I am a Rotor dealer. I also believe in their products, use them myself (both Power Meters and Q-Rings), and recommend Q-Rings as a solution to cyclists whenever I can.
The one comment I get all the time is “I don’t like them, they don’t work for me.”
The issue is that cyclists usually just install them without indexing them (actually called OCP – Optimum Chainring Position) for the way they pedal, in other words, adjusting the Q-Ring to the precise point where you are delivering your maximum power during a pedal stroke. Q-Rings currently are manufactured with 5 indexes, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and, if indexed incorrectly, you will feel that the pedaling resistance is coming too early or too late in the pedal stroke.
This handy guide will give you an idea of what might be causing your problem if you feel that your Q-Rings aren’t helping you.
Too Much Resistance at the Top, No Resistance at the Bottom
- When you get towards the bottom of the pedal stroke, it feels like you have fallen through a rotten floor board in a house.
- Steady speeds are easy, but accelerations and sprinting are difﬁcult
- It is comfortable to pedal seated but uncomfortable to pedal when standing
- You might experience pain at the front of the knee that you haven’t had before
ISSUE – You are arriving at max chainring diameter too early
SOLUTION – Increase OCP number by 1 stop.
Too Little Or No Resistance at the Top, Too Much Resistance at the Bottom
- Acceleration and sprinting are easy but maintaining steady speed is difﬁcult
- It is comfortable to pedal standing but uncomfortable to pedal when sitting
- You could experience pain behind the knee that you haven’t had before
ISSUE – You are arriving at max chainring diameter too late
SOLUTION – Reduce OCP number by 1 stop
By the way, this is the same reason why oval chainrings that don’t allow you to change their position do not work for a lot of cyclists, because they might be set at the wrong portion of the pedal stroke for their pedaling style.
Once indexed correctly (and this is the key point), Rotor Q-Rings work very well. In fact, I recently spoke to Stages regarding their new dual-sided power meter and they had the same comment as ROTOR, “We are seeing a 4-6% increase in power when using Rotor Q-Rings.”
For those that say that Q-Rings don’t work and didn’t increase your power, I’d be willing to guess that you never had them indexed for the way you pedal and that’s why they did not work for you. When questioning cyclists, my experience has been that this seems to be the one reason that riders say they don’t work. They were never set up correctly. With cyclists who set them up correctly, I have never heard a single complaint.
After purchasing Q-Ring, please go through the remaining step of indexing them for the way you pedal. Doing this remaining step, I think that you will be happy with them along with the added performance.
Coach Rick Schultz is an avid cyclist who trains, races and coaches in Southern California. Rick is an engineer by trade, and in addition to being a coach, he’s a bike fitter and prolific product reviewer. He’s the author of Stretching & Core Strengthening for the Cyclist and Bike Fit 101: Your Toolset for a Great Bike Fit in the RBR eBookstore. Check his product reviews website, www.biketestreviews.com, and his coaching site, www.bikefitnesscoaching.com. Click to read Rick’s full bio.