2010 is truly a year for outstanding components. e*thirteen has come up with a good one for those of you who love pointing that rig of yours down a slope. The folks at e*thirteen seem to have a philosophy that says “don’t stop till it’s perfect – then make it better” and the SRS+ chain retention device is evidence. e*thirteen produces an array of specific chain retention devices including the XCX, the first chain retention device for XC riders wanting to run 1 x 9.
At 195 grams, the e*thirteen SRS+ is probably the lightest solution for your FR or DH rig running a typical 1 x 9 configuration. This premium chain guide is designed for World Cup downhill / 4X / park and freeriders. The kit comes with everything you need minus the chain ring bolts and depending on your setup you may need longer bolts due to the extra thickness of the Turbocharger bashring (included).
The SRS+ features an improved back plate with a 3-position adjustable Tech 3 Stealth pulley which accommodates bikes of different chain stay lengths and designs. e*thirteen redesigned the Bolt-and-Go top wear plate and you can get this with or without the ISCG 05 adapter plate. The SRS+ comes in black or white plus limited-production colors like red – but hurry because the special colors tend to go quickly. Keep in mind when ordering to get the correct size for your application: either the 32-36T or the 36-40T version. If this is a bit daunting for you, you could always check out the e*thirteen website and their awesome GuidePicker 2.0.
Most people should be able to install the SRS+ correctly using the included instructions. The job will typically take about 30 minutes and requires a 4,5,6mm Allen key, a crank extractor (depending on cranks), and two beers. You will need to remove the cranks at least once during this operation to get the back plate in position (if you have the tabs), otherwise along with the crank you will need to remove the crank-side bottom bracket cup and one spacer (replaced when the adapter plate is installed). The most critical point of the installation is to get the correct spacing of the guide plate with the shims (in the form of varying thickness washers). The stealth pulley needs to be perfectly aligned with the chain ring for maximum performance and minimum noise.
I found the best way is to install the guide plate with the thin shims first, then install the crank back on with the chain ring minus the bash guard. Check for alignment and if you’re off, loosen all the guide bolts and add or remove shims to get perfect alignment. Keep one bolt in position while changing the other two – that way you keep everything lined up without having things fall out of place. Change up the last bolt and once the pulley is lined up, the rest of the job is dead easy.
After installation I didn’t feel any need to “break in” the new parts – the SRS+ was up and running flawlessly from the get-go. On the trails I didn’t notice my chain even hinting at jumping off the chain ring, nor did I notice the guide impeding my chain or building up crud to jam things up. The trails up here were still a bit on the soft side of things due to an entire month of cloudy and wet weather but a recent snap of cold, sunny weather helped firm up the ground a bit. Even so, with the aggressive ITS 909 and Intruder tires on my rig I found only a bit of dirt build-up around the bottom bracket which is pretty typical for terrain that’s thick and clingy.
Riding over logs and other obstacles was a snap and no worries. At one point I really cased a step up where I dead stopped the bike on a rather large log without any concern whatsoever. The Turbocharger Bash guard is really tough and came out with just a small scuff that’s barely noticeable (if I had the black version you probably wouldn’t be able to see a thing).
Overall I have to say the SRS+ ($130 MSRP) is a perfect unit for those who want a premium chain retention and bash guard combo. I have to say I was totally impressed with all aspects of the SRS+ from the attention to detail on the guide to the lightweight package and above all, the quiet and flawless performance. I believe the best parts are the ones you forget you have and for a while I forgot about the SRS+ until I was reminded by one of my riding pals when he asked about its performance. Sweet.
If the SRS+ seems out of your price range, e*thirteen has the same great performance at a lower cost with the SS+ (though the SS+ skips the bling bling anodized hardware and aluminum bits).
e*thirteen SRS+ Specs
Weight: 195 Grams
Chainring size compatibility: 32T-36T OR 36t-40T
Bolt-and-go fixed position wearplate design
Adjustable angle lower backplate arm accommodates all chainstay designs
Tech 3 Stealth Idler
Gold anodized alloy hardware
Available in black or white
A quick thanks goes out to the folks at e*thirteen for providing the SRS+ for review.