Advancement in technologies in the mountain bike world has been quite amazing these past few years. With rear derailleurs with clutches, and narrow-wide chainrings that provides even more bite on the chain, chain retention has definitely gotten alot more awesome for all of us. And most recently, a new wave of oval narrow-wide chainrings has been given us riders more options to find that perfect drivetrain setup. absoluteBLACK has been in the forefront with oval chainrings and we’ve done an extensive review of the oval chainring when it was first released into the wild. Read it here.
They’ve since released their oval goodies in every imaginable crankarm mount and you can now get one that’s specific to your setup. We’ve recently received a ring for the M9020 XTR and we gotta say that the installation and fit was perfect and they look really good.
Both narrow-wide rings and clutch rear dees do an admirable job, but if you’re a rider who flies through the double drop in BeeTee or shred through aggressively through the 7 drops, having that little extra security in the form of a chainguide might be a good idea. And that extra security is now available specifically for oval chainrings.
The new absoluteBLACK oval guides are available in ISCG05, ISCg05-BSA, e-Type and high-direct mounts, which practically covers every modern bike in the market today. Even if you’re riding a bike from the nineties, you can easily get an ISCG mount that can be installed on your bottom backet. Ok, so back to the chainguide.
We’ve currently tested the ISCG05 version and the first thing that we were impressed with, was the weight. They weigh next to nothing at only 22.2g including all it’s titanium hardware. That’s probably lighter than a cup of water. The ICSG05 version was designed as a minimal upper guide with a 2 bolt attachment to your ISCG mounts.
It’s also compatible with any 1×10, 1×11 or 1×12 drivetrain with AB’s own oval or round chainring, and installation is a breeze. The guide also comes with multiple sizes of chainline spacers (0.5, 1, 2, 3,5mm) and titanium T25 bolts. You can use any of the spacers independently and mox them up to get the perfect chainline. The minimalist backplate is made from 7075 aluminum and it’s anodized black to fade away behind your chainring.
Developed together with 77 Designs, the oval chainguide is designed in UK and manufactured in Poland (EU). There’s an awesome video on absoluteBlack’s website where they talked about the partnership and the detailed work behind the chainguide. They’ve included a couple of awesome features and one of the most favourites feature is definitely the Tool-Free Fron-Flip technology. The design allows a rider to remove the crankarms or chain without having to remove the upper guide. All you need to do is to flip it over, and you have access to your chain or crank.
We’re glad to report that we’ve ridden with the new oval chainguide for about 2 weeks now and so far, we’ve never dropped a ring. It’s no surprise that we didn’t suffer any mechanicals related to the chainguide during any of our rides and we’re glad the chain didn’t go awol during any of the sketchy situations that we found ourselves in. To be fair, we haven’t dropped a chain even without a chainguide all these while, but we feel that having that extra bit of security, especially at only 22 grams, is a great thing to have.