The scene is set. Ardrock 2018, I’m hurtling (my impression) down Stage 1 and arrive at the bit where it’s grassy and a bit rough but flat at the same time. Yes? No? Anyway, point being, you have to pedal hard to keep speed but you’re being shaken like the proverbial Polaroid picture. The rear triangle of the trusty Bronny is compressing something silly and off pops the chain. I say “off pops” but what I really mean is, there’s a sudden loud clatter followed by a horrible, stomach churning metal on metal crunching noise whilst any speed I thought was rapidly curtailed followed by the guy on a Stumpy I’d just overtaken smugly regaining his position ahead of me. 30-40 lost seconds later the chain is back on and I’m [even more] smugly passing said chap on Stumpy again.
Fast forward to Stages 3 and 4 and the story is repeated, albeit with a lot more profanity and failing of arms, stamping of feet. It wasn’t just me either GXSi has exactly the same issues also losing his chain on the same stages almost certainly costing him his GX Syndicate Podium of Pride placing. “This will not happen again” or words to that effect, but not so quite so eloquent, was uttered and the hunt began for a solution to our chain woes.
I run Shimano XT with a 34t front and a 11-46 rear cassette on a Bronson with a mount positioned just above the chain ring for what was known in olden times as a front mech. Conveniently, said mounting plate can also be utilised to fit one of OneUp components rather stylish High Direct Mount Chain Guides. The usual scouring of the interweb thing ensued and I managed to locate one at Elevation Cycles (which is definitely classed as [someone’s] LBS) for a respectable £30. Bargain!! A few days wait and it arrived. Exciting stuff.
in the pack there’s the guide’s carbon front plate which is solid but very light, two chain guide top pieces (black and OneUp green), a back plate with ring size adjustment markings nicely etched in and some stainless mounting hardware. OneUp claim it is 38gms in weight. Mine came in at 39gms which, lets be honest, is pretty good for what it does. They also claim that the device reduces chain wear and prolongs life of both chain and front ring. I can se how that might work and will update this piece accordingly with longer term findings after it’s had some proper use.
Fitting was an absolute doddle. From the point of giddy unwrapping, and a quick check of mounting instructions (for the purposes of this review obvs), to successful fitting i would say ten minutes passed. That included a brew being made. There is simplicity in it’s design which makes it so straight forward and obvious in how it goes together. It takes seconds to fit the plates to the bike mount and seconds to adjust to the right chain ring size. All without removing the chain ring or chain from the bike. Also included is a set of spacers to ensure you get the right alignment with the chain and a little plastic widget which tells you how many you need to use (although I didn’t use it as it’s a simple process by eye to see when it’s central on the chain). Credit to their designers again here as even the plastic spacers have tiny raised pins on them that locate into the next one so they sit together and maintain their position. So simple yet so clever.
Six weeks and numerous Derbyshire Peak District rides in and I’m pleased to say there’s little to report. This is most definitely a “no news is good news” type scenario as, since it’s been in-situ, I’ve not had a single chain drop (and I’ve tried) and completely forgot it is there which is testament to it’s overall aesthetics. Innocuous and effective. Job done so far.
Watch this space for a longer term update on reliability, durability and that professed chain and ring wear reduction.
Made by: OneUp Components
Price: £30 as tested. RRP circa £45
Weight: Claimed 38gms. 39gs as tested
Fit: 30-38 tooth chain rings including oval
Score: 8/10 So far, based on ease of use, aesthetics and success to date. I reckon it may squeeze a further point if it can save on wear and tear as claimed.