MRP G5 2 Bolt Chain Guide NSMB Andrew Major
EDITORIAL

Our Obsession With Drag

Photos Andrew Major (Unless Noted)
Reading time

Act 1: Forbidden Knowledge

I'll reach up and give a respectful tip of my chapeau to the classic Balfa BB7. Then I'll shrug apologetically in the direction of the intriguing Deviate Highlander. I'll ponder how even Trek seems to have forgotten their 2003 Diesel downhill rig. And I'll wonder how many established brands will follow companies like Devinci and Trek and their recent headfirst plunge down the high pivot & idler (HP+I) rabbit hole for their DH, Enduro, and maybe even future trail bikes.

And then I'll say that at least locally, and apparently globally, no HP+I design has captured the imagination of riders like Forbidden's Druid. Rhys Verner rode version two of the 130mm travel bike to an Enduro World Cup win in June. Riders have been racing downhill with their friends on much bigger bikes, on versions one and two, since 2019.

I'm not here to review the Druids. For those interested, I've linked to NSMB pieces about V1 by Deniz and V2 by Tim Coleman in the photo captions just below. But it makes an ideal platform to discuss our obsession with drag, especially as I know a number of riders who've ridden both bikes and prefer V1.

DSC06264_druidforbidden_ch1.jpg

The Forbidden Druid V1. Check out the review by Deniz. Note the upper frame pulley and stock lower chain guide pulley. Photo: Deniz

Forbidden Druid V2 NSMB Liam Morgan

The Forbidden Druid V2. Check out the review by Tim. Note the lack of a stock lower chain guide pulley. Photo: Liam Morgan

With similar geometry, silhouettes, and downhill-biased climbing ability, one of the key visual differences between V2 and V1 is the way the upper chain pulley has been moved rearward. This increases chain contact with the narrow-wide chainring, allowing Forbidden to sell the second generation bike without a lower chain guide pulley, or jockey wheel.

Many owners of V1 Druids and the longer travel Forbidden Dreadnought rode without a lower chain guide assembly, relying instead on their narrow-wide chainrings for retention. I'll jump to an exchange from a beautifully photographed Dream Rides piece that Deniz put together about Mike Grimwood's Dreadnought:

Deniz: Tell me about the missing lower chain guide. Any issues?

Mike: When I had the Druid, the extra friction due to the lower chain guide was really noticeable. Or at least it was in the stand, so it was in my head... The customer service with Forbidden was excellent so I knew that I wanted their bigger offering (especially since I could mullet it), so I was hoping I could run it without the lower guide to reduce some of the drag. So far, I haven't had any issues and for the intentions of the Dreadnought, it's pretty fast uphill.

DSC05549_druidforbidden_ch1.jpg

On the Druid V1, note the more forward upper pulley position and how that affects the chain wrap. Photo: Deniz

Forbidden Druid V2 NSMB Liam Morgan (2)

Now on the Druid V2, note the more rearward upper pulley position and how that affects the chain wrap. Photo: Liam Morgan

The advantages of running a lower chain guide pulley on any bike are clear and especially vivid when it comes to an HP+I rig and the obvious reduction in chain wrap. With the lower jockey wheel's additional wrap, riders will experience an increase in the life of their chain and chainring, and by extension their cassette. Chain retention will also be improved with the addition of that lower pulley. Back to Rhys Verner for a moment to note he's one of the Enduro racers running a full DH chain guide setup.

The disadvantage is an increase in drag. Or at least the perception of an increase in drag that comes with the noise of the chain turning the pulley wheel, or running across a slider. Does it make any difference at all to climbing effort or speed? My skepticism comes from years of mounting BlackSpire Stinger 2x guides before clutch-equipped derailleurs hit the market. The addition or removal of a Stinger never had an iota of effect on any group's ride order.

But I haven't ridden a Druid back-to-back with and without a chain guide, so my comparison here is academic. Clearly, some brands are responding to riders' impressions that these lower jockey wheels generate pedaling resistance by designing their HP+I bikes to be run without them. My argument is that a lower chain guide pulley makes no noticeable difference to climbing speed or energy exertion.

DSC01209-denizmerdano trek slash high pivot

It's early days for Trek's new Slash HP+I. For a more detailed look check out Cooper's first impressions. Photo: Deniz

DSC01221-denizmerdano trek slash high pivot

My focus is on the massive MRP lower pulley specifically for HP+I bikes. MRP has spent years creating lower-friction chain guides. Photo: Deniz

Act 2: #1FG Guides

Pedaling uphill, a chain guide with a lower pulley is louder than one without. I don't find it to be an unpleasant noise. Like the buzz of a rear hub, I actually enjoy it, but I'm acknowledging that it's there. Extra drag though? From a pulley that's not in the driveline between the cassette and chain ring?

I have a lot of recent hours pedaling a bike with a chain guide installed. Actually two different ones, both designed to be as drag-free as possible while also handling bash guard duties. Both have been installed on a bike where any amount of extra drag is very noticeable. With brake rotors running true and a Project 321 rear hub with magnetic pawls, it's got less drag than anything I've ridden.

I'll have reviews of the chain guides themselves coming after a hard fall and winter season of climbing and descending janky trails. For now, both the Deviate Chain Guide and the 2-bolt MRP G5 have been admirably performing two tasks:

  1. Allowing for this conversation about chain guide drag in an increasingly HP+I world.
  2. Allowing for the simple and secure single-speeding of hardtail frames without sliding dropouts.
Deviate Chain Guide nSMB Andrew Major

Deviate Cycles Chain Guide. Adjustable for 30-36t (round) chainrings.

MRP G5 2 Bolt Chain Guide NSMB Andrew Major

MRP Mini G5 2-Bolt. Adjustable for 32-36t (round) or 30-34t (oval) chainrings.

In the drag category, I think this Banshee Enigma is the perfect platform to discuss the effect that a lower chain guide pulley has on the trail: none. There are no rear derailleur pulleys competing to pull the chain in different directions. There's no tug-of-war between a derailleur clutch and chain growth from rear suspension. There's no question of kinematics tuned to compromise climbing prowess for maximum DH bump-eating performance. And, as to a discussion of HP+I bikes, there's no jockey wheel in the driveline between the chain and cassette.

