Review: MRP G3 Chain Guide and Bling Ring Chain Ring

G3 Chain Guide

Now in its third major design change, the new G3 chain guide from MRP represents over 15 years of experience. The G3 has had some major enhancements recently to increase performance, durability, and ease of use. The most obvious change is the integrated lower bash/skid plate and chain guide (pulley or G-slide) for increased strength.

Another less obvious but very user-friendly modification is the increased ease of crank maintenance. The lower and upper guides can easily swing away, allowing easy crank removal without needing to move the chainguide out of the way.

All contact points use the same 4mm hex key for a fumble-free maintenance experience.

The G3 comes with an alloy backing plate or an optional carbon one, making this a sub-200g unit. Installed on my V10 is the alloy ISCG-05 version. The BB version is only available in alloy. All versions come in black or white.

Included with every unit is the G-slide, allowing for a trouble-free lower-friction unit. The G-slide has been designed to work in muddier conditions that would clog up a regular pulley.

G3 Installation

Before doing any work on your bike or ordering a G3, feel free to check out the MRP website for clarification on the intended application of this product.

If you already know which version you need and have all the tools necessary, the installation should take all of 20 -30 minutes to complete. Typically you will need:

  • Torque wrench
  • 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10mm hex keys
  • Screwdriver
  • BB cup tools

If you haven’t installed a chain guide before, read all the instructions carefully. With that caveat in mind, I thought the install was straight-forward, requiring just a few measurements and checks to ensure the suspension travel does not strike the guide, and that the guide pulley is lined up correctly with the chainring. For example, on my bike I needed to install the longer screws provided and one 1mm spacer between the back plate and my ISCG-05 tabs.

Torque all hardware to spec, as  permanent damage will occur to both your frame tabs and the chain guide if you over torque.

Bling Ring

If you’re a rider who has a SRAM XO, X9, AKA, or S1400 crank, you have an excellent opportunity to shave some serious weight when converting to a single ring option. The new Bling Ring is a purpose-built, direct-fit option that just makes sense. It’s available in even sizes from 28t-36t.

If you install the Bling Ring, you will shed the unnecessary mass from the spider and chainring bolts. My 36t Bling Ring came in at 94 grams. To put that in perspective, the old spider, ring, and bolts added up to 135g. That’s a savings of 41g of unneeded weight.

Installing the Bling is best done when installing a guide such as the G3. With the crank off the bike, simply remove the three bolts securing the factory spider to the drive crank. Clean everything thoroughly using a quality cleaner/degreaser, then situate the ring on the crank and apply fresh thread locking compound to the bolts, before torquing them down evenly.

Out on the Trail

Testing both the Bling Ring and the G3 was a treat! Once dialed in, the ring and guide combination created a very quiet, smooth retention system.

During the rides rides early on in the season when the trails were at their gnarliest, I expected issues with clogging and grinding. That was not the case. I was impressed to see the pulley hold up well without gumming up. I did change over to the G-slide to see how things worked with that option, and was impressed at the simplicity and performance with it installed.

Following MRP’s lubricant recommendations, I used only Finish Line Wet. That meant frequent cleaning. A simple rub down on the chain before a ride removed nearly all debris, but the taco and G-slide required more maintenance. After all, I didn’t want to kill the bling too quickly!

I am impressed with the over-all performance of the guide. In fact, I feel more confident with this unit than I did with the older G2 (SRAM XO guide). I really love the ease of removal, which allows for quick crank cleaning and adjustments. Over the course of my review I had no issue with either item, running the guide only on a Shimano Zee crank, or running the Bling Ring installed on a SRAM XO crank with the guide.

The Bling Ring sells for $69.95 and the G3 is available for $150.00. Check out MRP for these and other cool chain retention solutions.

Many thanks to MRP for sending down the chain guide and chain ring for review!