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Review - Shimano Biopace Crankset

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Review - Shimano Biopace Crankset

Old 12-01-20, 06:44 AM
  #101  
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After orienting my small chainring correctly (with the nub underneath the crankarm like someone pointed out) and comparing this to two other bikes with circular chainrings, I have to say that the difference is not drastic. If you didn't know that you got elliptical chainrings fitted, you'd probably not even notice much difference. But the effect does become aparrent if you're the sort that really focuses on timing the 6 o clock position of your pedal stroke correctly.

I've been using my smaller chainring alot more ever since which has resulted in a subtle bump to my pedalling cadence. The small jump in teeth between the two front ratios proves to be very useful for my needs.

If I had to explain what Biopace feels like in a nutshell, the first thing I must note, that if you just mash your pedals without thinking twice about it, you're probably not going to like the way they feel. I don't feel as efficient putting this effort into my pedal stroke on a bike with circular chainrings. Youre required to sort of mash through the powerful part of the stroke and accept the slight drop off in power as the pedal spins back up without biopace.

With the biopace crank, its carefully designed around a near identical speed of the crank regardless where in the stroke you are. Near impossible to do with circular chainrings. I don't see anything wrong with using these even if you are the sort to spin fast.

I feel like I am being scolded unless I am putting in some sort of effort into maximizing the efficiency of my pedalling. Felt lumpy at first until I got used to it.
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Old 12-01-20, 07:04 AM
  #102  
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
Does it make sense to adjust the chainrings so that the teeth count increases at the powerful part of the stroke?
That is the idea behind modern oval rings.
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Old 12-01-20, 11:34 AM
  #103  
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Osymetric

Wiggins and Froome.
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Old 12-01-20, 12:53 PM
  #104  
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Originally Posted by BHays View Post
Wiggins and Froome.
Wiggins went back to round rings ...
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Old 12-01-20, 02:22 PM
  #105  
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
One thing to note - I've tried testing fitting the triple chainring crankset onto both my bikes and the smallest chainring did not clear the chainstays on either bike. You need a certain length bottom bracket spindle it seems.
So I am not a trolling expert, but it seems just based on this quote alone that there is still a lot out there for you to learn, or maybe you are just doing this for your own laughs. That is totally fine, who really cares.

On a serious note, if you are indeed serious; I have many failed bike projects under my belt, but I guess every time I learned something that made me a better rider or mechanic I never really felt the need to take to the internet to start preaching to everyone about something that i just learned that they have probably known for years. Setup your rings right, go ride them, have fun and move on.
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Old 12-01-20, 07:10 PM
  #106  
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
...Why don't you like the 175 arms? Whats your inseam?...
33". Technically 175 cranks are fine. But with age (63), loss of flexibility and cumulative injuries I occasionally feel twinges in my knees, hips and lower back with longer cranks. When I switched to 172.5 cranks with round rings, and 170 cranks with Biopace, it felt much more natural.

And I work a lot on physical therapy. Last month I resumed longer walks and jogging for the first time in more than 30 years. But I still prefer my knee/thigh being angled at the top of the stroke, never horizontal with the ground. I know some younger, stronger riders do better with a slightly lower saddle position and more extreme knee/thigh flex, but I can't do that anymore. I have to limit my knees' range of motion to prevent injury, so my saddle is a bit higher than usual and I prefer shorter cranks to reduce knee flex. I'll never have anywhere close to the power I had even five years ago, so I'm mainly interested in preventing injury now.

A bit of a digression, but for years there have been theories about longer cranks being better for "torque" or "mashing" but there's no evidence in lab tests to demonstrate this effect. In recent years Greg LeMond has talked about changing his earlier views on theories about crank length.

Two of my bikes still have 175 cranks but I plan to change everything to 170 or 172.5. I'm hesitating on one bike only because it has an Ultegra Hollowtech crankset and won't be cheap to replace. My other bikes are all square taper BBs and I have plenty of spare cranks and chainrings in various sizes, so swapping is easy.
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Old 12-01-20, 08:14 PM
  #107  
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Originally Posted by Mulberry20 View Post
From an engineering stand point, the whole idea is completely flawed. How many things that rotate are other than a circle?
Mazda rotary engines rotate on an eccentric center to allow the rotor to rotate thru the combustion stages.
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Old 12-01-20, 08:51 PM
  #108  
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Originally Posted by Mulberry20 View Post
From an engineering stand point, the whole idea is completely flawed. How many things that rotate are other than a circle?
Cams?
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Old 12-02-20, 09:19 PM
  #109  
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I'm a casual rider - maybe a couple hundred km per week when the weather is decent (above 15C and no rain).
Both my Miele's have biopace rings. Can't really tell the difference except when climbing hills. It seems a bit easier vs. a couple other bikes that have standard circular rings.
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Old 12-04-20, 02:37 PM
  #110  
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Data point

I have a 30t Absolute Black oval chainring on a 1x11 MTB. I'm 61, and climb a lot of steep trails.
I have no scientific argument to offer, but my knees and lungs both seem to like it.
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Old 12-04-20, 07:54 PM
  #111  
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When was biopace discontinued?

I would be interested in other reviews of contemporaneous products from 1985, such as the top TV from 1985. Which was a sony trinitron. Might actually be a nicer picture than nowadays, but a high-end TV back then was less than 30"
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Old 12-04-20, 07:59 PM
  #112  
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
When was biopace discontinued?

I would be interested in other reviews of contemporaneous products from 1985, such as the top TV from 1985. Which was a sony trinitron. Might actually be a nicer picture than nowadays, but a high-end TV back then was less than 30"
Biopace discontinued when Shimano realized that investing a huge amount of time and resources into designing chainrings designed to work naturally to your inputs was disregarded by everyone who didn't wish to put a little bit of effort into perfecting their pedal stroke.