There's also no noticeable difference in drag running the bike with or without the chain guides. That's measured in the number of times the cranks will spin when I kick them backwards, and in the effort it takes to climb. I'm not saying there's absolutely zero loss associated with spinning the chain guide pulley but on the trail - not in a lab - there's zero loss that matters.

One thing I hadn't considered, having run oval rings for years, is that the proximity of the lower chain guide jockey wheel to the chainring does make the oval ring more obvious. It's not something I feel on the trail, but in my bike stand, spinning my cranks by hand, a round narrow-wide ring feels somewhat smoother than the oval.

Banshee Enigma Single Speed MRP G5 NSMB Andrew Major

The oval ring has more obvious tighter & looser spots compared to a round one but there are zero issues with chain noise or retention.

On the latter point, I'll admit here that this wasn't my idea. Originally I single-speeded the Enigma using a magic gear setup and then to deal with chain stretch I switched over to a Trickstuff Exzentriker bottom bracket, which was awful for off-road use. So many bearing replacements.

My own single-speeds, and review bikes that I've converted to single speeds like the Carbon Chameleon, have had sliding or swinging dropouts but Banshee did not include sliders because they feel the ride quality of the frame would be impacted. It was Keith at Banshee who suggested using a DH chain guide as a simple, durable, and effective way to tension the chain. So, I tried it with an open mind and I'm loving the experience.

Nukeproof Scout NSMB Andrew Major (5)

ISCG chain guide tabs, like those on this Nukeproof Scout, or an external bottom bracket and an ISCG adapter, are the gateway to a chain guide single-speed conversion.

While my most puritanical single-speed friends will currently have at least one eyebrow raised judgmentally, at this point in the experience I'm a convert. It's quick and simple to adjust the tension on my chain using just two 4mm hex key bolts and a chain guide, which includes a bash guard. It's light as well, adding about 150 grams including all the hardware. Longer term reliability is the only question to be answered.

For a hardtail with ISCG tabs, a chain guide, single-speed cog, spacer kit, and chain are all that's needed to jump back and forth between very different multi- and single-speed combinations. I'll demonstrate the conversion with the Nukeproof Scout that I'm reviewing.

In relative terms, removing a rear derailleur and installing a chain guide instead will result in less drag. I plan to run a chain guide on the Nukeproof for both multi- and single-speed, even with the narrow-wide ring, so I can follow up more fully on the perception and reality of how drag affects my experience.

EVOC Trail Pro 16 Banshee Enigma Kali Invader NSMB Andrew Major by MEG (2)

If you noticed the chain guide in photos from my EVOC Trail Pro 16 review you weren't alone. Photo: Hardtail.Meg

Pipeline Andrew Major NSMB by Meg (3)

In these photos, I'm running the Deviate Chain Guide. But I've been swapping back and forth on this bike and others. Photo: Hardtail.Meg

So what if a chain guide does bring a tiny bit more drag into your life? Think of all the fabulous and unique additional experiences you can access by easily converting any ISCG-equipped hardtail to a kick-ass single-speed!

And for riders shredding on long-travel full suspension bikes, whether high pivot and idler configurations or otherwise, it's relatively inexpensive to ignore other folks' hard set opinions and try a modern chain guide for yourself. MRP and Deviate are both delivering low-friction options that are very simple to install. As with sag, shifting, brakes, and bike fit, our mountain bikes are ridden in the forest, not in the work stand.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major

Height - Steve Buscemi-ish

Wait - Patiently

Ape Index - T-Rex

Age - The same as DOS

Favourite Trail(s) every week - Pipeline (thank you Ken!) to Lower Crippler (thank you Andy!)

Favourite Song(s) this week - I'm Your Man. Nick Cave (covering Leonard Cohen)

Favourite Colour - Cosmic Lilac

Bar Width - It depends

Reach & Stack & ETT - It depends

Crank Length - 175mm except when it's 170mm

Wheel Size - Hot For Mullets

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Comments

craw
+18 Karl Fitzpatrick lewis collins gubbinalia Blofeld bushtrucker fartymarty Andrew Major PowellRiviera Pete Roggeman Kapolczer Morgan Heater Ryan Skooks dhr999 93EXCivic Sidney Durant Vincent Edwards Tremeer023

Came to feel validated about my concerns about drivetrain drag, stayed to be converted to singlespeed. 

Beautifully done.

Reply

gubbinalia
+3 Andrew Major Lu Kz Karl Fitzpatrick

Couldn't have said it better. Sometimes SS feels like the only logical end-point of all the drivetrain setup arcana that modern full-suspension designs have created –  idler drag,  fiddling with chain sizing at sag, increasingly nonsense chain lines, etc....

When I was riding a v1 Druid two summers ago I really liked the pairing of SS hardtail and HP&I trail bike, partly because they balanced out in maintenance and tuning demands, partly because they encouraged such wildly different riding styles. 

Speaking of, Alex, didn't you get a Dreadnought this year? Is that bike still around?

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AndrewMajor
+2 Cr4w Karl Fitzpatrick

There’s an escape in #1FG riding that I admit I was concerned I’d lose by swapping sliding dropouts for a jockey wheel. Or at least that I was eroding with adding moving parts. That’s proved unfounded and this setup is actually faster and easier to adjust.

There’s a juxtaposition between the rigid Enigma and full suspension Arrival that I love. 

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craw
+4 Andrew Major dhr999 handsomedan rolly

I had one and moved on. When the bike was clean and new I found the drag to be a non-issue but minor wear and a dirty drivetrain definitely changed that, and that was with fresh parts and frame. I would speculate that the Dread will need a lot of attention as it ages to keep running well - nothing some diligent maintenance wouldn't address.

The high AS and highly variable rear center were a trip, but I really came to love the bike but the dealbreaker was fit. It was just too small despite the huge WB.

If they make a Dreadnought V2 based on the new Druid suspension design in XXL I would consider buying back in but that seems incredibly unlikely.

edit: all those pulleys and the varying rear center definitely had an effect of shifting. I never tried the bike without the lower guide (I was advised against). I run the Megatower with no guides (just a narrow wide ring and a clutch derailleur) and it's blessedly quiet and I've never thrown a chain; I don't feel like I'm missing anything.

