OChain Floating Spider


OChain Floating Spider

The OChain floating spider is designed to give a “Chainless feeling” by isolating how the drivetrain forces effect the rear suspension. O-Chain is an active spider that allows the chainring to rotate independently of the crank. The spider takes the place of a direct mount chainring with options for most direct mount cranks and uses a standard BCD 104.

O Chains are becoming increasingly common on World Cup downhill and EWS race bikes. Nearly half of the field in any given World Cup DH final are using O-Chain devices. None of these riders are sponsored and are buying the product themselves. So, what do they do and how do they work?

In general, as a mountain bike’s rear suspension linkage is compressed, the distance between the rear axle and the bottom bracket increases, at least at the beginning of the travel. As this happens, the chain tensions on the upper chainline, which pulls backward on the chainring, and on the lower chainline, which pulls forward on the derailleur cage. Basically, the tensioning of the chain due to chain growth creates an additional force or resistance that your bike needs to overcome as it moves through its travel. Decoupling the chainring from the crank arm allows the chainring to rotate backwards as the distance between the BB and rear axle increases, minimizing or eliminating the tension created during chain growth.

If you have ever ridden your bike without the chain, you may have noticed that the bike feels like it moves through the travel more freely than it did with the chain on. This could be due to removing pedal kickback from the equation, it could also be related to the force of the clutch on the derailleur cage that needs to be overcome as the suspension compresses. Arguments can be made that the chain whipping around as your chassis is upset by variations in the trail can create tension. I can’t say for sure what is causing it, but I can say confidently that most bikes, with the exception of some high pivot bikes with a properly positioned idler pulley, feel like the suspension moves more freely without a chain. O-Chain provides that “chainless feeling,” but still maintains the ability to pedal.





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