Blackspire Oval chainring review

One of our customers, Donnie Kendrick, graciously provided us with a written review of his experience switching to a Blackspire Snaggletooth Oval chainring on his Transition mountain bike.

Blackspire Snaggletooth NW Oval chain ring

  • CNC’d out of 7075-T6 aluminum
  • Cut from 0.313′′ thick aluminum plate for lightweight and strength
  • Features an ovality of 12-13% with a timing of 115o after TDC
  • For use with 9, 10, 11, or 12 speed drivetrains
  • Your choice of 7 different anodized colours with laser etched graphics.

The Blackspire Snaggletooth narrow/wide oval chainringWhen I ride MTB, I use flat pedals so keep in mind my opinion is from the perspective of a flat pedal rider. My chain is already pretty short, I thought I would have to lengthen my chain but I didn’t have to. I went from a 28t round to the same size but oval. I thought due to the increased height I might have to add a quick link but as I cycled through my suspension with my bike on the stand I couldn’t see any perceptible difference in the movement of my derailleur. I run a single ring up front and an 11 speed cassette in the rear. If you’re running a front derailleur I would think set up may not be as easy since you would have to find that perfect spot that could accommodate the larger diameter of the oval ring but still be able to shift smoothly between rings while not dropping the chain.


Since I’ve moved to BC the type of riding I do differs from the majority of my riding and racing downhill on the west coast of the states. In my quest to be more efficient on technical climbs, something I just started actively doing this year. I thought I would give an oval a try. It didn’t take me long to adapt to the feel at the pedals. After about 30 minutes my body just adapted and I continued on with my ride without thinking about how my pedaling felt.

I haven’t dropped a chain at all since I’ve mounted the ring. There is an indicator mark showing you the best position to mount the ring in but I found my ride was smoother moving it one spot further on my crankset pointing the highest point of the ring towards the front of my bike with the pedals even. You can play with the position of the oval depending on how you ride because powerstrokes can slight vary from person to person.

The Snaggletooth feels like it reduces my dead spot or I spent less time in the dead spot since that is where the chainring is smallest. I feel like my pedal stroke is smoother and because of this my traction is greater on climbs because of the reduction of spiking during my pedal stroke. I feel like when my legs are at their strongest point in the stroke the oval chainring is at its tallest thus allowing me to take advantage of all my power during my powerstroke. Conversely when my legs are at their weakest point in my pedal stroke the chainring is smallest. I tend to think of things very logically and this seems to make sense to me. The chainring is designed around the human body natural strengths and weaknesses instead of the body being forced to pedal in an unnatural motion to try and gain overall efficiency. A round chainring gives you the same amount of work when you are at your weakest point in your stroke and doesn’t take advantage of the extra power you have when your legs are at the strongest point in your stroke.

Pedaling while standing even feels even more efficient as we tend to put all of our weight on the pedals for the down stroke. With the oval chainring you’re better able to transfer more of your power directly to acceleration. I feel like I definitely use less energy during my rides. The group I ride with has some very strong technical climbers and when I was using a round ring I was always left far behind. Now that I’m on oval ring, I still get left behind but I’m clearing more obstacles and even they have commented on how my climbing has improved. I thought this could just be attributed to me getting stronger but not in such a short time period. Overall I would recommend this chainring to anyone who wants to become more efficient rider and gain more traction during climbs. I only ride clipless on my road bike but after my time spent using this chainring for MTB, I would definitely consider swapping the round rings over on my road crankset for oval rings. I’ll admit I was really skeptical about oval rings doing anything to improve my ride. Now that I’ve had a few months riding it, I wouldn’t swap back to a round ring. Give this oval ring a try, I think you will be surprised at how awesome really is!