Bash guards are like pedals in that they look shiny and sleek when first bolted to the bike, and both are immediately scratched and dented during the first few rides. They can be a signpost of how hard a bike is ridden, how tall the local rocks are, and how low the frame’s bottom bracket is slung. Lower frame stances and rougher trails have followed one another down the MTB trend-o-meter, making bash guard/chain guide combos like this one from OneUp Components all the more useful.
The OneUp Bash Guide stands out from the crowd in three different ways. First, it can be installed with a single 4mm hex key, and that install can take place without removing the cranks. Simply bolt the bash guard to your ISCG05 tabs, then figure out how many spacers you need to center the chain guide over your chainring without rubbing, bolt it up, and go pedal. Depending on your bike the procedure should take between one and two cold beers to complete.
The second stoke-worthy element of this bash guide is that is comes with three glass-reinforced thermoplastic bash plates for 30-32t, 32-34t, and 36t chainrings. With a 34t guard installed it weighs just 95 grams. If you manage to destroy the 34t guide you can simply mount the 36t option and keep pedaling without spending any more cash.
The chain guide is available in black, green, red, orange, turquoise, blue, and purple to fit with your frame’s trail outfit.
The most unique and innovative element of the Bash Guide is the fact that the chain guide can be flipped open without the use of a tool. Even the best chain guide won’t keep the chain on 100% of the time, and when it does eject you won’t have to fish out a multi tool to get rolling again. This clever element is the reason I chose to check this little bugger out. While I haven’t yet dropped a chain, I have flipped the guide up to remove the chain and clean the chainring teeth and to swap the chainring out for one I was testing. The flip guide is a notably convenient solution to an otherwise frustrating area of the drivetrain.
I have experienced zero dropped or derailed chains with this guide installed. On muddy rides my chainring will occasionally become caked in just enough mud that the chain can’t seat properly, causing it to eject. With the guide in place, the chain stays on until it’s able to clear the debris and ride lower on the teeth as intended.
On the bash end of things, I have had multiple opportunities to test the hard plastic and it performs admirably. Banging it into rocks and logs is good fun, and the aluminum carrier is still holding a straight line alongside my unscathed chainring. I expected the carrier to bend, potentially touching the chainring and causing issues, but that hasn’t yet happened. If it does bend chainward it could either be slammed back with a handheld rock or removed with the same 4mm hex key.