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Anyone still using BioPace chainrings?

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Anyone still using BioPace chainrings?

Old 05-23-16, 06:29 PM
  #51  
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My 2x7 and 3x7 setups work great, except for the aforementioned big ring upshifts. Not enough to make me change chainrings, for the advantages outweigh this little blip, but I can see where it would sour a serious racer.
And Light Action rocks!

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Old 05-23-16, 08:04 PM
  #52  
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I know this isn't the ISO thread but if anyone here is interested, I have a pair of Biopace aluminum 130mm 52/42 chain rings to trade for a round 6-7spd 52T 130mm chainring, Shimano, SR, Sugino...
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Old 05-23-16, 08:31 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by Paramount1973 View Post
Do Biopace rings shift more smoothly? Reason I ask is that for some period of time Shimano offered round chainrings with a series of shortened teeth opposite each other on the chainring and marketed it as an aid to shifting. These were eventually replaced by ramps and pins. I'm wondering if the oblong BP chainring helps in the transition as the chain moves between chainrings.
Originally Posted by top506 View Post
No.
In fact, I think the reason they died is index front DRs. Granted, they weren't pinned and ramped, but every bike I have with Biopace launches the chain outboard of the big ring every 200th shift or so. I think if the shift occurs at just the right low spot with just the right power applied it'll overshoot the teeth of the big ring. And I haven't been able to get them to work well on my sole 10 speed brifter bike.

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I bet you're right. At least with round rings, the teeth are always in the same place wrt the FD cage. With BioPace, they're constantly rising and falling, and while they rise and fall together, you can't hit an optimized part of the FD cage every time unless you synchronize your shifting with your pedal stroke.

With friction shifting and finesse, it's much less of a problem -- you're used to "easing" the chain from one ring to another, and letting the resistance from the shift lever tell you when you're about done.
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Old 05-23-16, 09:18 PM
  #54  
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I have/had BioPace (48/38/28) on my '90 Schwinn High Plains. However, i did swap out the 28t BioPace Granny gear for a 24t (which is round).

I don't notice the oval shape other than the fact that my R knee is never sore (and it has seen some serious use and surgery... ACL/Meniscus + MCL micro tears...).

The 830 Trek i have also has BioPace, but i don't ride that bike (my wife and daughter use it from time to time).

I've considered visiting some local pawn shops and snapping up however many i can just for the parts....and possible frame base for my son.
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Old 05-24-16, 01:01 AM
  #55  
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i dislike the look. like the crankset is bent, squashed.




'80 gran rally ... with an odd looking saddle that reminds me of a great dane
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Old 05-27-16, 09:41 PM
  #56  
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I've had them on all my MTB's and liked them fine. I also have them on a Caylor equipped w/ 80's New Dura Ace SIS. Work fine and they do seem easier on the knees but the Colnago round Campy's don't hurt much either. I used to buy the rings at the swap meets and have enough to last out my life hahaha (I hope)
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Old 05-28-16, 03:23 PM
  #57  
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Yup. BioPace II 46-36-28.

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Old 08-26-16, 03:57 PM
  #58  
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Man, did they make these things in a 39T or what? I've been watching ebay all summer and haven't seen a single one. I don't have mountains so my 42/28 is plenty enough, but a 39 gives me my perfect cruising speed gear ratio.
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Old 08-26-16, 04:32 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
Man, did they make these things in a 39T or what? I've been watching ebay all summer and haven't seen a single one. I don't have mountains so my 42/28 is plenty enough, but a 39 gives me my perfect cruising speed gear ratio.
I think you could get a 40T/130 and a 38T/110. I've never heard of a 39T, but that doesn't rule out their existence.
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Old 08-26-16, 06:39 PM
  #60  
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I'll rule it out. In 130 BCD 40t is as small as they got. Even then, it was steel ring in the OEM EX300 group.

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Old 08-26-16, 07:42 PM
  #61  
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I tried them once. They made my legs feel drunk.
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Old 08-26-16, 10:01 PM
  #62  
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I Still have them on my 1987 Centurion Ironman's (Master & Expert) and on my 1986 Trek 560 along with My 1989 Diamondback APEX, The rest of the bikes have round chainrings, and i dont think it makes me faster but after putting 300+ miles on the Ironman Master, The BioPace seems to be easier on the knee's

I use to hate them then i discovered that i never gave them a chance since the early 90's .
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Old 08-27-16, 05:06 AM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by fleslider View Post
The BioPace seems to be easier on the knee's


+1.
After 50 miles or so my knees will begin to twinge when riding round rings. Not an issue with Biopace.

