Need help choosing a guide? Not sure you need a guide? You're in the right place.

We've been producing chainguides for almost twenty years. In that time, we've learned a thing or two about chain retention. This page is designed to bring you up to speed on the different guide systems offered by MRP - with information on best uses, technologies, and how each guide fits into our diverse lineup. Click on one of the topics below or scroll down the page to learn about MRP chainguides.

Have a question not covered here? Be sure to check out our Tech Support page or feel free to Contact Us.


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Model 1x AMg SXg G4
Intended Usage XC / TRAIL TRAIL / ALL-MOUNTAIN ENDURO / DH RACE DH / GRAVITY
Upper Guide Co-molded "TR" Co-molded "TR" Co-molded "HD" Co-molded "HD"
Lower Guide None None Defensive Retention, Whippersnapper™ Active Retention, pulley or G-Slide™
Integrated Protection None Yes, "AM" Skid Yes, "SX" Skid Yes, "G3/G4" Skid
Weight (in lightest configuration) 31 g
Carbon ISCG-05
97 g
26-32t Carbon ISCG-05
106 g
30-34t Carbon ISCG-05
153 g
32-36t Carbon ISCG-05
Carbon Option Yes
ISCG-05 and D-mount
Yes Yes Yes
Min. Ring 26t* 26t 30t 32t
Max. Ring 40t* 38t 38t 40t
Mounting Options BB, ISCG, ISCG-05, D-Mount (High DM), S3/E-Mount, and Seat Tube Clamp ISCG & ISCG-05 ISCG-05 BB*, ISCG, & ISCG-05

The chainguide is just part of the total drivetrain secureness of a bike. Aside from riding conditions, you also have to factor in suspension travel, cassette range, and chainring size and type.

Suspension travel plays a role as bikes with more suspension travel will generally experience increased chain growth under suspension compression. That, as well as the extremely rough terrain long-travel bikes are capable of taming, will add to the necessity of very secure drivetrain to protect against chain drops. We recommend for these cases that if you opt for a "defensive retention" guide like the 1x or AMg that you couple it with at least a "clutched" derailleur if not also a chain retaining ring like our Wave™ ring.

Total cassette range is a consideration when you shop for a guide as mega wide-range cassettes increase in popularity. With a close-range cassette (anywhere from 11-23 to 11-34t) the cog sizes do not change that dramatically from one extreme to the other.  However, with the new 11-speed cassettes from SRAM and Shimano going as wide as 10-42t or 11-42t respectively (and aftermarket options as large as 45t), the result is a chain that (when adequately sized to accommodate that large cog is shifted down in the 10 or 11t cog) is extremely long and "floppy". Again, for these drivetrains (which generally already have some "clutch" feature incorporated in the rear derailleur) we'd recommend a chainring with chain retention features, like our Wave™ ring.

Chainring size and type is another factor to consider when picking out your guide. Size is critical for a few reasons; for one, our guides (1x excepted) are sized to accommodate a range of ring sizes - so your ring's tooth count must fall into that range to be compatible. Secondly, ring size might factor into whether you opt for a guide with integrated skid protection. Larger ring sizes increase the chance of accidentally contacting rocks, logs, and other trail obstacles with your ring if it's uncovered. A final consideration is the inherent retention functionality of your ring. This comes down to size (larger rings have more chain wrap and are generally more secure), tooth design (not all "narrow/wide" rings are created equal), and, of course, wear (the inherent chain retention functionality of EVERY ring diminishes with wear).

Another necessary consideration in picking out a guide is what mounting options are available to you with your frame. The different mounting options we can accommodate are explained further down this page. A frame with ISCG or ISCG-05 tabs, a traditional threaded bottom bracket shell, and one of the two common direct mount FD standards will have the most guide options imaginable. Frames lacking ISCG or ISCG-05 tabs or a threaded bottom bracket shell are limited in the type of guides they'll accommodate - but there is still likely a solution!

Contact us if you want a personal recommendation, we're happy to help!

Maybe we're preaching to the choir here - and you've dropped your chain enough to say "enough!", but for those of you unsure if the greatly added security of an MRP chainguide would benefit you, we've put together this list of folks who really need guides.

People that put on miles....and miles...and miles....

For over a year we’ve been testing various narrow-wide rings and their Achilles heel is wear. It makes perfect sense that the very thing that keeps the chain in place on these rings, friction, will lead to wear - and that wear will reduce the rings retention ability. If you pound out the miles off road, an MRP guide is a great way to preserve your usable drivetrain life and keep you in the saddle (not off the bike every descent, re-installing your chain).

Powerhouses....

Big and/or powerful riders wear chains AND rings at a much greater rate than your average Joe and, as illustrated above, that’ll necessitate frequent replacement of parts to keep their guideless setups running reasonably and safely. The one-time purchase of even a basic 1x guide for roughly HALF the price of some fast-wearing narrow-wide chainrings seems like a sound investment.

Racers....

Have a look at how professional enduro (and even several XC) racers have their bikes setup, they’re all on guides. A cynic might say it’s a sponsorship obligation, but for the last two years we’ve been getting hit up for product left and right by racers we DON’T sponsor! What’s more, we’ve recently sold guides to employees of both major drivetrain manufacturers - even they know chain drop is inevitable if you’re going “guideless”. Not convinced? Have a look at some of these recent bike checks:

Trek Factory Racing's Dan McConnell (World Cup XC)

Trek Factory Racing's Justin Leov (Enduro World Series)

Bikes of the 2014 EWS round in Whistler (29 of 33 feature guides)

Bikes of the 2015 EWS round in Samoens (every bike has a guide)

 

Riders using wide-range 1x10 hacks...

