Sea Otter 2012: Chain guides from e*thirteen, Gamut, MRP, Shimano

Dual and single ring devices, plus Bling Ring for SRAM cranks

We saw plenty of new chain management options at this weekend's Sea Otter Classic; here's a quick round-up. E*thirteen have readied their TRS+ Dual guide, Gamut have switched to slides, MRP have gone scales down for sub-32-tooth rings and Shimano have slipped a new slide-type guide in on the launch of the new Saint and Zee gravity groups

E*thirteen’s TRS+ Dual guides

E*thirteen launched a new dual-ring chain guide in two variants at this year’s Sea Otter called TRS+ Dual. The company say they paid special attention to the roller’s shape and durometer to eliminate chain jump when back pedaling. It's stepped, which is said to give the greatest security. The guide also sports a replaceable upper fin that prevents the chain from jumping off the top of the chainrings.

The first variant of the TRS+ Dual comes with two interchangeable taco-style bash guards, to fit 40- and 36-tooth outer rings. With the smaller of the two guards fitted, it weighs 149g. The second variant comes sans bash guard, which brings the weight down 53g to 96g. Both guides are available in ISCG 05, ISCG 03, bottom bracket mount and wide bottom bracket mount configurations, in either black or white with gold anodized hardware. The guides are ‘shipping soon’ and priced at $149.95 with bash guard.

E*thirteen's TRS+ Dual set with bash guard

Gamut switch to sliders

Gamut are gradually moving away from lower rollers across their entire range of chain guides, saying solid sliders made of the proper materials are more durable, just as quiet, lighter and require next to no maintenance. Based on what we've seen in team pits, pro riders have been moving in that direction for some time now.

The company's revamped P-series of guides uses a particularly short lower slider that gives the chain more angular freedom as you shift across the cassette. Noise increases as slider length decreases, though, so Gamut co-founder Mateo Graziosi says an O-ring was added as a buffer to cut down the clatter. That O-ring sits in a recessed groove so it won't migrate side-to-side but Graziosi says it'll gradually rotate over time for even wear.

Bash guards have been beefed up – and lightened up – as well, with three different thicknesses of polycarbonate material plus new aluminum inserts at the chainring bolt holes to make them a little more idiot-proof during installation. Dual-ring guides are unchanged from prior years but given Gamut's new design direction, we expect those models to eventually shift to a slider-type setup, too.

Gamut have revamped their P-series of chain guides for 2013, reducing weight and improving durability

MRP’s new Bling Ring and Micro G2 SL guide

MRP’s new in-house machined guide ring, the Bling Ring, fits directly to the splines of a SRAM X0 carbon or X9 alloy crank. This gets around the clearance problems encountered when using small rings with a normal spider and bolt type setup, and MRP claim it to be 40 percent lighter, too.

Machined out of 6061 alloy and sporting a six-arm spider to increase stiffness and a specific offset to produce a perfect 51mm chain line, the Bling Ring will be available in even sizes from 28 to 36t. It'll be available at the end of April for $69.95, in anodized gunmetal grey only.

The new ring is a perfect complement to the new Micro G2 SL guide, which fits 28 to 32t rings with all of the standard G2’s features. The guide uses a 5mm thick CNC machined alloy boomerang and a replaceable polycarbonate skid guide, which is claimed to offer improved rigidity and durability. The Micro G2 SL costs US$150 and is available for ISCG and ISCG-05 mounts.

MRP's new Micro G2 SL fit with the new direct mount Bling Ring for SRAM

Shimano sneak prototype chain guide design on to Saint group

One aspect of the new Saint and Zee downhill-oriented groups that Shimano haven't talked about to date is a chain guide. While it may have seemed safe to assume they were simply leaving that up to any number of aftermarket companies already in the market, it turns out that there's one in development and as one would expect from Shimano, it looks very promising.

Shimano are going with solid sliders top and bottom on the new SM-CD50 'Modular Chain Device' but with a few tricks down below. A soft pad in between the slider and chain keeps things running quietly and when impacted, the whole lower slider can pivot slightly on a stiffly sprung aluminum arm instead of breaking or bending.

Rather than use a full bash guard, Shimano have opted for a much lighter quarter-round guard – which makes sense when you consider most riders usually favor their right or left foot forward. Final specs are still being determined – along with pricing and availability — but claimed weight in the current form is an unusually light 147g with bash guard.

Rather than use a complete bash guard, Shimano have opted for an abbreviated quarter-round setup to save weight. If you look closely, you can see the small pad in between the chain and lower slider to help reduce noise

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