A great mountain bike experience can be easily ruined by instances of the chain dropping off the ring. At the very least, it will cost you your momentum and at worst it could result in an accident. Whether it is a single or double ring set you are using, you need a chain device. This prevents these from dropping off instances and you can also use a bash guard to offer your chainring protection from rocks. Left exposed, the chainring can be bent by the rocks when on rough terrain. There are several styles of chain devices and bash guards in the market and this is an overview of the 5 best mountain bike chain devices.
Hope IBR Chainring (32T) and Finger guide ISCGO5 (32-36T)
This is an innovative guide that allows for a guide ring to be paired with a finger chain guide for quality protection. In such integration, the chain is placed between the guide and the bash ring. The design is attractive and allows for a light set even with the full pairing. Installation is simple thanks to the easy to follow manual.
The main downside of this guide comes from its unique concept. When the chainring is worn out you will be forced to replace even the bash ring at a somewhat prohibitive cost. It also lacks a narrow and wide profile.
Straitline Silent Guide (34-36T)
This is a market-proven top and bottom guide. Its lasting power in the market is a testament to its efficiency though it does not come cheap. It packs a beautiful design and integrates a CNCed bash ring which is what adds to the solidity of the whole set up. You do not have to worry about the weight because the whole hardware and setup weighs under 200 grams considering the whole protection you are provided with. Installation is straightforward thanks to the provided guide and you should be done in a couple of minutes.
It provides a smooth ride without noise found in several especially bargain models and also does not cause chain retention problems.
Cons; There is hardly anything to complain about this guide save for the need of a bash ring to provide protection to the chain. This is because the added bash ring drives up the price of the whole guide and also traps dirt closer to the chain.
The overall verdict is that this is an easy to install, reliable and efficient guide.
E*Thirteen XCX-ST Direct Mount (32-42T)
This mount follows the tradition of other E*Thirteen products with a great design combined with quality materials and engineering. Set up is easy and quick with the chain line offering you enough flexibility as it can be adjusted by 3mm by the shins that come with the package. The high-quality plastic guide swings allow for the easy installation and removal of the chainring. The strength of the material ensures this guide can withstand heavy use on any terrain. There functioning is smooth with no trouble of chain retention even when used with a narrow chainring. You do not have to worry about weight as the whole set up weighs only 57g.
The only thing that could scare you off from the XCX-ST is the price but given the value it is understandable. If you are looking for a long term investment in securing your chain this is a chain device to consider.
Gamut P30 Dual (22-36T)
This is the perfect ring guide for those riders who prefer the double chainring complete with a granny ring. The P30 Gamut keeps up with the updating done on other Gamut products and comes with a number of new features. First, there is the nylon slider replacing the stepped roller. This results in a smooth noise-free changing of the ring from one side to the other. It also features reinforced eyelets which protect the bash ring from cracking that results with extensive demands placed on the chainring bolts. The installation is simple with a provided manual and you can easily space out the slider and backplate with the provided washers.
The only downside for this guide is the bash guard may make contact with the ground and you may find mud around the bash ring.
MRP AMG (28-34T)
This is easily the best all-round chain guide. It has the distinction of attaining the perfect balance between offering comprehensive protection without bringing along too many bulky extras. For example, you get the bash guard without the lower guard which is only useful for bikes in a downhill competition. Its size is suitable for small chainrings and the bash guard is can withstand rigorous use thanks to its polycarbonate material.
The downside is that it only works with single chainrings and if you pick the white color you will suffer from staining. It comes at a great price too and at 131g and the whole protection and ease of installation, it is one of the best guides out there with real value for money spent.