There is something about black that makes it attractive- little black dress, black tie, or a shiny black sports car. Black also has a hint of danger- black diamonds, black market or black ops. The moment I saw absoluteBLACK appear in a Web search for bicycle parts, I was intrigued. Bicycle ads are better known for being sexist than sexy. I was a happily surprised with what I found.

The absoluteBLACK page immediately announces the firm as the “HOUSE OF WORLD’S FINEST OVAL CHAINRINGS. We produce the highest quality, beautifully designed and engineered oval chainrings on the market with impeccable attention to detail.” Looking over the beautifully machined and polished chainrings for all types of riding you quickly see why some riders refer to their bicycles and cycling components as “sexy” but absoluteBLACK is more than just another pretty face.

The promise of oval chainrings is a smoother delivery of power to the rear wheel. This means the rider is better able to generate and maintain, constant cadence. Because oval chainrings reduce the peak loads on knee joints, using them means less stress on the knees and the ability to keep certain level of effort for longer. This results in higher average speed. The promise is supported by a number of research studies.

I first heard about oval chainrings when the American rider Bobby Julich started using them. A few other riders soon switched to ovals but riders are notoriously conservative. Even after Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome won the Tour de France using oval chainrings, few riders switched. I am never going to be in that class but a recreational rider can benefit from “marginal gains,” too.

As I looked over the absoluteBLACK site, I noticed that they were looking for Brand Ambassadors. I always wanted to be addressed as Your Excellency so I started reading more about what was required and expected of an absoluteBLACK Ambassador. I seemed to qualify and decided to apply. I must admit that I was hoping for a car, a driver, a residence, and diplomatic immunity but these were beyond what absoluteBLACK could offer. Still, I am excited that for the next year I will have the opportunity ride on absoluteBLACK  oval chainrings and to share my experiences with you.

It is going to be an exciting year with a number of rides around the world. Check back often to see what I am doing and how the absoluteBLACK oval chainrings are performing. By the way, should we meet on the road, you need not address me as Your Excellency. Michael will be just fine.




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