NUKEPROOF CHAIN GUIDE WITH BASH REVIEW
Words by Robert Johnston | Photos by Adam Lievesley
Although the invention of Narrow Wide chainrings and clutch mechs has allowed riders to charge hard without any additional chain retention, there is still a risk of a dropped chain as well as a very exposed chainring in the firing line of rocks and stumps on the trail. For a minimal weight penalty, the additional peace of mind and protection of a chain guide is invaluable to some. Nukeproof wanted to offer riders a simple and cost-effective solution to their chain handling and protection woes – enter the Nukeproof Chain Guide.
Nukeproof opted for a hard-wearing Aluminum alloy backplate for their chain guide, equipped with a plastic composite upper guide and bash guard. To ensure the guide runs as smoothly and silently as possible, this upper guide features a soft rubber co-molded to the potential chain contact surfaces. The position of the guide is adjustable up and down on a rail to account for chainrings from 28t to 36t, including the use of oval rings. The lower guide is fixed in position, leaving a bit of excess if running a smaller chainring. The guide weighs a verified 95g without hardware, so is an insignificant addition around the bottom bracket. Available in ISCG-05 only, it should fit the majority of modern bikes, with a variety of stainless-steel washers and multiple lengths of bolt to space the backplate out accordingly in order to be compatible with both regular and boost chainlines. If you do manage to attack the plastic bash hard enough to crack it, Nukeproof has you covered with a spare bash included in the box. At £60 (approx. $84 at time of test), the Nukeproof Chain Guide is on the budget end of the scale, providing an affordable solution to a problem faced by many riders, and comes in a variety of colors to match your ride.
Whilst modern drivetrains have reduced the need for chain guides, I tend towards the more aggressive side of the scale and value the additional retention that an upper guide can offer. With BB heights reaching new lows, and the local terrain seeing a fair share of awkward rocks that are hungry for some chainring, running a bash provides a valuable peace of mind that I won’t have a ride ended early and face a long walk or scoot back to the car.
I opted to install the Nukeproof Chain Guide to my personal Transition Sentinel V1 – a perfect candidate for a chain guide thanks to its slammed BB and geometry that often exceeds the capabilities of its 140mm rear end. The chainring area on the Sentinel is relatively tight, however I have run a chainguide in the past without any issue. The Nukeproof guide proved to be a little more troublesome to install, but I did get there in the end. The unfortunate fact of the design of the backplate is that it’s essential to remove the crank for the guide to fit over the BB shell, at least it was for my DUB-equipped, threaded alloy bottom bracket. Whilst the actual removal of the crank is not so difficult, it does mean you have to do a lot of de-and-re-construction of the guide to get it on. This is made easier thanks to constant 4mm hardware throughout, meaning there’s no need to constantly switch tools. Setting up the spacing of the guide proved to be difficult in the limited real estate on offer around the ring of my Transition, but after several attempts I found a solution that left the chainring in the middle of the upper guide and allowed the suspension to compress without fouling. Certainly not the easiest setup I’ve ever experienced as the backplate is quite thick, but on par with a few other guides I’ve fitted in my time. The sliding upper guide works reasonably well, but it would have been nice to see some markings for each chainring size to simplify setup a touch.
On the trail, the Nukeproof Chain Guide goes about its business without too much fuss. I noticed that no matter where I positioned it, there’d be the tiniest amount of chain contact when at one extremity of the cassette, but this didn’t produce a concerning amount of drag. The guide was tested through some typically wet and gloopy British trail conditions and managed to shrug off the majority of testing without any jamming. There was one instance when a small rock lodged itself in the upper guide and stopped the cranks firmly, but it’s safe to assume this was a freak incident and not a cause for concern. The bash guard has been called into action a number of times, mainly on technical climbs rather than high speed trail incidents and has come out the other side raring for some more. The combination of the chunky plastic and thick aluminum backplate produce a stiff and sturdy setup that can handle a good bit of abuse, negating the need to fit the spare bash throughout the test period.
The Nukeproof Chain Guide is a solid no-frills guide that performs well, so long as you can spare the time to get it set up perfectly. At a wallet friendly price, with a minimal weight penalty and good protection, it’s easy to look past the slightly fiddly setup and recommend the guide.
Price: – £60 /$84(approx.)
Weight: 99g (28-36t, no hardware)