Q ring upgrade - Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh......

Discussion in 'Bike trends, tech, and industry' started by Robert Holler, Aug 21, 2014.

  1. Your cog, for that picture, is approximately in the middle of your cassette. With that same crank arm angle, you could compare the chainring's point of tangency for two other cogs: your smallest (fewest teeth) and your largest (most teeth). The smallest cog should make the point of tangency closer to the chainring's smallest diameter (better for higher speed), while the largest cog should make the point of tangency farther from the chainring's smallest diameter (worse for lower speed). Here's what is going on with your setting with the current cog. There are three points in the leg stroke. The first is when your foot is closest to you (leg position #1). The second is at maximum mechanical advantage of the crank arm angle (but middle of your leg's mechanical advantage as well as middle of your leg's stroke), which is where the line from the center of your hip joint rotation to the center of your pedal rotation is perpendicular to (90 degrees) the crank arm (leg position #2). The third is your leg's maximum extension, where your foot is farthest from your body and your leg is nearly straight. Your leg increases it's leverage from minimum at position #1 to maximum at position #3, but your crank arm leverage changes from zero at position #1, to maximum at position #2, to zero at position #3. The weakest leverage is at position #1 because both leg leverage and crank leverage are at their minimums, with both gaining leverage simultaneously from #1 to #2. At position #2, your leg has medium leverage, but your crank angle has maximum leverage, so it's not a bad position because the two balance out. At position #3, your leg has maximum leverage, but your crank leverage has decreased to zero, so from #2 to #3 there is also some balance. If you had the chain's point of tangency at the smallest chainring diameter when in position #1, you would have the best help from the elliptical chainring from #1 to #2 as the chainring diameter at tangency changes from minimum diameter (most chainring leverage) at #1 to maximum diameter (least chainring leverage) at #2. Remember #2 is where the crank leverage is maximum but the leg leverage is medium, so this is the best place for the least chainring advantage (due to largest chainring diameter at the chain's point of tangency). From #2 to #3, the chainring diameter decreases so that the chainring's help is increasing as the leg leverage is increasing (which at first seems unbalanced), but is actually balanced by the crank arm's quick, sinusoidal drop in leverage from maximum to minimum leverage from #2 to #3.

    In your case, your point of tangency is not too far off at #3, so the effective difference in all positions will be somewhat small and you would have to test it to find out how much difference it makes and how different it feels. But for you, in position #1 going to position #2, the balancing effect of the chainring is delayed a little instead of being immediately available at #1. This is theoretically not ideal and might provide you with an improvement. At #2, the chainring's effect will be less than the potential maximum because the balancing effect is shifted a little bit to a position just after #2, where your leg advantage is growing, but your crank arm leverage is quickly decreasing. So the chainring's maximum disadvantageous leverage is being shifted toward the steep drop off of the crank arm's leverage, while the leg leverage continues to increase, in an attempt to compensate for the crank arm's quick loss of leverage. This is also not ideal, but is probably a small effect in your case. Going from #2 to #3, your leg leverage increases to maximum at #3, but your crank arm leverage goes quickly to zero, while your chainring's effect is shifted past #3, thereby not making the best use of your legs tremendous leverage while approaching #3, because your chainring's diameter is larger than necessary, thereby making the force required at the end of your stroke harder than necessary for the same torque output.

    So, the bottom line is: A) Your setting is not far off from the theoretical ideal. B) The specific cog being used will affect the tuning by changing the point of chain tangency on the chainring at any given point in the rotation. Keep this in mind when tuning because a compromise will be necessary. Try it and post some pictures to see the effect of smallest vs. largest cogs on the chain's point of tangency on the chainring at #3. C) The way you have your chainring tuned now, the non-ideal effect will lessen as you shift into smaller cogs (fewer teeth), and vice versa. D) You will have to experiment to find out how much difference you can feel and what seems to work best for you. The best case would be that you could gain a little more advantage for free (due to effeciency), while the worst case would be that you would not notice a beneficial difference. I'm interested to see what you find.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
  2. super slim

    super slim Zen MBB Master

    Joe, 6th gear (15T) is the lowest gear that I would use the big ring(53T average Q), normally I would be in 9th or 10th (12T, 11T) before changing up to the big gear, when going down a hill, then down at normally 7th or 8th, to the middle (39T average Q) !

    when in 10th(11 T) the full chain engagement is 3 teeth instead of 5. 2017-03-14 01.33.44.jpg
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
  3. So you are not far off of the ideal setting (by what I'm defining as ideal - others may disagree). Although, you still have room for experimentation. That is, you could move your point of tangency a little farther, by about three teeth, by adjusting your chainring relative to your crank arm.
  4. RojoRacing

    RojoRacing Donut Powered Wise-guy

    Weird, I'm sure I spent 3 months back in June riding the V with Qrings exclusively and then jumped back on the Ridley with found rings and had no problems. I just rode the Ridely with round rings for the first time in 3 months and the whole ride it felt like my power was super peaky and not round/smooth. Would have been a great day to have swapped my garmin pedals onto the Ridely for data analysis but I didn't bother because I'm facing the V this weekend.

    Does anyone have and Q-rings for sale in the standard BCD? I think that makes it a 130mm BCD.
  5. All I have is a 42T inner. Couple of thousand miles on it, but still in good shape.
  6. Brad R

    Brad R Well-Known Member

    Based on this thread, I ordered a Doval ring for my trike. I like it, but I couldn't get it adjusted exactly where I wanted. I have a five arm crank. I rotated the ring one arm off from the DF position and used the micro adjustment to increase the offset from the nominal. If I could increase the offset one more micro step, it would feel better. Are Q rings more adjustable for different angles between the chainline and the line between the hip joint and bottom bracket?