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AndrewMajor
0

I assume more companies will start offering size 0 (tall kids / short adults) and size XXL/XXXL full suspension bikes as ways to differentiate themselves as mountain bikes have matured and there's so much competition for customer dollars...

...is something I've been saying for (too) many years.

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craw
+1 Andrew Major

Well it's 2023 and Santa Cruz only really started offering good properly proportioned XXL bikes last year. You still can't get a Specialized Enduro in XXL/S6. It's incredible really: one of the biggest bike companies in the world is like "XXL? Nah why bother". And yes there are bigger companies and they like these bigger sizes even less.

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cooperquinn
+12 Andrew Major dhr999 Velocipedestrian Cr4w Adrian Bostock hotlapz Moritz Haager Niels van Kampenhout IslandLife Pete Roggeman UMichael trioofchaos OldManBike ShawMac Bikeryder85 Vorstellung

I was really hoping this was going to be an article taking the piss out of modern conservatism, its obsession with drag storytime and other sartorial concerns like John Fetterman's hoodie that have zero impact on the people who seem to be so worried about it masquerading as an article about idler pulleys. It wasn't, but as I type this, I have my Slash long term review intro now, so I'm less sad.

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AndrewMajor
0 Velocipedestrian Vorstellung

Not even a couple of allied sentences irreverently inserted into six minutes of typical Drew-Bob single-speed scheming. Sorry to disappoint, bicycle references only.

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Vorstellung
0

What could have less impact than societal norms and the standards of public figures? Drag from a lower guide (and if it IS happening, it's good).

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Cydwhit
+4 Andrew Major Cooper Quinn Velocipedestrian Pete Roggeman

I also came to read about brunches banned in several states, and left with a singlespeed education. Guess I'll have to wait for the Slash review.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Cooper Quinn

Now I want a do-over! 

Thanks for reading anyway.

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Ride.DMC
+8 Velocipedestrian Lu Kz Cam McRae BarryW Kristian Øvrum FlipSide ohio Tremeer023

If you're running high pivot I feel bad for you son. 

you've got 99 problems but a lower guide ain't one.

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AndrewMajor
+5 Ride.DMC Velocipedestrian Lu Kz BarryW ohio

Do you even bother your own father ‘cause he’s down with H.P?

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Ride.DMC
+5 Andrew Major Velocipedestrian Lu Kz BarryW ohio

It's tricky to ride in slime, or slide in rhymes, that are right on time. It's tricky.

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AndrewMajor
+5 Velocipedestrian Lu Kz BarryW Ride.DMC ohio

When I type up, people pipe up, at least some of the time. 

I'm not mindin', just keep grindin', 'cause I make a few dimes. 

I'm not braggin', people baggin'. 'cause I take things too far. 

Always tearin', what I'm wearin', which way to the bar?

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Ride.DMC
+2 Mark ohio

Hahaha.  I bet we could go on and on like this.  But for this round I'm going to pay homage to Canada's greatest MC (sorry Drake fans)...

Let your back tire slide.

Let it slip, hope the rubber grips

While the lyrics leave my lips.

Ladies and Gentleman, riders of all ages.

It's not enduro, I'm not racing stages.

Just riding trails from place to place

every jump I hit I mostly case.

Can't make the transition. I'm on a mission.

Elbows out, attack position.

PNW, it ain't the tropics. See a root, gonna bunny hop it.

Yo, are you ready for the drop?

Then drop it.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Mark

"But for this round I'm going to pay homage to Canada's greatest MC"

Huh, what Classified song is that?

Ride.DMC
+1 Andrew Major

I'll have to look into Classified!

Sean_D
0

(stands up and starts a slow clap...)

YES!

syncro
+7 Lu Kz Mammal Pete Roggeman Alex Leich Konrad Karl Fitzpatrick Andy Eunson

Run chunkier tires for better grip. Run stickier tires for better grip. Run inserts so you can run lower pressures for better grip. Why? So you can ride faster. In the search for better traction, the idea that a little bit of resistance from an idler pulley or some sort of chain retention device is going to produce enough drag to have a noticeable effect while pedaling seems a bit amusing when we're talking about bikes that are focused on going down trails that are not sidewalks. Under the right conditions, sure I'd agree that there might be enough drag that it could make a measurable or even noticeable difference, but the bikes being discussed and the trails being ridden are not those conditions. 

If it someone really wanted to they could do a lab based A/B comparison of several different bikes to measure just how much extra torque is required for one complete revolution of the rear wheel so people know exactly how much of a difference exists. 

Any bets on whether that difference would actually matter for these class of bikes and the riding they're meant for?

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cooperquinn
-1 Kristian Øvrum

I don't think anyone is seriously discussing or concerned about drivetrain losses when descending.

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syncro
0

Neither am I. 

The point is whether it makes sense to be concerned about minor or even miniscule drivetrain losses on bikes that are intended for aggressive riding. When we look at the intent of these bikes and how they are run it has to be accepted that they are not going to be highly efficient on the way up. Yes the bikes have to get up the hill, but we all know there is a gradient of pedaling ease and descending capability, and as one goes up the other goes down. We are always fighting a compromise between different benefits. So far the it seems the only way to circumvent that is to ride an ebike, but that comes with a different cost that many people around here don't seem interested in paying.

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Jotegir
+2 Andrew Major Skooks

The only time I've dropped a chain on my "sans-lower-guide linkage driven high single pivot bike" was on a blue machine built flow trail without any jumps connecting a delictible sampling of tech double blacks. How it happened? Your guess is as good as mine - but it hasn't dropped when it mattered, although I've not owned that bike for very long. And I'm very happy with the climbing performance. 

On the other hand, the only time I've dropped a chain on my "with-lower-guide linkage driven high single pivot bike" is never. From fall 2018 to present. Almost entirely in one of the worst places for a bike to be (Sun Peaks Bike Park). For what it's worth, I would describe this bike's climbing performance as "meets expectations" (It's an Aurum HSP, so the expectation is close to zero).

