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Tested : One up Components Chain Guide and Oval Ring

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When lathered with the vilest of English crap, did the combo work seamlessly?

ISG05 Chain Guide

The arrival of single ring 1×11 setups meant that clean lines had arrived and chain guide noise was gone forever, at least that’s what I thought. The narrow-wide ring on my SRAM X01 setup served me well and for about 6 months, the chain never came off. So for me, I was sold. Until one ride, after compressing into a berm then trying to pedal out, I landed , balls onto top tube , re-living that kicked in the knackers feeling that I thought I’d left in Primary school. The drivetrain was starting to wear , so under load the when the chain was slack and down the cassette, it’d slip off the chainring. So , I was glad to see this neat sliver of metal arrive in the post.


The guide is very simple, a bit of machined aluminium with two holes which mount on your ISCG tabs. Then theres an extra bolt to mount the small plastic guide and a few spacers to adjust the guide so it sits flush with your chain line.The bolts are excellent quality, not the type that round off with one ham-fisted slip on the bolt head.  The bonus is, you don’t have to remove your cranks and it’s a simple job to fit. One Up say 10 minutes, it took me about 20 after fiddling with spacers to get it to run just right. Once it’s on, there’s no noise and you don’t think about it being there.

One up close

Check out the initial impressions article here.

Technical Data:
Weight: 35g
Capacity: 26-38T
Chainline: 5.5mm adjustment
Mount: ISCG05
Material: 7075 aluminium, top guide glass reinforced thermoplastic

RRP : £31.99

“Weighs less than a sip of water”. I’m not sure how accurate that is but at 35g , it isn’t exactly going to stop you getting off the ground.

How does it perform? Put simply, it does the job as intended. Richie Rude has just gone and won the first two rounds of the Enduro World Series on a similar One Up guide with an integrated bash guard, so these things obviously work. It runs quiet and doesn’t attract gunk or clog up with mud, it kind of just houses the chain rather the holds it, so it doesn’t rub. It’s a part worth having ; if you’re a racer it’s a no-brainer, it’s not worth the risk of losing a chain mid-run. If your not a racer it will still give you more life out of your chainrings without the annoyance of losing a chain and will keep it held through bumpy sections/big landings when even the freshest teeth on a narrow-wide ring can’t hold the chain on. As you’d hope , I havent dropped a chain since fitting the guide a few months ago so it’s bang on I reckon.

32T Oval Ring

My first experience of an oval chainring, after a bloke in a trail centre car park said “have a go of this”,  left me feeling pretty baffled as to what they were supposed to do . Was this another bike innovation along the lines of the Lefty , having a 24 inch back wheel and bar ends?  Mind you , a car-park test on a DH bike might not have been the right place to start ; it didn’t seem to do anything and I was convinced it was causing the bike to bob up and down like a rocking horse. Afterwards , I read up on them and realised that it they’re designed to improve climbing ability and probably not any use for an out and out DH rig so I don’t have a clue what that guy was doing. So needless to say , I wasn’t expecting miracles when the One Up 32T oval ring arrived but I was keen to give it a bash.

Technical Data:
Weight: 50g (32T)
Chainline: 49mm
Material: 7075-T6 Aluminium
Compatibility: all symmetrical 4 arm 94 mm BCD cranks (SRAM XO1, X1, GX), all symmetrical 4 arm 96 mm BCD cranks (Shimano compact triple M782, M672, M622, M612).

RRP: £ 36.99

First impressions were good, clean looking black anodised ring with the proper “narrow-wide” arrangement going on. I bolted the ring on and rode it for a few weeks, a bit underwhelmed by its performance. It was hard to tell what the effect was,it felt pretty normal but no massive effect going on. I was then told that I had in fact, mounted the ring incorrectly, meaning I had set it up like a Biopace ring from the 90’s! So, if you do go and buy an oval ring, bear in mind that you have to get it lined up right….I’m sure there will be a few other people pedalling around right now with it mounted wrongly, or maybe it its just me!


How not to mount the ring….


Egg shaped as its meant to be…

So once it was mounted right, instantly you could tell something different was going on. At first when sprinting , there is a kind of strange sensation, a weird feeling compared to a normal circular ring. You can kind of feel the ring is ovular but it certainly isn’t a negative thing and without doing some type of timed straight-line test with a circular chainring side by side , I have no idea if it is quicker or not. However, on the uphills the difference is certainly there. I gives you the ability to concentrate on just putting the power down on steep climbs without having to be as careful with your pedal stroke, losing rear wheel traction just doesn’t happen as easily. It kind of irons out the effects of you mashing down on your pedals which does make loose climbs an easier job.  The other interesting feature is the 12% ovality , which means a 32T ring is equal to a 30T-34T range. Therefore you get slightly more range out of your chainring at the same time. I wouldn’t say the difference is huge, it’s not mind-blowing experience like upgrading from a basic shock to an Ohlins but its a tangible difference (for £30 a good bit of difference) and a worthwhile innovation , which if you’re upgrading or replacing chainrings , you might aswell go for ; there’s no disadvantage as far as I can see.

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