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Old 08-27-16, 06:37 AM
  #64  
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FWIW, Froome used oval chainrings made by Osymetric USA in the TDF. Seem to be working well for him.
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Old 08-27-16, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by vtchuck View Post
FWIW, Froome used oval chainrings made by Osymetric USA in the TDF. Seem to be working well for him.
Apparently, Biopace and Osymetric rings are different in what they provide to the rider according to this VeloNews article:

Biopace, like the Houdaille Powercam crank concurrent with it back in the early 1980s, gave the rider a smaller gear during the power phase of the pedal stroke and a higher gear over the top and bottom of the stroke. In other words, the time spent in the power phase was reduced, and the time spent at the “dead spots” was increased. This never was shown definitively to offer an advantage.

Conversely, Osymetric and Rotor chainrings give the rider a higher gear during the power phase of the pedal stroke and a lower gear over the top and bottom of the stroke. In other words, the time spent in the power phase in increased, and the time spent at the “dead spots” is reduced. There is modern power data indicating that there is an advantage to be gained with these chainrings. The downside is that they do not shift as well as round rings, and with electronic shifting in particular, which gives the rider no option to fiddle with the lever and get the desired shift, they can be problematic. This is one theory about Wiggins’ legendary throwing of his bike. There can also be a problem with insufficient stiffness of the Osymetric rings for extremely powerful riders.
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Old 08-28-16, 07:26 AM
  #66  
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I have Biopace rings on a number of bikes. What I found is that they add a little extra when climbing. For example I run 48T 49T or 50T x 38T chainrings with a 28T FW on a lot of my bikes.

A 42T Biopace chainring has the same feel when climbing as a 38T round chainring!

A few years ago I put this Flickr album together when I was researching Biopace cranks. It some of the many variations plus other brands:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/282672...7625130627294/

If Campagnolo had introduced Biopace chainrings they would have been the best and only way to go...

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Chas.

Deore XT 48-38-28T on a Colnago road bike...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
Colnago1988Technos 006.jpg (97.9 KB, 180 views)

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Old 07-20-19, 06:00 PM
  #67  
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I just swapped my stock Fuji crankset for a bronze double biopace crankset on my '79 Fuji Royale gravel conversion, initially because I changed the rest of my drivetrain to Shimano 600 and because it was gorgeous! After riding the last couple months, I love it! I definitely feel like I get more out of digging in through climbing strokes (off road especially).
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Old 07-20-19, 06:02 PM
  #68  
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Bronze biopace on the bronze Fuji Royale
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Old 07-21-19, 09:02 PM
  #69  
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I like Shimano BioPace chainrings for certain applications. Contrary to popular belief you CAN SPIN using BioPace chainrings.

Cheers
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Old 07-22-19, 12:43 AM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
The bad rap that Biopace chainrings got was because a lot of people believed you couldn't spin high roms with them. That was false but it was enough to kill the rings. Biopace may not feel much different in use but they do rduce the stress on the knees by a lot.

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Totally subjective but I liked them on the granny only. I thought they were easier to climb with a good cadence but round ones easier to spin with the help of momentum from more forward speed.
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Old 07-22-19, 03:19 AM
  #71  
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I've been using the standard 52/42 alloy Biopace on a carbon fiber Trek 5900 for a few months. Not a huge difference from circular chainrings, but I'm not really comparing apples to apples. The bike with Biopace has 170mm cranks, and a 13-28 freewheel. The other, my '89 Ironman, has 172.5 cranks, and 50/39 circular chainrings, with 13-26 freewheel.

The Trek is about 5 lbs lighter, maybe even more, so the differences I feel and sometimes clock on climbs may be due to the lighter weight, rather than the Biopace.

OTOH, the Ironman is tuned nearly perfectly. I tinkered with it constantly for two years, right down to adjusting the rear derailleur pivot spring tension and replacing the original sintered bushing bearing pulleys with smooth as butter sealed bearing pulleys. The Ironman feels tuned to my body and is a pleasure to ride. The Trek and I are still getting acquainted, with lots of little tweaks here and there.