    I might be able to get better alignment on the trike with a 4 arm crank.

    I like it and continue to use it. What I feel when using it is that it feels really good if I can keep my cadence high enough. If the hill gets too steep and my cadence drops too low it feels like the high radius part of the ring engages while my knee is bent more than I would like.

    Also, will elliptical rings make sense on the T50? Should I stay with round if I am going to adjust boom length to let different height people ride the bike?
  7. ratz

    ratz Wielder of the Rubber Mallet

    On the Doval; you can move the entire Adjuster to different positions on the ring to access different ranges of micro adjustments did you try that? It's not straight forward, until it is..... There should be two Positions that extend the adjusts in opposition directions. You just have to figure out which one get's you that 1 or 2 more positions than you currently have. Sometime's it's on the opposite side of the ring depending on which way you need to move.

    If you get a q-ring setup for yourself on a T50 it's going to remain reasonable at most height adjustments. A QXL would be more problematic.
  8. snilard

    snilard Guru of hot glue gun

    Finally, I have installed my Q-rings 36/50 on Vendetta. I am not sure that I have determined my dead spot perfectly, Q-rings have so precise adjustment. It feels so natural. I have ridden it just once in the city and like it.
    super slim and castlerobber like this.
  9. DavidCH

    DavidCH In thought; expanding the paradigm of traversity

    I spent probably too long on my QXL ring on setting number 5. I decided to switch this weekend. I have a nagging left hip so it was time to give it some more love. I changed the position to number 4. I changed the cassette too to a 11/32 and changed to red Look cleats to give me more float. Gosh what a difference.

    However the chain is too loose now and it came off 4 times on the way back and some bastard wasp stung me just below my bib shorts. I saw the f****er fly off too after giving me its payload. An eventful day and I was pleased to try something different.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
    snilard likes this.
  10. BJ686

    BJ686 Active Member

    Wanted to ask folks for some advice on Q rings installation. I installed Q rings using the diagram below, which provided a different result than using the Rotor recumbent instructions. In short, if I am understanding it correctly, the intent of the diagram below is to have the Q rings at maximum axis when the pedal is 45 degrees above full extension. The rotor instructions, on the other hand, suggest putting the pedal at full extension and then have the "one dot" on the chainring below the first chain ring "valley" that fully engages with the chain.

    For me, using the diagram resulted in the the maximum axis of the chaining being further behind (counterclockwise from) the pedal than when using the Rotor instructions. Pictures of my current setup (using the diagram) at full extension and at 45 degrees above full extension are below. (Note that even if I rotated the chainrings 180 degrees, the one dot would still not be positioned as the rotor instructions suggest---I rotated them because it resulted in being able to match the diagram more closely).

    Any advice would be appreciated!


    super slim likes this.
  11. Jeremy S

    Jeremy S Dude

    I'm curious to know where you derived this from, in particular the 45 degrees which is not familiar to me? Also I'm not sure full extension is necessarly on your line from hip socket to BB. I used the Rotor instructions.
  12. BJ686

    BJ686 Active Member

    Thanks for the thoughts Jeremy. I'll double check that I have correctly identified my full extension point for the Rotor method. To answer your other question, the other method is being discussed on recent thread on BROL.
  13. ratz

    ratz Wielder of the Rubber Mallet

    If you use the blue tape for your OCP bolt then you have to re-mark your ring with new x, xx,xxx,xxxx, xxxxxx dot marks and use your hand ones. That requires a bunch of unneeded work.

    But, what you have there pretty close to correct for a v20. As test If you back off the "raised" crank arm to 65-ish degrees you should find that your chain and chain ring are intersecting at the tallest tooth on the ring. Which is what you want.

    On a V20 90% of people can just use this bolt here as the reference bolt and use the factory dots. Most use start with the "four" dot positioned on that bolt.

    Last edited: Jul 29, 2017
    Bruce B, BJ686 and super slim like this.
  14. BJ686

    BJ686 Active Member

    Thanks Ratz. I ended going back to square one and then reinstalling with the rotor instructions. As you alluded to, I ended up with the "lead" bolt shown in your picture at the "4 dot". This also turned about to be fairly consistent with the geometry in the diagram I referred to above, so I think I am good to go. Thanks again, Brad
  15. Brad R

    Brad R Well-Known Member

    I bought a 4 bolt 104bcd crank for my T50.

    I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to find oval rings that could be aligned properly since most oval rings with alignment flexibility come in 5 bolt patterns with larger diameters.

    I found Fouriers oval chainrings on eBay. I chose 40 tooth. They have a wide range of tooth counts available. It arrived in 10 days which was 6 to 36 days earlier than estimated.

    They have 3 different alignments possible so I could get it pretty close to

    I mounted it today and took the bike for a 30 mile ride. It felt very comfortable.

    If anyone else has 104bcd 4 bolt cranks and wants to try oval, here is a link.


    I would post a picture, but the chainring is mostly hidden by my bash guard.

    I did notice some vibration at high torque in 11th gear. It felt like it was probably at chain link frequency and occurred about twice per revolution at the peak torque points of the pedal cycle. I have never had oval rings on a short (normal bike length) chain. Is this normal?

    I have a Shimano shadow derailleur. I mounted my crankset with chainline a few mm closer to center because the nominal mounting had too much chain bend when on the 46 tooth cog.

    Any suggestions for getting rid of the vibration?

  16. ccf

    ccf Well-Known Member

    Is the alternative reference bolt marked in the photo in factory position #5?
  17. ratz

    ratz Wielder of the Rubber Mallet

    In more cases if you put "4" on that bolt that leads the crank arm; that's equal to "2" on a Upright.

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