We’ve found derailleur clutch tension to be crucial to chain retention performance, and it’s clear those found in 10-speed derailleurs are not as taut as SRAM’s 11-speed models. Substituting a 40 or 42t range-extending cog into a traditional 10-speed cassette is a hot trend and a great value. But, you’re asking a lot of a derailleur to wrap around a giant cog like that, but still provide some tension to the chain way down in the 11t. What ends up happening on these conversions is a lot of chain slappin’ and flappin’ when you’re barreling down the hill, spun out of gears. This is not the time you want to lose a chain!


Do you need a chainguide? Do you need a helmet? You probably don't hit your head every ride, but you surely wear one just in case. Likewise, maybe you've gotten along just fine with your guideless narrow/wide setup - dropping your chain only occasionally or perhaps not at all. With some of our 1x guides weighing as little as ~30 g, we think it's worth virtually eliminating the chance of a dropped chain by adding a guide to your setup. We won't deny the advances in the chainring and derailleur technology the last few years have tremendously increased chain security, but the trusty old chainguide still has a place at the table, and the technology used in guides has advanced considerably too. No longer is it necessary to sandwich your ring between two metal plates and your chain under and over big orange rollers. The latest guides are incredibly svelte, quiet, and (in the case of the 1x and AMg) completely contact free unless you need them.

Of course you'd expect us - the chainguide pioneers - to say "yeah, you definitely need a guide"! But don't just take our word for it. Here's what the media has been saying recently:

According to Vital MTB, chainguides are “in” for 2015. From their story “What’s Out and What’s In for 2015”, Jan. 2015:

  “Chainguides. Your narrow-wide ring isn’t that good.”

This sentiment is echoed through a feature duly published in What MTB?! and BikeRadar “Mountain Bike Chain Devices - Six of the Best”, Dec. 2014, in which they said:

“If you want to ride aggressively a chain device is a wise idea.” They chose the AMg guide as the best of the group, saying “The combination of a top guide and taco bashguard seems an ideal setup when combined with a clutch derailleur and narrow-wide chainring.”

Pinkbike, who have sent mixed messages on the relevance of chainguides post “Narrow/Wide” technology, acknowledges:

“Before you start celebrating about the money you are going to save on that upper guide, though, consider that almost every racer on the Enduro World Series runs a one-by drivetrain and, with a handful of exceptions, all run an upper guide.” Elaborating, “An upper guide is lightweight, simple to install, and cheap insurance.” Richard Cunningham, “Ask Pinkbike Anything”, Sep. 2014

Even the cyclocross media, where Narrow/Wide is just now catching on, sees the value:

“A little extra weight is better than standing on the side of the course putting your chain back on by hand. Having multiple lines of defense against the dropped chain offers peace of mind, and perhaps a few places as well.” Logan VonBokel, of Velo News on SRAM CX1, Jan. 2015

So while “guideless” drivetrains may have been portrayed as “in vogue” by the media in the past, there is clearly growing support that chainguides are not only still relevant, but necessary.

It's not just the media, the preeminent bicycle tool specialists Park Tool agree - chainguides make sense. Click here to read this entry from Calvin's Corner, where he concludes:

"For the most secure riding where you want to take no chances, these narrow-wide rings should be used with a chain guide. Running a traditional narrow ring with a guide is not enough. Running the narrow-wide ring alone may not be enough. If you want the best chain-to-chainring engagement at all times, run both — like wearing suspenders and a belt."

MRP guide systems fall into two basic groups, defensive and active.

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Guides featuring defensive retention are best utilized on short-travel or hardtail bicycles or used in conjunction with secondary chain retention technologies such as "clutched" derailleurs or chainrings with varying width teeth. These guides provide "defense" from chain derailment, no element of the guide makes contact with the chain under normal use.

Typical uses:

  • XC
  • Trail
  • Enduro
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Active retention guides route the chain over either a pulley, roller, or slider as it leaves the chainring. By doing this, these guides increase the amount of chain wrapping the chainring. Increased chain wrap provides extremely secure and reliable chain retention in even the most demanding circumstances.

Typical uses:

  • Enduro
  • Gated Racing
  • Downhill

Some MRP guide systems feature integrated protection.

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Guide systems that feature protection are recommended for technical terrain and essential for aggressive riding or competition. They feature our patented integrated skid or a crank-mounted bashguard.


See the diagram below which summarizes and illustrates the various ways you can mount a guide to your bike. If you're unsure which FD mount standard your bike has, or whether it is ISCG or ISCG-05, check the measurements in the illustration.

guide mounting options

Why should your next (or first) guide be an MRP? Well, for starters, we pretty much invented the concept of the chainguide, or at the very least popularized it. Check out the timeline below showing some of the highlights of our history, including the original "System 1" guide that made "MRP" and "chainguide" synonymous.

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We continue to innovate today. For example, the AMg guide was the first of it's kind when we debuted it at Eurobike 2013. This year, while competitors are just getting their first takes at knock-offs to market, we're shipping the evolved AMg V2. We've had a few years with the original and found ways to make it  even better (features like the new skid, lightened backplate, and co-molded, mini "TR" upper guide), those other guys....

We know it's the details that make the difference. We're a group of about 25 passionate people that put our souls into the product and we won't let anything that doesn't meet our personal standards bare the "MRP" name. Those high-standards are applied to the products we produce in-house in our Grand Junction, CO headquarters as well as through our partners around the globe.

(Left) All aftermarket product is assembled in our Grand Junction, CO facility. At right, also in our Grand Junction facility, a machinist puts the finishing touches on a freshly cut 1x bracket.

(Left) All aftermarket product is assembled in our Grand Junction, CO facility. At right, also in our Grand Junction facility, a machinist puts the finishing touches on a freshly cut 1x bracket.