So I think I'll be getting a lower guide to try on the new ride, at least.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Cr4w Blofeld Kristian Øvrum

Just remember, a bit of noise does not mean drag and I’m sure you’ll be happy with a lower guide.

My original notes included a bit about how Forbidden should have made potential customers do a fitness test so they wouldn’t have had over-carbed dad-bod types (like me) blaming their poor uphill performance on a jockey wheel that’s not in the driveline. But, I left it out.

Reply

rwalters
+12 Andy Eunson Blofeld Jerry Willows NealWood shenzhe Konrad dhr999 BarryW Kristian Øvrum taprider DancingWithMyself Mike Ferrentino

Actually, "noise" (sound) is caused by friction, so the correct statement is "noise means drag 100% of the time".

Whether or not that friction makes a difference to the rider's experience is another story ;)

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AndrewMajor
+3 Mammal IslandLife Ryan Walters

Thanks, professor.

.

I guess I'll correct my statement to 'if the heat and drag created by the friction, as evidenced by noise, of turning the jockey wheel on one of these modern chain guides is an issue, the issue probably isn't the chain guide.'

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mammal
+5 Andrew Major shenzhe Lu Kz roil Cr4w

Just rolls off the tongue, don't it?

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AndrewMajor
+2 UMichael Karl Fitzpatrick

Hahaha. Imagine if all media was held to the standard of accuracy that NSMB readers expect!

cam@nsmb.com
0

So that applies to Buttercups as well? Less noise = less friction?

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kram12345
0

This comment has been removed.

kram12345
0

speaking of heavy draggy bikes that are all about the down, you ever miss having a triple crown on your bike ( I remember your article from a few years ago)?

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rwalters
0

Yup, I do - about once every 8 months or so when my CSU starts creaking again.

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craw
0

That's actually a great idea. A VO2 max test would be humbling to say the least. Then your VO2 max result, geographical location and strava scores on a sampling of local up and down trails would be mandatorily posted on your profile so everyone knows what kind of person they're dealing with online.

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AndrewMajor
0

Hahaha. Can you imagine? I guess I can laugh now but when I’m not allowed to review a bike because I’m too magically mediocre that’s going to be a blow. 

Still, exclusivity sells.

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Jotegir
+3 Andrew Major DancingWithMyself Hardlylikely

See, that's why you have to mess with data. If you have really good strava times, have your bike park only buddy put his vo2 max data in. If you have mediocre times, have your super fit friend do it. 

We definitely never hooked up an ebike to zwift at the shop to mess with people on a slow winter day, no sir...

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Lu Kz

I’ve heard of seeding the popular bike lanes near a shop with tiny screws to generate tire sales* but “bring your bike in for service or we’re going to use an e-bike to F- with your KOMs” is next level. 

*Kidding! Kidding!

Jotegir
+20 Mark Andrew Major Perry Schebel Jerry Willows Suns_PSD Velocipedestrian Skooks roil trumpstinyhands Pete Roggeman Konrad Karl Fitzpatrick Andy Eunson R.bobbby mikesee Dustin Meyer rolly DancingWithMyself Hardlylikely ohio

@Andrew Major

We did use a demo e-bike to take a friend's climb KOM. For it to be funny, you have to understand the guy is a total Strava nut, and if he loses a crown, he plans his week around getting a day where he will be in peak shape to take it back. We de-tuned a Rocky to get the numbers closer to realistic, drove the gravel road a few times to get the pace right, and then took it. Best of all, we waited until about 10:45 PM to publish the ride so he would get a push notification that he lost is KOM right before going to bed.

We aren't evil.

syncro
+1 Lu Kz

@Lu Kz - that is epic. Was the friend's name Wayne by any chance ;)

AndrewMajor
+1 Velocipedestrian

@Lu Kz,

That's necessary work - not evil at all.

skooks
0

That's an awesome story. I think what you guys did was totally appropriate! 

How long did it take for buddy to figure it out?

Jotegir
+3 Andrew Major rolly Hardlylikely

@Skooks I'm pretty sure he figured it out in a day or two because all the co-conspirators were conniving man-children who couldn't keep a straight face.

shoreboy
0

This comment has been removed.

Blofeld
+2 Andrew Major shenzhe

This is a very slippery slope, Mr. Major. If we are best to stop being concerned about lower guide drag, we will also have to be stop being concerned about minor drag losses elsewhere:

  • Chainline
  • Lube choice
  • Aftermarket bearings
  • Pawl vs ratchet hubs
  • Chainring/cog/pulley sizes
  • Brake rotor trueness
  • Cards in our spokes

The main concern obviously being that we will run out of things to discuss (without measuring) on the internet.

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AndrewMajor
+2 PowellRiviera Blofeld

Ugh, fair warning. So I basically have to decide between caring about minuscule amounts of drag in my chain tensioner OR my pieces will evolve to just be photos of caliper measurements and scale shots? 

Maybe I’ll write my own counterpoint next time I have a bike with sliders. These coming-to/running-from Jesus moments always make for good conversations.

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Blofeld
+1 Andrew Major

Well, it sounds silly when you put it that way! At least you wrote “caliper” in your reply. That’ll get me through these tough times…

I admit I spent quite some time consuming articles regarding drivetrain friction. I would post links but the good ones seem to have been redacted, possibly following a lube company acquiring testers/test equipment. I can certainly appreciate the difficulty in conducting a fair test where the measurement of interest needs to be taken on the order of 0.1% full scale output. Unfortunately, the difficulty detracts from the readability and the science doesn’t really hold up anyway, so then we’re back at measuring nothing ourselves but weight.

In terms of regular, everyday nerdiness, I guess keeping the scale of the “offending” unit in perspective is the most important thing.

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NotMeAtAll
+2 Karl Fitzpatrick Blofeld Hardlylikely Kristian Øvrum

I would digress from chainline:

From a GCN tech test they did cross chaining 2x12, you get almost no penalty in drag when in big/big, but horrendous drag when in small/small.

They did not care to explain why, but the reason in simple: the innel plates of the chain are rubbing against the cassete as it goes from the last cog to the inner chainring.

