OChain has introduced a new externally adjustable version of its Active Spider, a drivetrain component that allows a tuneable amount of rearward dissociation of the crankset and the chainring. The new OChain R runs a similar mechanism as the original OChain Active Spider, but brings a new level of user-friendliness with an external adjustment feature that allows the rider to switch between 4°, 6°, 9° and 12° “of freedom” with the use of nothing more than a 2.5mm Hex.
The OChain R, just like the original, works by dissociating rearward rotation of the chainring from movement at the crank arms during pedal kickback events. In my experience, it does a very good job of making a bike’s rear wheel suspension feel more plush and active, particularly under harsh braking at high speeds, but also during slow speed technical maneuvers and in huck-to-flat scenarios. You can read more about the mechanism behind that in our previous coverage of the OChain.
Matt Stuttard’s Polygon Collosus at EWS Tweed Valley with the OChain Active Spider
Aside from our experience and the positive experiences reported across cycling media, the OChain has secured approval from some of the fastest riders on the planet; numerous Downhill and EWS racers have adopted it, including the Polygon Factory Race Team, RAAW DH Team, as well as Loris Revelli and Neko Mulally who had a hand in development of the latest OChain R.
On the left, you can see the internals of the adjustment mechanism that shifts the “start point” of the active spider too add or remove extra degrees of free rotation between the chainring and crankset
The addition of an external adjustment on the OChain R may seem incremental at best, but anyone who has experience with the original OChain will appreciate how much easier to live with the Active Spider will now be. While disassembly of the OChain to switch out its elastomers to alter the degree of freedom it permitted wasn’t technically difficult, it did take up a not inconsiderable amount of time.
It seems to us that the ability to switch between 4°, 6°, 9° and 12° settings without any disassembly will be extra appealing to riders and racers that are dialing in their setup on a new track, allowing them to switch things up quickly and easily between laps.
Pricing & Availability
The OChain R is designed to fit a 104 BCD Chainring only. There are options to fit SRAM, Shimano, Race Face, FSA, E*Thirteen and Hope cranksets, all retailing at 385 € (58 € more than the non-externally adjustable model), and all available in Pregio or Nero color options. As stock, the OChain R has a 3mm offset, though kits are available in increase offset to 6mm or 7.5mm dependent on the optimal chainline for your specific frame.