Science has come to a disagreement regarding the real effect that chainrings’ geometry has on cyclists’ performance. In this study, the influence of the use of a noncircular chainring on recreational cyclists’ performance is determined through experimental power delivery tests. A critical power model was used to estimate variations on cyclists’ performance. In addition, a new protocol for estimating critical power was proposed.
Fourteen recreational cyclists (two females and twelve males) performed a series of self-paced constant-time tests with a circular and a noncircular (i.e., Osymetric) chainring during two different test sessions. Power output, cadence and time were registered to compute the critical power.
According to the results of this study, it seems there is a change in the critical power of the majority of the recreational cyclists due to the use of a noncircular chainring. Thus, a performance improvement was obtained during long-endurance tests. However, the order of the tests (i.e., starting with the circular chainring or starting with the noncircular chainring) was proven to have an impact on the results due to a familiarization effect to the test conditions. Finally, a new protocol to estimate the critical power of a cyclist by performing a single riding session was proposed and assessed on a pilot test (i.e., error < 3%).