Launching this week, is something totally new. Not just new to us and not just a new brand. But an entirely new product to market. It’s unique.
Ochain is the latest new brand to launch at Cyclorise under an exclusive distribution deal. Ochain is an ‘active spider’ and aims to increase the sensitivity of your rear suspension by isolating pedal forces, thus ‘chain tug’ from interfering with your suspension action. That translates into a bike that feels plusher, suspension that is more active and improved foot comfort thanks to the elimination of pedal-whack.
Are you wondering if the bike industry has taken it a step too far and is selling something nobody needs? WAIT…read on.
Many of you will remember the World Cup downhill race that Aaron Gwinn won against all odds. Out of the start gate, he snapped his chain, forcing him to complete his run ‘chainless’. With no pedaling possibilities, Aaron relied on smooth cornering and absolutely nailing every line to maintain momentum. Eventually he came in top place to everyone’s’ amazement. It was thrilling to watch.
A small team of guys in Italy started to talk among themselves about riding chainless and how great the bike feels (amateur chainless downhill races were nothing new) when ridden without a chain. They started to hypothesise about what the bike feels so good and wondered if removing the chain could make your bike faster, but for not being able to pedal. The idea of Ochain was born and several years later, after thorough testing under professional racers’ feet, it’s here.
Why having a chain can be a problem for your suspension
When on your bike, your body weight keeps your chain under tension. Even when not pedaling, your body weight on the pedals stops the chain being able to move freely with the shocks and bumps of the trail. As your bike hits these bumps and the suspension compresses, this ‘tugs’ the chain, causing the pedals to bounce up into your feet. This is known by many as pedal-whack. Though with your weight on the pedals, they can’t move up into your feet freely and as such, your weight restricting free movement of the chain, therefore restricts the freedom of your rear suspension.
Conduct a test if you will. Push to the top of your favourite downhill, remove the chain and before you start, remind yourself many times that you have no chain on because the result of forgetting can be quite painful! Then enjoy the descent and you’ll immediately notice how much more plush and active your suspension feels. Especially over slower, more technical trails. This is the effect Ochain delivers, but adding then the possibility of pedaling.
Ochain is most effective when riding steep, rocky, or more technical trails. The benefit of the floating spider reduces the faster you go or the harder the gear you are in (which goes hand-in-hand). But when the trails get rocky, rooty, tight, twisty and hard-hitting (think bike parks with braking bumps), Ochain comes into its own.
The float in Ochain can be adjusted between 6, 9 and 12 degrees. There is NO LOSS IN PEDALING EFFICIENCY as once your pedals are engaged, there is no give. However there is of course a delay in engagement until you move the cranks to a matching 6, 9 or 12 degrees based on your settings. It’s something you become used to and will feel is a worthwhile trade off for your new-found suspension performance. Search Google for reviews of Ochain, but the review that best outlines its performance, benefits and negatives is that on Enduro-MTB which can be found by CLICKING HERE.