Weighing in a at only 35 grams, the Oneup Components chain guide is light weight insurance against chain derailment. It’s also inexpensive at $45. But do we actually need chain guides anymore?
Contemporary mountain bike drivetrains work so well that many trail riders forgo a chain retention device, despite the lack of a front derailleur. And it’s true, between a narrow-wide chainring and the stiff springs found in clutch derailleurs, most of us can confidently hit the trail without worries of losing chains these days.
That is, until you ride that one trail and start losing your chain. Combining rocks, bumps, sharp turns and hard hits are a magic combination that for me equal having to stop to replace a dislodged chain. Even with the impressive chain retention qualities and stiff derailleur springs of the modern drive train, chains still move around.
Add corners and side load on the the wheel and you’ll find that your chain is quite active while you’re riding. It only takes a small amount of back pedaling for your chain to work its way off the ring in these conditions, so on my long travel bikes a chain guide is mandatory. On my trail bike, I had been happily riding sans guide until a riding trip to Oakridge where I had two dropped chains.
Enter the Oneup Chain Guide. Take one of these and call me in the morning.
Installation of the OneUp Compenents ISCG 05 guide is simple, especially compared to the guides we used to run back in the day. OneUp has a basic how-to on the product page making it a no-brainer and it bolts right on to the ISCG mounts with a single 4mm hex key. You don’t even have to remove the crank arm to install it. The trickiest part of the installation is determining the number of spacers that are required to center the guide pieces.
As you’d expect, the guide is compatible with the oval traction rings also made by OneUp. (see Oval Traction Ring Review here)
The guide includes a bonus top guide piece; a OneUp green one and a black one. The green doesn’t match anything I’m currently using, but having experienced broken top pieces on other brands, its great having the spare in the toolbox.
On the trail
When properly installed and set, on the trail the OneUp guide is invisible; you forget it’s even there. Like any solid addition to the bike, it enhances the experience and disappears. And that’s just how we like it.
I’ve been running mine paired with the OneUp Oval ring, aka the Traction ring (which I’m a big fan of) and it manages to fit, even with the large variance in ring height.
Besides the chain retention, the guide can also extend the life of your chain ring. As Narrow Wide rings wear with use, the tooth profile that so magically retained your chain begins to lose the retention ability. Adding a guide means you have to replace that ring less often. I’ve logged several hundred miles with the OneUp guide and since installing it I haven’t experienced a single dropped ring, regardless of riding conditions.
That said, I’ve been running a guide with a bash guard on my longer travel rig and on technical trails I’ve been considering a bit of chain ring protection as well. OneUp has that covered with another iteration of the chain guide apply named the Bash Guide that includes a bash guard. If you like hopping over logs and up ledges and are looking for ring protection, at 102 grams it’s worth your consideration. There’s no point being a weight weenie with a bike like the Following, so if I was to do it again, I’d opt for the bash protection as well for the additional peace of mind, and remove the bottom bash piece for XC riding.
The OneUp Components Chain Guide – ISCG05 list for $45. Check it out at OneUpComponents.com