Or maybe everyone was simply so good at pedalling that the cranks effectively moved at one constant rate throughout the entire revolution and Shimano grossly misinterpreted the sheer capabilities of flabby untrained old men riding bikes.
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Old 12-04-20, 08:00 PM
  #113  
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Originally Posted by slowguynz View Post
I have a 30t Absolute Black oval chainring on a 1x11 MTB. I'm 61, and climb a lot of steep trails.
I have no scientific argument to offer, but my knees and lungs both seem to like it.
They must help smooth out the power delivery on the steep climbs and help set you into a more effecient pedal stroke
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Old 12-04-20, 09:30 PM
  #114  
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Originally Posted by slowguynz View Post
I have a 30t Absolute Black oval chainring on a 1x11 MTB. I'm 61, and climb a lot of steep trails.
I have no scientific argument to offer, but my knees and lungs both seem to like it.
Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
They must help smooth out the power delivery on the steep climbs and help set you into a more effecient pedal stroke
Or maybe his knees and lungs just prefer extremely low gearing on climbs?
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Old 12-04-20, 09:58 PM
  #115  
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
When was biopace discontinued?

I would be interested in other reviews of contemporaneous products from 1985, such as the top TV from 1985. Which was a sony trinitron. Might actually be a nicer picture than nowadays, but a high-end TV back then was less than 30"
You could get one that was larger than 30"...But did you ever have to move one? They were soooo heavy, and the shape -- with that huge picture tube -- made it awkward even for two people to move around.

But still, a Trinitron, at least in its time, was a better piece of equipment than those silly oval chainrings the OP is carrying on about.
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Old 12-04-20, 10:15 PM
  #116  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Or maybe his knees and lungs just prefer extremely low gearing on climbs?
Haha no doubt they do. How unusual...

I do find most of my contemporaries end up walking up the steepest sections I can ride.

Due to careful use of a gear calculator when building new bikes, I can also report that my MTB lowest gearing (as in metres of development, not just gear ratio) has purposely remained exactly the same since 2004. Given that I've aged a bit over that time, and yet am still riding the same steep sections, with perceived less effort and less knee strain, I'm prepared to say that the oval chainring I've been using for the last 4 years is more than just marketing fluff.

Or maybe it's all in my head. Either way, I'm happy.
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Old 12-04-20, 10:24 PM
  #117  
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
Biopace discontinued when Shimano realized that investing a huge amount of time and resources into designing chainrings designed to work naturally to your inputs was disregarded by everyone who didn't wish to put a little bit of effort into perfecting their pedal stroke.

Or maybe everyone was simply so good at pedalling that the cranks effectively moved at one constant rate throughout the entire revolution and Shimano grossly misinterpreted the sheer capabilities of flabby untrained old men riding bikes.
"Oval chainrings have been around, on and off, since about 1890. The fact that they aren't in general use tells me that there's no advantage in using them.
Generally, there's a fad for them every so often. A few people like them, but not enough to sustain their general availability, so after a few years they are gone until the next revival."
(Taken from another online debate about Biopace)
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Old 12-05-20, 07:20 AM
  #118  
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Currently using the Biopace on my first indoor trainer. Bike was in storage for 12 years and honestly do not feel any difference (both feel smooth and natural) in pedaling between that and the tandem we still use when conditions warrant.

The only thing I found odd was that after 2 weeks on a trainer it seemed easier pedaling outside. I think that is more trainer resistance than Biopace.
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Old 12-05-20, 09:51 AM
  #119  
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I have a couple of bikes with them, and several more without. Also find no difference.
The only time I think of Biopace is when the occasional poster says they are taking them off their bike because they are substandard to which I think... no difference really. I wouldn't remove or add either way.
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Old 12-05-20, 11:36 AM
  #120  
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since there are a bunch of biopace users..... anyone have need for this? its in my bin and i have no crankset that can use it.


biopace chainring
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Old 12-05-20, 12:16 PM
  #121  
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Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
"Oval chainrings have been around, on and off, since about 1890. The fact that they aren't in general use tells me that there's no advantage in using them.
Generally, there's a fad for them every so often. A few people like them, but not enough to sustain their general availability, so after a few years they are gone until the next revival."
(Taken from another online debate about Biopace)
The less someone understands about the differences between different "oval" rings, the more this sounds reasonable.

However, the functional difference between Biopace and the current generation of oval rings is actually much greater than the difference between either one and round rings. In other words, modern ovals perform more like a round ring than they do like Biopace. And vice-versa.

Modern ovals are currently doing quite well in the MTB market. Many companies selling them and they are generally well received.
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Old 12-05-20, 06:28 PM
  #122  
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Originally Posted by shrimp123 View Post
since there are a bunch of biopace users..... anyone have need for this? its in my bin and i have no crankset that can use it.


biopace chainring

According to the nub which shows where the pedal is supposed to be oriented, you can clearly see the ring js largest at the 3 and 9 o clock position.
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Old 12-07-20, 10:52 AM
  #123  
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Originally Posted by shrimp123 View Post
since there are a bunch of biopace users..... anyone have need for this? its in my bin and i have no crankset that can use it.


biopace chainring
What is the BCD on that ring? I would gladly take it.
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Old 12-11-20, 10:45 PM
  #124  
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Originally Posted by mplsbiker View Post
What is the BCD on that ring? I would gladly take it.
not sure how to measure BCD.... but here you go



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Old 12-11-20, 10:46 PM
  #125  
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and here is the back side for all to lust about


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