A year or so ago I got my hands on one of Bionicon’s smart and simple chainguides, which works something like a chain tensioner to keep rattling at bay and create a larger chain wrap around a chainring. Now the German brand has simplified the design making it lighter, cheaper and easier to install. What’s not to like?
Pictured here is the previous design, which used several small pieces that were assembled around the chain and chainstay, and could accommodate a derailleur housing, a housing guide or a flush mount. The design allows you to install it without braking the chain, though there are lots of little pieces to fiddle with. The guide tube is made from some sort of slick rubber that doesn’t add too much drag, though its presence is most notable when using large cogs or chainrings, creating a steeper angle for the chain to travel through it.
It was a good product, and I used it both with a double chainring setup and a single, as pictured here. With a non-ramped singlespeed chainring and a SRAM Type 2 derailleur it worked well, only dropping the chain once.
The new design is completely different, with one-piece construction that couldn’t be simpler. It snaps over the chain and zip-ties to the chainstay. Boom. Done in five seconds. While it doesn’t have the pivoting tube of the first design, the “neck” portion is a softer rubber compound that flexes, letting it twist and pivot as the chain moves through the gears.
Here are the two designs side-by-side. Bionicon is set on the new design and the older model will be phased out.
It does make a bit of sound as you pedal, but it’s in line with other chainguides I’ve used, and adds a bit of security even with a narrow/wide chainring. Plus it’s so simple to install you can leave it off for normal riding and snap it on for big-hit days or rough terrain. Then again, at 14 grams it’s not like it’s slowing you down.
The only downside is that while the original C-Guide is available in lots of colors, the C-Guide Eco is only available in black. It is $29.95 and you can grab a two-pack for $52.95. Order online or from any bike shop that has a distributor account through BTI.
Keep an eye out for a full review soon.