Along with their crankset, Hope sent over their Slick Chain Device for review. It’s a chain guide intended to be run with a 1x drivetrain. Unfortunately, the Zen TRAIL frame that I used for testing the cranks didn’t have ISCG-05 tabs on it, so I wasn’t able to use it on that bike. My Kona Process does have the proper mounts, though, so I ran the Slick Chain Device on that bike.
Just like all of Hope’s other components, the Slick Chain Device showcases their expertise in machining. The backplate is made from 7000 series aluminum, and the guide itself is machined from engineering plastic. Together, the package looks substantial, but in your hand it feels incredibly light. Without the mounting hardware, the guide weighs 82g, which is less than a quarter pound. MSRP for the standard version of the Slick Chain Device is $78. Hope also offers a version with a bash guard for $125.
Hope includes a variety of spacers along with the hardware to fine-tune the fit for your bike. For my particular bike, I didn’t have to use any spacers, so mounting the guide was easy peasy.
On the Trail
I used the Slick Chain Device while testing SRAM’s GX drivetrain. I didn’t have any issues with dropping the chain before I installed the guide, but a little extra security never hurts. Besides, my Kona already comes in over 13.6kg (30lbs), so what difference does 82g make?
Even with an 11-speed drivetrain, I didn’t have any issues with the chain rubbing against the guide and making noise. Total silence. Hope uses a rubbery-plastic damper where the chain enters the guide from the cassette, which likely helps keep it quiet as well. After a few months of riding with the Slick Chain Device, I have yet to drop a chain. And this is on a bike that gets ridden harder than any of my others.
Narrow/wide chainrings have largely made dropped chains a thing of the past. However, they’re not 100% drop-proof. For racers or those riding in demanding terrain, a dropped chain can ruin your run, or worse, destroy vulnerable components. The Slick Chain Device weighs about as much as an empty water bottle and has been flawless in operation. Considering that, I’ll gladly take the slight weight penalty for the peace of mind it offers.
Thanks to Hope for providing the Slick Chain Device for review.