Lube: smoove is third best, Silca is second best, full wax is best. If you don't care about taking out the chain, cleaning, dipping in molten wax, removing from there, and all that thing, stick to smoove and silca that they do magnificent job of keeping dirt out. There are people running the same chain over 15k km with those.

good bearings have diminishing returns: I take the standard skf and run it. Anything with good marketing gets a pass from me. Pulley sizes: the lighter, the better.

Take it with a grain of salt, I'm still on a 26'r.

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shutter2ride
+2 Andrew Major Hbar

v1 Druid owner here; a month ago I switched to the new MRP MXg SL Chainguide. It's a nice piece of kit, compared to the stock rubber roller doohickey. The size of the pulley is impressive. Less drag in the stand for sure. Quieter. On the trail, can't say I notice a difference in drag, maybe a smidge better, mostly in my head probably. But overall a nice upgrade. Was going to try guide-less but since I run a 28t chainring (CO Rocky Mountains yo) I need all the chain wrap.

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AndrewMajor
0

In the stand and on the trail are so often different experiences. You're not the first person who's said the MXg is notably smoother/quieter, at least in the stand. I would have been into testing the bit pulley wheel but my chainstay is in the way.

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Jotegir
+1 Andrew Major

MXg works fine on a 28t in your experience? It's outside their recommended range but I'd be happy to hear about what's been going on with yours.

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AndrewMajor
0

This is the second positive report I’ve heard re. MXg & 28t.

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shutter2ride
+3 Andrew Major Lu Kz Hbar

Zero issues with the MXg with a 28t chainring so far, I've done a number of big rides with it and everything feels great up or down. Had to adjust b-tension on my XO1 derailleur as the new set up is 'higher' up, creating more pull on the derailleur but shifting seems to have improved with the change...

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hotlapz
0

it's also $300 lmao

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AndrewMajor
0

It's 150 USD / 208 CAD for the MXg. Which I don't think is unreasonable for a fairly small batch, unique, and limited usage product. 

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AndrewMajor
0

The G5 2-Bolt I'm using as a single-speed tensioner is 120 USD / 166 CAD which isn't nothing, but is still a relatively inexpensive way for someone with an existing ISCG-equipped hardtail to try single-speeding on a bike they know works for them.

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syncro
+1 Velocipedestrian

The only thing missing is an orange pulley.

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AndrewMajor
0

It is funny how all us old people still associate MRP with orange rollers. I wonder when their last guide with orange rollers shipped? The early noughts maybe? They'll have to do a limited 'orange' edition guide with polished silver metal bits and orange plastic bits. 

I will reiterate, as with many cycling products, one takeaway from this process of using a chain guide as a single-speed tensioner was that my past experiences using chain guides to 1x and quiet mountain bikes (before narrow-wide rings and clutch derailleurs) and the opinions derived from them only had limited carry forward. As with many products, chain guides have evolved significantly.

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andy-eunson
+2 Mark Andrew Major

So many things about bike performance and perception of performance parameters are in our heads. Sometimes we put them there because we spent too much money on something or we’re looking for an excuse or confirmation. Other times our riding partners or marketers put that that in our heads. The rider with a bolt upright position and full sticky tires on a super enduro 38 pound bike talking climbing efficiency. Really? You’re worried about an extra pulley bearing and chain wrap when you’re walking some beast uphill? 

An old friend who works at Norco told me about stems they had made in the 90s. Their wholesale was about $5 so it retailed for $10. Didn’t sell that well. Next year the stem was changed slightly but they increased the wholesale to $25, retailed at $50 and they sold a ton of them. Perception was that a $10 stem was a POS whereas a $50 stem, even though it was pretty much the same, was good. 

High pivot bikes are sold because of their downhill performance. No one really seeks out a high pivot bike to set KOMs on climbs. I mean, move those extra pulleys with your fingers. Can you really feel much drag? Can you really feel the difference with your hands turning pedals? Or riding a bike with 2 kg of tire, insert and sealant? Full max grip? We’re talking minutiae. 

That MRP guide looks killer. A brilliant way to tension a single speed.

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AndrewMajor
+2 Andy Eunson shenzhe

That MRP guide looks killer. A brilliant way to tension a single speed.

Long term testing in progress. But even not accounting for the dual-purpose (most the weight would be accounted for in a bash taco anyway) the system is lighter weight than swinging dropouts and easier to adjust. I also like to run my chain quite loose and even with the oval the system accommodates that. It’s opened up my mind to a lot of interesting single-speed frame options.

———

I mean, move those extra pulleys with your fingers. Can you really feel much drag? Can you really feel the difference with your hands turning pedals? Or riding a bike with 2 kg of tire, insert and sealant? Full max grip? We’re talking minutiae.

Exactly.

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roil
+2 Andrew Major Andy Eunson

When I hear people talk about drag, I want to know what kind of tires they're running. 

I recently got a catastrophic puncture on my rear tire (Specialized Eliminator T7) and my buddy gave me a new tire he had lying around (Specialized Butcher T9). T9 are grippier than T7 tires. Holly sh!t, the increase in rolling resistance with the T9 compound was insane. I seriously thought my brakes were dragging just riding on flatland.

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AndrewMajor
+1 roil

For certain. I've run many, many different tires on the back of my single-speed trying to balance speed, efficiency, traction, and wear. The choice makes a huge difference. The rear certainly has more effect than the front. 

These days I'm all in on the semi-slick rear (Specialized Laughter / Schwalbe Rock Razor) with something very grippy up front. If I can't ride it on my rigid bike with the semi in the rear I probably brought the wrong machine (HAHAHA).

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roil
+1 Andrew Major

I had a hard time finding the Specialized Laughter! 

The Slaughter has some seriously fast looking center tread. Considering how much time I spend winching up hard-packed trails in SoCal, this might be the smart choice to get me to the top. Everything is a tradeoff, and I'm not setting any KOM's on the downhill. 

Thanks for the rec!

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AndrewMajor
+10 mnihiser roil handsomedan dhr999 Karl Fitzpatrick Velocipedestrian olaa taprider bighonzo Tremeer023

Not my best Sharpie job... but if Specialized isn't going to properly name them I'm happy to help. The 'Laughter' is a way, way, WAY better way of describing the experience of riding this tire down steep and greasy terrain.

