Narrow wide chainring: Do you still run a chain guide?

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    • #204297

      I know a lot of folks, including myself, have ditched front derailleurs and are running narrow wide (thick thin) chainrings.

      My question is for those who have a narrow wide chainring: are you also running some kind of chain guide or chain retention device? Personally, I’m not and I rarely drop my chain, though it does happen rarely. But I have friends who continue to run some kind of chain retention in addition to narrow wide, which they claim is still necessary. Who is right?

    • #204299

      Probably  not necessary, but I run one anyway.    this one,


      If my bike frame had the ISCG mounts I would have bought this one.

    • #204304

      My frame (XL 2015 Specialized Enduro comp) has ISCG mounts, but I run a top mounted chain guide because I like the extra security and I believe it makes the ride quieter

    • #204305

      I do not run a chain guide and have ran drop stop chain rings for the last three years without any problems. I do however run Raceface bashguards as I have since ’00. I think going this route has been incredibly cost effective and has definitely saved my chainrings on plenty of occasions. Otherwise I might consider a MRP AMg or a similar E13 one.

    • #204315

      I use a small top guide on my trail bike, because I race the occasional enduro on it. Dropped chains were a very rare occurrence before I added it, but they did happen. A dropped chain is a good way to ruin a run or worse, so I don’t mind the tiny weight penalty.

    • #204402

      Before one by’s I used to drop a chain once in a blue moon.  With my 1×10, the narrow wide chainring, and the clutch derailleur I can’t remember more than one maybe two in the last few years.  Even if it happened 3 times a year it doesn’t seem like it’s often enough for me to care about putting a guide on there.

    • #204403

      Good point, I forgot to mention the clutch derailleur side of the equation.

      I run a clutch derailleur on one of my bikes, and a regular style on the other, with no noticeable difference in chain drops (both have narrow-wide chainrings.) So maybe the derailleur doesn’t help as much as we’ve been led to believe?

    • #204448

      So maybe the derailleur doesn’t help as much as we’ve been led to believe?

      Story time: a couple weeks ago I was ripping down a techy descent, with my Shimano 2×10 drivetrain. Despite running a C-Guide chain guide, I dropped my chain a couple times. Turned out that after picking my bike up from the shop, they had turned my clutch off. I turned it back on, and the dropped chains disappeared instantly.

      But granted, this is on a 2x system, so no narrow-wide up front.

      I do also think it depends on how hard you’re riding your bike. If you’re riding flowy XC trails on a full squish rig, do you NEED a narrow-wide chain ring, a clutched derailleur, much less a chain guide? You probably don’t “need” any of those things.

      But what if you’re a competitive enduro racer? Then you need as much chain retention as you can get: narrow-wide, clutch, and chain guide.

      For years MRP scoffed at the folks that said you didn’t need to run a chain guide with a 1x narrow-wide setup, but they kept selling them anyways. (Noah Sears is a pro-level enduro racer and works for MRP.) Now, you’re seeing lots more chain guides hitting the market designed for 1x trail and enduro bike setups.

    • #204453

      I don’t remember dropping chains since I changed to NW 1x on my ht and fs, and no chain guide. But then again, I don’t really ride aggressively. No guide on my 2x fattie either, but dropped chain a lot, coz for some reason I get more rowdy on it.

    • #204473

      I have wondered this as well. I have a 2017 SJ carbon with a AB oval chainring (32T) and I wondered if I should trash the guide

    • #204578

      I run a chainguide with my narrow/wide. This is only because I do enduro races. For instance, last year I was racing the Los Alamos Endurofest when my chain came off on one of the stages because the clutch on my derailleur decided to die mid-run. Realized it was off when I finished the stage. The guide caught my chain and held it till I finished the stage. I also still had 2 more stages so I was happy to have the guide.

      I don’t think a guide is necessary if you aren’t racing. However, if you throw down money to do a race it sucks to have your race ruined  by a potentially dropped chain. Better safe than sorry.

    • #204962

      <h3 class=”r”></h3>
      I’m a xc rider with a absoluteBLACK narrow wide chainring and I don’t ride a chain guide. Simply because I ride in a nearly flat country (Denmark) and therefore doesn’t ride dh, enduro etc.. However, when I race then I prefer to attach a chain guide to my bike, and thereby eliminate the chance of a chain drop, which will throw me out of the race. So if you like to keep the weight low, then go for no chain guide. If you need reliability then go for it.


    • #205018

      Today’s chain guides and bash guards are very light and affordable it seems almost a no-brainer. I recently installed SRAM Eagle on my mtb and felt the $100 investment was great insurance. I rarely drop a cgain, but like the comfort of knowing I am protecting my bike and it’s one less worry on the trail. Check out this chain guidr/bash guard option. It’s very easy to install, you don’t need to remove your cranks and it has spacers to adapt to almost any size bike.

    • #205020

      Yes still run a chain guide.

      I run a OneUp chain guide with bash guard. Super light so it’s not really adding much weight. I didn’t drop my chain much at all before I installed it, but it’s nice to have and I really got if for the bash guard. I’m always smashing into rocks and roots on the Mass/NE trails.

    • #205097

      I have never ran anything on my 1×10 with narrow wide RF AND xt derailleur, the only time I’ve had ghost shifting or close to a dropped chain,is when I forgot to turn the clutch on. But even with the clutch off. It was very hard for me to pop the chain off.

    • #205100

      On my dh bike i run it with a guide but that is more for th bash guard and protection it offers, but on mh trail hike just the chain ring.  Bith bikes have gx on them so they have clutches.  Only ever dropped a chain once on my trail and that was because i was going down a dirt road about 25 that had washboards that would make a car rattle apart.


    • #205145

      I don’t run a guide my, or my wife’s, 1x bikes.  They are set up with narrow wide and clutch derailleur. We ride mostly in Alabama which is pretty smooth. But even on visits to more technical trails I cant remember dropping a chain. For racing I bet it would be worth the piece of mind.

    • #205526

      My bike is 2x but my chain has fallen off a couple of times quite recently, and it’s a new bike if that would have anything to do with it..? A: Is it normal for your chain to come off just from riding jumps…? B; Can I run a chainguide to prevent this from happening?

    • #205529

      Yep, jumps can cause a chain to drop. But with a 2X drivetrain, the front derailleur often does a decent job keeping the chain on.

      Sounds like you might need something like this jimmy jammer:!qJb!F-Gi3MHfB-xkMjZvDw!/e13-TRS-Chain-GuideBash-Guard

    • #205942

      Now as I said earlier I haven’t had any issues with chain falling off on my 1×10, I just finished building a banshee rune with a 1×11 set up with out a chain guide.  Now the chain hasn’t fallen off yet, but I do have an issue that the chain line has enough angel on it in the 1×1 or lowest gear that when it is back pedaled the chain will slip off that gear and go to the second gear.  Now this wouldn’t be too much of a problem if it wasn’t for the rear derailleur having narrow wide pulleys that will sometimes get miss aligned with the chain when it slips.  Not sure if a chain guide would help this issue or not, any thoughts?

    • #207540

      1×11  11-46 xt derailur race face N-W chainring, no need for a chainguide even when pedaling backwards.

    • #207542

      I’ve been running Wolftooth NW on all of my bikes for a couple years, with a clutch derailleur, I’ve never dropped a chain. Techy descents and big jumps aren’t really my forte though, so I don’t have much experience there. I have commuted through a couple slushy ice packed winters and haven’t had any drops from those either.

    • #207560


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