10:15 AM
  #20  
The Consumer
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Scotland
Posts: 20

Bikes: cheap and free ones

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Im running a bio pace ring on my fixed gear bike...definatly not the best idea but no chain problems yet. Although I have finally found a round ring to swap it with so might notice the difference once its on but it might just ruin the whole charecter of the 20 quid bike (borderline deathtrap).
The Consumer is offline  
Old 12-01-09, 10:37 AM
  #21  
Garfield Cat
Senior Member
 
Garfield Cat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Huntington Beach, CA
Posts: 6,963

Bikes: Cervelo Prodigy

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 410 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 46 Times in 35 Posts
Brad Wiggins uses the French version from O Symetrics. Try www.osemetric.com. The Cervelo Test Team uses Rotor Q Rings from Spain. Try www.rotorbike.com

The rotorbike.com site does have technical data about its rings.
Garfield Cat is online now  
Old 12-01-09, 10:48 AM
  #22  
waldowales
Old Fogy
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Murray, Utah
Posts: 1,225
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've been riding a set of original BioPaces rings on my old Hardrock for over a year. If I couldn't see them, I wouldn't know they are not round. I've never thrown a chain, and why anyone would think the derailer is moving more is a mystery to me, as mine doesn't. The chain tension does not change as the rings rotate.
waldowales is offline  
Old 12-01-09, 10:54 AM
  #23  
Sixty Fiver
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Posts: 27,268

Bikes: See my sig...

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 58 Post(s)
Liked 28 Times in 18 Posts
Originally Posted by Pat View Post
They are a good idea that does not really work. They have had at least 2 incarnations in the past and have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.
https://go.bikeforums.net/?id=42X1295...2Fbiopace.html

I used to think and Sheldon and I were the only folks who appreciated Biopace rings... they have their place and are not for everyone but the science is sound.
Sixty Fiver is offline  
Old 12-01-09, 11:35 AM
  #24  
Retro Grouch 
Senior Member
 
Retro Grouch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St Peters, Missouri
Posts: 30,151

Bikes: Catrike 559 I own some others but they don't get ridden very much.

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1545 Post(s)
Liked 536 Times in 315 Posts
Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
They seem to be getting the occasional mention right now and I am wondering if anyone has done any real tests to see if they work better than a conventional chain ring?
Of course, Shimano did.

Unfortunately, the factor that got left out was cadence. At one time, Shimano was marketing two different bio-pace designs. The Dura Ace design was much "rounder" than the design used in the lower groups. Granny gear chainrings looked almost square but I reckoned it was about 1 gear easier for grinding up a steep hill.

My suspecion is that the faster you pedal the more momentum carries your feet over the "dead centers" and the less benefit you get from biopace chainrings. I've read lots of posts from folks who say they love biopace chainrings. That tells me there's a benefit. If I'm right, the benefit probably only helps the people who ride at low cadences.
Retro Grouch is offline  
Old 12-01-09, 11:38 AM
  #25  
Pat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 2,794

Bikes: litespeed, cannondale

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
https://go.bikeforums.net/?id=42X1295...2Fbiopace.html

I used to think and Sheldon and I were the only folks who appreciated Biopace rings... they have their place and are not for everyone but the science is sound.
Well, Sixty Fiver, I guess I spoke to emphatically. I run a high cadence. Even with the very mild distortion on the big ring in biopace, it still always felt a little funny. As I said, the small ring drove me crazy. I think it was probably optimized for an rpm of something like 60. But you are probably right. They probably worked very well for certain people.

I think the problem with the whole concept is you need more distortion from round the slower the cadence goes. That makes biopace and other eliptical designs not generally applicable.
Pat is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.