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xy9ine
+8 roil Andrew Major handsomedan dhr999 Velocipedestrian taprider bighonzo Tremeer023

this kinder / gentler iteration is SO much better. nice work.

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AndrewMajor
+5 handsomedan dhr999 Velocipedestrian taprider Tremeer023

I bet Specialized would have sold 10,000x more of these tires if they’d named them the Laughter :)

xy9ine
+3 Andrew Major taprider Velocipedestrian

do you pair this with a "butch" front?

AndrewMajor
0

Ha!

I pair it with an equally violent sounding WTB Vigilante in 2.8”. I usually refer to that as a Vigi though I admit I haven’t taken the Sharpie to it.

I’m on the very, very last High Grip/Light Casing 2.8” Vigi anywhere, that’ll change when the freshie just installed is toast. 

Then I’m going to try a 2.6” Magic Mary on the i40. Just waiting on stock of Super Trail/Ultra Soft.

andy-eunson
+2 roil Andrew Major

So fast you get speed giggles.

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fartymarty
0

Andrew - I've been on  2.4MMs (ST on HT and SG on FS) up front for a couple of months now after running the now discontinued 2.3 Vigis and like them.  I think you'll get along with the 2.6.  The Super Trail is still quite a chunky tyre.  The Super Gravity is a beast at nearly 1400g in 2.4.

AndrewMajor
0

@Marty, I have quite a few hours on the MM as well but only in the 2.35 size. 

With no larger + sticky options my hope is that the 2.6” will have an okay shape on my i39 front wheel and that the combination of the still somewhat supple but supportive Super Trail casing + the CushCore Evolution insert and loooooooooow pressure with work on the rigid. 

2.8” Vigi is already a compromise from the 3” SE4 in the name of traction.

taprider
0

Schwalbe with their Tacky Chan seems to be thinking the same way with naming conventions

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fartymarty
+1 Andrew Major

Andrew - let you know how the 2.6 MM goes over on the MEAT thread.

Bikeryder85
+1 lewis collins

You know....i thought about that very bb for my Cotic....glad I read this..

What about the old dangle-bits of single speed yore? Do companies still make those? After all, you can use one of those without chain guide tabs. Mine is a Gamut I think, probably 20+ years old, works great!

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fartymarty
-1 Ripbro

I'm sure I have a DMR one in my parts box somewhere.

Edit - which doesn't fit a bike with a 12mm rear axle...

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AndrewMajor
0

The Rennen Rollenlager worked well, but like most the okay hanger-based tensioners it relied on the semi-universality of a 10mm QR rear wheel. 

I’m sure with UDH we’ll see some neat tensioner options in the future.

That said, I have a strong personal bias against rear mounted tensioners. Especially spring loaded ones. I’m stoked on being able to combine bashguard and tensioner.

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GiveitsomeWelly
0

For non sliding drop outs, I've always liked the Surly Singlelator. I'm pretty sure it's use is not reliant on the axle standard.

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AndrewMajor
0

Singleator, and other tensioners like it, just need a derailleur hanger. The Alfine one is good for the money as well.

I'm into everyone trying single-speed whatever way they can. But for off-road use, assuming someone has the means and their bike is compatible, I'd take this more bombproof chain guide setup every day.

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fartymarty
0

Just ordered a Singleator.

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MWVFU
+1 Andrew Major

So far I’ve been pretty impressed with the deviate guide on my highlander II, while it adds a tiny bit of noise pedaling everything is much quieter on the way back down. Worth it. 

On several deviates and my one time trying a spartan HP I’ve thought how nice it would be if a roller guide could have just a little flex/articulation for big rig spinning up hill.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Lu Kz

I’ve been really impressed with the Deviate Guide. It’s obviously louder than nothing in the stand and backpedaling (where it’s in the driveline) but climbing it doesn’t bother me.

Yess used to do a spring-mounted pulley wheel from the BB as a tensioner. It was quieter but also more complex and I didn’t think it did a relatigreat job retention wise.

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morgan-heater
+1 Lu Kz

Too bad Deviate doesn't make their Guide anymore. Super cool bike.

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AndrewMajor
0

When even the most gear-box curious self-powered riders I know have now totally moved on I think it's safe to say that selling Me-MTBs that look like e-MTBs is not a winning strategy. 

I agree though, super cool bike.

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morgan-heater
0

Between my kids and I, we have 4. I think Zerode and Nicolai are doing pretty well. Definitely still a niche though.

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jeff-white
+1 Hbar

Druid v1 owner here. I replaced the stock E13 guide with the MRP Mini G5, because it uses an actual pulley instead of the rubber roller found on the E13. Spins much smoother. It's definitely *less* draggy now and I really only notice it in the lowest gear. Interesting that you noted that those that have tried both the original Druid and the new prefer the old. I have yet to try the new rig, what are the core issues you're hearing about?

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AndrewMajor
+1 Cr4w

I purposely* didn’t talk about chainline but one place the #1FG setup really wins is that the guide pulley is in line with the ring and cog. 

*I was thinking of milking this piece for a hit or ‘Does The Future Have Fewer Gears? - HP+I Edition.’ There’s maybe six ratios where the chain line is pretty good. 

.

V1 vs. V2 it’s just a note to try before you make the switch. I know second hand of one person who switched back because he thought the V1 suspension worked better, and I know of two folks who preferred the V1 fit (the geo charts are so close, and it takes me forever to dial in fit on a new bike, so like everything I take that with salt).

Of course there’s folks with new ones that like them better - it’s a big investment to flip bikes right now so there’s a bias there certainly - which doesn’t make their preference invalid it’s just a noteworthy fact. Every brand is managing this now with the mega-marketing of minimal potential performance gains with how mature mountain bikes are becoming. 

All things being equal, think V1 is an unquestionably better looking bike - but what do I know?

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kamloops_rider
0

I had a V1 and now have a V2 - to me the new geo/fit is better but I feel like the V1 suspension just floated better through the rough stuff both on the way up and down.  The V2 does feel better under braking though - the rear doesn’t stiffen up.

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AndrewMajor
0

The V2 does feel better under braking though - the rear doesn’t stiffen up.