So overall my speeds/times are the same on both bikes on the same 20-50 mile routes. If there's a lot of climbing into headwinds, the lighter Trek tends to be a little faster -- the bar is a little lower, I'm more stretched out and aero too. Otherwise it's a tossup. I tend to average 16 mph on both bikes on the same 20-50 mile routes.
@Cycle Tourist mentioned something I've been considering -- replacing the Biopace 52T big ring with a standard circular 52T ring, and keeping the 42T Biopace for climbs. It's a subjective thing, but I seem to feel slightly more drivetrain drag in the 52T Biopace.

Ideally I'd like a 38T or 39T Biopace, but that probably isn't feasible due to the non-circular design.

I'm also toying with the idea of putting the 52/42 Biopace on my hybrid, with has 175 cranks and platform pedals. I get the impression the Biopace feel more efficient when mashing rather than spinning. That's based on personal feel. I wasn't even aware of the old stories about Biopace supposedly being optimized for cadences below 90 rpm. Usually I tend to spin around 90 rpm on my road bikes, but use a slower cadence on my hybrid with the longer cranks and platform pedals. But when I first got the Trek 5900 I rode it for a month with platforms and a somewhat slower cadence, around 70-80 rpm -- which may explain why it felt fine a few months ago, but feels different now that I'm using clipless on the Trek. But the hybrid has a 110 bcd crankset, so I'll need to replace the entire crankset to try that theory.

There's another theory I may try first, while keeping the Biopace on the Trek. Some folks say the Biopace rings work better when shifted to "time" the non-circular shoulders/flat spots differently. That may be due to personal differences in where each cyclist delivers most of the pedaling thrust. It's an easy experiment so I may try that this week.

Incidentally, no problems with chain drops or front derailleur shifts. The Trek 5900 has a direct mount front derailleur, with limited adjustments for height and angle. But no problems shifting with either the original downtube friction shifters or replacement brifters with index front shifting. The MicroShift brifters have trimmer clickstops to dial out chain rub. Pretty nifty. No problems with the Biopace design.
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Old 07-22-19, 06:15 AM
  #72  
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Shimano 105s here. Had them on my Crest Cannondale for years and hated them. Swapped them off for 600 crank last year. Now they are sitting waiting for a gravel bike project.
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Old 07-22-19, 06:51 AM
  #73  
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recently bought a 1980's Miyata 1000 Grand Tourer and it has the BioPace Tripple

I was going to change the Biopace and someonet me to try it first .... that was 2000 Km ago and I'm still using them

I only have 5 speed and not too many hilhe, so I tend to stay on the big ring .... I have tried the middle ring and you can feel the 'ovalness' if that makes sense (not so much on the large ring .... I have not used the smallest ring yet)

on the big ring, cadence of 90+ RPM is no problem
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Old 07-22-19, 08:02 AM
  #74  
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I was just organizing my stash of vintage stuff I’ve accumulated over the years and realized I have a lot of Biopace chainrings. What I recall is that over time Shimano modified them to be less oval (like Biopace II and Biopace HP) until they gave up and went back to round again. Like others have said racers bad reviews doomed them. My impression was that the concept and engineering worked for recreational riders but sagging sales caused by the reputation they had with fast guys did them in. Unfortunately they weren’t sold as a possible alternative instead of having them across the entire lineup. Shimano was ruthless about getting rid of stuff that didn’t sell no matter if it was better or not (like DD pedals and cranks).

I understand why Biopace was not popular with the fast crowd and why fit recreational riders could benefit from them. Years ago when I rode with the big boys on training rides, I had to have everything perfect (gearing, position, etc.) in order not to get dropped. I didn’t have enough strength to overcome any deficiencies. My cadence had to be higher than when I rode by myself and Biopace rings disturbed my pedaling smoothness. However when I rode with a naturally lower cadence (in the 80’s rpm) by myself I felt like they gave me an advantage.

One of my fellow framebuilders speculated that non-round chainrings might have an advantage because the lower gearing part of the rotation gave the muscles a very slight rest that might have an accumulative effect.
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Old 07-22-19, 11:09 AM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by Knet View Post
I just picked up an '87 Trek 520 (yay!) and have it together and did a quick fitment ride, and I gotta say, those Biopace rings aren't bothering me too much. Thought they would.

My initial plan to to replace those right away, but not so sure now. I am going to log some miles on it today, so maybe I'll change my mind.

Anyone still running those un-round rings anymore?
Of course. on a couple of bikes. no problem,
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