Fibre-Lyte aero carbon chain ring  £91.13

8/10

Carbon bling to pimp your ride but full of performance benefits too

Weight 100g   Contact  www.fibre-lyte.co.uk

by Stuart Kerton   July 1, 2014  

Fibre-Lyte PCD 135 Chain Ring

After plenty of race and training miles on Fibre-Lyte's aero carbon fibre chainring the common fears of durability can be quashed, but apart from aesthetics are there any other benefits? Quite a few it turns out.

Hansell Composites LTD have been manufacturing carbon fibre products since 1992; their Fibre-Lyte range is their specialist lightweight parts offshoot. Full carbon chainrings are what they've become best known for, especially in the world of time trialling so it only seems right that we give one of their Aero rings a test.

Fibre-Lyte CNC machine each ring to order so it's pretty much a bespoke service which is why the asymmetric ring you see here isn't on their website. In the past they've made rings from 12t up to 86t so if there is something specific you want it's best to contact them just like I did.

Our ring has 54 teeth, with a 135mm BCD (bolt circle diameter) to fit a Campagnolo chainset and it was a perfect fit straight out of the packaging. Beautifully finished too, with each edge smooth and burr-free. It's a single ring set-up so the usual teeth ramps and drop pins that you get on their double rings are missing but the back has been machined to set the teeth width for a 10 speed chain. It's worth noting that if you order a double set of rings they will be machined as a pair to make sure that shifting is as clean as it possibly can be.

Once set up the first thing you notice is how quiet and smooth it is as the chain rolls over the teeth. Admittedly mt transmission wasn't exactly noisy with the Stronglight rings it replaced but it's noticeable and that smoothness transferred to the ride too. Whether it's down to carbon's natural ability to absorb vibration or not I'm unsure, but even at the extremes of the cassette there was no noise when the chain was at quite an angle to the chainring.

It's stiff too, with the larger surface area of the ring providing much needed support for when you're really pushing high loads through it in a time trial. It weighs only 100g so you aren't getting that stiffness at a weight penalty. The solid Fibre-Lyte ring weighed the same as the original ring it replaced.

The wear issue is the first thing people ask about and I can happily say 'What wear?' Even after wet races and training rides with plenty of grit being picked up by the chain there isn't a single scratch or mark on the teeth. With plenty of people on various forums quoting thousands of miles of usage on Fibre-Lytes's carbon rings, longevity is certainly no more of an issue than it is with alloy ones. Letting your chain get excessively worn will probably trash them just as it does aluminium rings, so don't do that.

While this isn't a review about the benefits of asymmetric rings against rounds I'll say that I've noticed some impressive gains and the shape seems to suit my riding style. I don't ride with a power meter so I don't have any hard data but just going on feel I'd say the non-round rings suit my low cadence (80-85rpm) time trial rhythm. Pushing hard on the pedals means they feel as normal as round rings to ride but spin and ease off the pressure you will find they give a kind of bouncing feeling.

Overall then, the Fibre-Lyte chainring is full of benefits: light, stiff, quiet and most importantly durable. It also happens to look smart and would be the finishing touch to any bling race machine. The price is respectable when you consider that Vision's aero ring (carbon/alloy) and SRAM's Red (alloy) offering are priced around a fiver more and a Rotor Q-Ring (alloy) is around £45 more.

As already mentioned there is a huge amount of customization available with the Fibre-Lyte products. You can choose your carbon pattern, size, BCD and they can even be etched with logos. Take a look at the website for all the options.

Verdict

Carbon bling to pimp your ride but full of performance benefits too

road.cc test report

Make and model: Fibre-Lyte PCD 135 Chain Ring

Size tested: 54 teeth

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

This TT ring is designed to be used for flatish time trials where you can get by with just a single front ring. Being solid there will be a small aero advantage too.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

*CNC machined to order

*Full carbon fibre

*Aero (other options available)

*Plain Weave (again other options available)

*135 BCD for Campagnolo (rings available in various BCD's)

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

Same price or cheaper than its alloy rivals.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well indeed, benefits seen in less noise, more stiffness plus well machined finish.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

All of the above.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Setting up the front mech to avoid rubbing.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 35  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: Whatever needs testing or Genesis Flyer, fixed of course!  My best bike is: Kinesis T2 with full Centaur Red

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

 

2 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

it is not assymetric...

posted by Paul_C [151 posts]
1st July 2014 - 17:23

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Ahh pedants. But quite right. Off we go.

Nor is it elliptoid. Or oval. In fact, I'm not sure there's a geometric word for that shape. Possibly 'fugly'.

Personal opinion of course. But to me it has a bit of the 80's back yard brew feeling to it - trying something just, you know, because. Made it with a Stanley knife and and old Japanese car body kit. 'And for my next trick...' Graeme Obree style.

The bouncing feeling would put me off. So would the constant bobbing of the rear derailleur cage, which can't be a good thing, and must offset at least some of the gains. But again, just me, perhaps.

Did look up 'symmetry' on Wikipedia, just to see if there was an exclusively reflectional definition, which it seems there isn't. Gets interesting in two-dimensional representations of three dimensional transformations (helical). Blew my tiny mind.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symmetry

Didonc's picture

posted by Didonc [14 posts]
1st July 2014 - 21:54

like this
Like (12)

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