This is important to point out. I think quite often folks this-or-that bike preferences (in the same category, etc.), when it comes down to descending can be boiled down to how the suspension performs under braking Vs. how they expect it to perform under braking.

I have heard riders complain about Druid V1 suspension under braking so I would expect those riders to prefer V2.

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Jotegir
0

"I have heard riders complain about Druid V1 suspension under braking so I would expect those riders to prefer V2"

You either love the single pivot squat/high anti-rise life or you hate it.

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AndrewMajor
+2 Cr4w Lu Kz

Ha, or if you're anything like most of the folks I know you love it, then hate it, then love it, then hate it, then love it, then hate it. Then, after you sell it, you definitely mostly loved it but maybe not enough to buy another one. But sure, folks that truly love them, love them. 

#1FG and HP+I have a lot in common.

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craw
0

I was originally going to switch off my Dread to a Nicolai Nucleon because it promises some of the same suspension benefits as the Dread but with much less extreme effects on AR, braking and varying rear center and the Supre Drive solves a lot of the drivetrain complications (derailleur abuse due to the varying RC which only grows half as much as the Dread, consistent chain tension in every gear, a much bigger upper pulley). I went and did a parking lot test and I thought the Supre Drive was excellent. I would LOVE to see a Dread V2 with Supre Drive.

So far I'm glad I didn't get one because the initial reviews suggest it's not the style of bike I wanted despite the suspension and drivetrain. PB has a Supre Nucleon in their upcoming Enduro bike test so we'll see what they think.

kamloops_rider
+2 Andrew Major Lu Kz

My background has been alot of Specialized bikes and very steep/chunky trails where heavy braking is needed and I do prefer the feel of the suspension remaining fairly active.  The V1 doesn’t have that but it’s not a night and day difference, the V2 will be more ‘active’ under braking so I do prefer that (while still squatting down more than the horst link - in my experience).

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Jotegir
0

Funny that, I'm also in Kamloops and assuming you're talking about the small handful of steep, chunky trails where heavy braking is required around us (some official but mostly unofficial in the area), my preference is for bikes with lots of anti-rise that maintain geometry or go even slacker when braking. Different strokes!

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kamloops_rider
+1 Andrew Major

Personal preference for sure!  By background I mean getting into the freeride scene back in the 90’s on the North Shore and then in the Kootenays (Nelson/Rossland).  Our area isn’t known for steep chunk and I do like the anti-rise traits for geo - I do feel like the V2 Druid does a good job of providing both though.

Hbar
0

Good to know. Are you saying it felt the most improved in the lowest gear, or least improved? With the rubber roller, I found I was wearing out the inside part of the roller since I spent so much time in my lower gears (28T chainring, but countered by mountains/fatness/weakness), and as it wore certainly it didn't improve the drag. I changed the washers to shift it inboard slightly, which has changed the wear pattern. 

If the the Mini G5 or the newer large pulley MXg work well in the lowest gears, I might check them out.

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jeff-white
+1 Hbar

Of all the gears, there is the most drag in the biggest cog, and that is the same with the G5 as with the rubber roller, but it's quieter all around.

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MTBrent
+1 Velocipedestrian

Andrew... On the drag/efficiency topic, over your SS years, have you tried similar ratios with different size rings/cogs?

I put on my min-max hat recently using existing spare parts to replace worn parts, and went from 30/18 to 36/22. I would wager my worn out chainring that the bigger ring/cog combo was a lot more efficient than the smaller combo (when both are fresh), and that the difference is even more apparent as things wear in/out. I'm now fully in the "largest chainring possible" SS camp, ground clearance be damned.

And on a general note, confidence in your equipment will always yield a better ride, regardless of how that confidence is conceived. If that means removing that lower guide to reduce drag, then do it! If that also means reinstalling said guide because you then taco'd a chainring and/or dropped a chain, then enjoy that plate of crow and go ride worry-free!... with some added drag :)

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AndrewMajor
0

I know that at some point smaller cogs are less efficient. Would I notice the difference between a fresh 30/18 versus a fresh 36/22 in terms of efficiency? That I'm not certain about but I've only ridden smaller cogs on the road in years and years. I've been on 22t cogs with 28/30/32 front rings (wheel size, tire, and fitness dependent, for years now). 

I'd believe that the larger units last longer (same materials/quality), certainly. But my combo of a Wolf Tooth stainless ring, XX1 chain, and Endless Kick-Ass-Cog is pretty bomber.

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grimwood
+1 Andrew Major

This made me laugh this morning as we were discussing this exact thing on a ride yesterday! I think you're right in that perception and actual increased friction may be two different things but.... Most of the Forbidden owners I know/knew, were looking at ways of reducing that friction. And it seemed to make a BIG difference how high you set that lower pulley. Crank it clockwise as far as it will go, definitely noticeable. Move it down to where it's just touching the chain (like in your photos), far less drag. The tradeoff is also head downhill, no guide and the rear derailleur is getting worked and affects suspension performance, cranked clockwise and it's so quiet. My 2 cents.

Would I go back to a HP+I? Yes, just waiting on Cooper's review...

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cooperquinn
+1 Andrew Major

Its gonna be a few more weeks.  Sorry!

But sneak peak - I'm getting along very well with that bike now, it likes (needs?) to go fast to work well, we'll see how it handles a bit of Sloppy Season before making any final verdicts. 

...it's certainly heavy enough to be a bike you'd like. 😉

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AndrewMajor
+1 Lu Kz

“...it's certainly heavy enough to be a bike you'd like

Hahahaha. So much shade I need a headlamp.

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grimwood
+1 Andrew Major

Ha!! Indeed, I do like my heavy bikes. My carbon Sentinel is darn near 38 pounds right now, which feels just about right. I'm sure I could get that Slash over 40!

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AndrewMajor
0

Hahaha,

I firmly believe that a couple of pounds, like a tiny bit of potential chain guide drag, doesn’t matter on these sorts of rigs :)

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IslandLife
+3 Lu Kz dhr999 Jerry Willows

Don't want to push for any spoilers... or maybe this is just to make you aware (if you haven't seen this already).  Would love to hear comment in the review regarding Lewis Buchanan's serious issues with keeping the chain on that bike vs how you've been faring?

