September 23, 2010
Jon's thoughts on a lightweight chaindevice for single ringers...
Time Tested: 4 Months
From: Hotlines UK
The world of chain devices isn’t the sole preserve of downhillers, 4xers and the radder side of mountain biking anymore. Thanks to the new generation of lightweight, easy to fit devices and the advent of wider ratio cassettes and the introduction of 10spd, running a single ring up front without a derailleur makes a lot of sense if you’re into trail centre bashing, woodsy thrashing want to lose weight or just can’t be arsed changing gear that much. Unless you really really need a 22T for the steep hills or do enough road work to require a 44T big ring, a lot of riders can get along just fine with either a 32, 34 or 36T ring up front, dependant on strength, local geography and willingness to get out of the saddle and suffer from time to time.The only problem is that a single ring tends to drop the chain a lot without a device, which is where this Silent Guide comes in.
The Straitline Silent Guide weighs just 190 odd grammes including the fitting bolts, making it one of the lightest chain devices out at the moment. This particular one I’ve had to test will fit any ring from 32 to 36T although a larger and marginally heavier 36-40T version is available. Fitment is via ISCG05 (that’s the larger spaced tabs) or old style ISCG mount. If you’ve not got any tabs on the frame (like me) you can use an adapter which is held in by the BB but this requires removing and refitting the BB which is a bit of a faff.
Talking of faff, if you’ve ever fitted a chain device it can be a bit of a hassle, but once I’d got my adaptor on the Silent Guide was very easy to fit, requiring no spacers or filing of crank arm tabs. The 7075 T6 aluminium backplate and bashguard are machined to remove as much excess material as possible and they’re pleasingly high quality too, rather than the Airfix kit feel some devices have.
Possibly the best bit of the Silent Guide is the complete lack of moving parts, with the chain sliding on ‘elastomeric’ (read nylon) guides which self lubricate as well as holding the chain in place. Despite rapid initial wear the chain soon settles into the grooves it has cut and it’s been quite happy despite being covered in mud and grit and left in the garage with no maintenance. There’s very little drag and as the name suggests it is silent in use. It’s full of win.
The chain hasn’t fallen off yet despite being on a Patriot which suffers from quite a lot (understatement) of chain growth and as a side benefit the amount of slap and rattle from the chain on the swingarm has been reduced. Pickup when pedalling is totally reliable and instant which makes getting on the power after rooty or rocky sections easy peasy and totally free of grating chains, which is worth going for a single ring setup on it’s own. Mud clears quickly and easily from the backplate and guides and despite it not being designed for being hopped upon the bashguard has taken some right whangers from rocks without any problems. Best of all for the bike tarts out there you can colour code the runners to the rest of the bike with black, white, red and blue available as well as the standard green.
Overall: It’s light, it works a treat and it’s perfect for the world of 1×9 (or 10).