It's been so bad for him, can't fix it, Trek hasn't been able to help, so he's getting rid of it.  Documents his struggles pretty well in his last couple of videos.  Video titles are pure clickbait, but the content seems pretty balanced and fair, if tinged with frustration... also understandable when you watch the videos.  https://www.youtube.com/@LewisBuchanan/videos

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Jotegir
+2 Andrew Major IslandLife

I think he remains fair (including  the frustration) when you consider he's ponying up his own coin for the bike.

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AndrewMajor
+4 Lu Kz Cr4w Hardlylikely Suns_PSD

Insert all the caveats about how I've not seen Lewis' bike personally, etc. and I generally refer to myself as a 'senior grom' as opposed to a bike mechanic - my weekly hours of toil behind a bench being insufficient - but if a customer contacted me about this same issue I'd say it's down to a micro-adjustment of their T-Type rear derailleur as I've experienced it myself, seen it on a customer's bike, and I know other techs who've had the same issue. 

Essentially the Transmission derailleurs are intolerant of minor intolerances. They're massively stiff and beefy and perfectly straight with zero flex-to-fit factor so if they're not adjusted perfectly and you back pedal sh*t can happen. I lost my chain in a gear I rarely use ratcheting hard to set up for a section on the Arrival - just without an idler pulley and chain guide. It turns out, in the stand, that it shifted into that gear just fine but then if I backpedaled the chain wasn't staying perfectly on the cog. 

This was a super-micro adjustment using the shifter and now when I set up T-Type I check the backpedaling in all twelve cogs. I mean, it makes sense that precision begets precision.

------

So yeah, TL;DR, in the shop I'd first address this problem as an issue with the rear derailleur setup, not a Trek-specific or HP+I related problem.

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Vikb
+2 dhr999 Cr4w

Example of what's happening here --> https://youtu.be/x-yDnFBqPMU?t=326

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craw
0

Where he says that he thinks the bike is unsustainable (11:25). I really felt that. My HPI bike worked great when everything was fresh but it didn't feel like it would stay that way for long and the worse it gets the harder it will be to resell a bike with a reputation for being difficult to maintain.

xy9ine
0

interesting. there's slack on the chain between the chainring & idler, so the chain just falls off on impact. sticky idler, perhaps? or excess friction somewhere else in the system that doesn't allow backpedal without losing chain tension (pulleys, freehub, etc).

LoamtoHome
0

in the Trek forum on PB, lots of others are having the same issue while others are not.  You would think something would have came up in testing.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Lu Kz

It’s likely nothing would have come up in testing if it’s a T-Type setup issue as I mentioned above. Very different building bikes one at a time rather than en masse. 

Are there any examples of the issue happening with Shimano drivetrains?

AndrewMajor
0

Chain guide position makes a big difference - had to save something for the reviews down the road.

Single-speed straight chainline matters too since the hockey wheel stays aligned to the chainring. 

In the stand versus on the trail has been coming up a lot lately.

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craw
+1 Hbar

My take-away from months spent on a Dreadnought was that massive variance in rear center length of that bike was the main issue. For sure that extending rear end was great when descending but it introduced a ton of challenges and compromises for the drivetrain. I'd love the same bike with half as much change in the RC length (while preserving its rearward arc) and moving the main pivot further backwards so the chain got enough wrap on the chainring to not need the lower guide (or could get away with a more minimal guide like the Cascade) - which I guess is what the new Druid is trying to do.

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AndrewMajor
0

I think a bunch of companies (see Deviate as well) are looking at ways to position their pivot behind the chainring to eek out just a bit more chain wrap and do away with the lower guide but I also think this is engineering to a customer misconception which is drilling down to my point above. 

Running a lower chain guide is generating real gains in chain security and, presumably, drivetrain life (pedaling loads more evenly spread) at the cost of drag that is only noticeable in the stand and in your mind. Especially on a rig with sticky tires etc. 

Not saying it’s happening (I’m not a bike designer) but the very idea that suspension performance could be getting compromised around not running one of these very efficient lower guides gives me the shakes.

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Jotegir
0

Interesting feedback. I wonder then if the bike would have been served better by leaning further into the dh realm? Did it descend well enough that you could see someone use it as their "big bike/enduro racey" bike and have a smaller counterpart paired with it to keep it a bit more fresh for smash day duty? I get not wanting to push a bike into that realm (because lots of people want to ride their 140-160 bike everywhere) but do you think that would make sense to the right rider, or is it just not the right platform for that?

I went with the claymore because I thought the dreadnought was too extreme out back for me in the bigger sizes. That's some good confirmation.

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AndrewMajor
+1 dhr999

no guide and the rear derailleur is getting worked and affects suspension performance

I’ve heard consistent rumours of Shimano athletes de-tuning clutches to improve suspension performance. But, never been able to find any mechanic who owns that.

I detune Shimano clutches so tension is ~ the same as SRAM and it absolutely makes a difference. How much is going to depend on the rider/bike.

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skooks
+1 NealWood

Ive never felt the need for any sort of chain guide or bash guard. I haven't broken a chain ring or seriously damaged a chain, and almost never drop a chain. Simpler is better IMHO.  The increased drivetrain life due to improved chain wrap would be the only reason i would consider a chain guide.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Skooks

It's a bit in the same vein as folks who don't run tire inserts and haven't had issues with wrecking rims running low pressure, or who suggest running higher pressures to protect rims and avoid flats. It's great if that works.

I've wrecked more chains than rings, but I've also had a couple ring/spider fails on the trail so I'm into a bash guard. Good chains are expensive enough now that everything I drag one on a rock or lock I cringe. For the bash, I prefer a crank-mounted setup, but in this case, it's two-in-one with the bash taco and jockey wheel so it makes sense.

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Suns_PSD
+1 Andrew Major

...excitedly read the title of this article only to be disappointed upon opening the article. Depressingly puts away size 11 pumps and makeup kit...

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AndrewMajor
+1 Suns_PSD

Yeah, I got a lot of that feedback. The first copy did conclude with a positive reference to drag queen story hour and Michelle Tea, but it didn’t survive the editing process.

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kekoa
0

Oh my eyes. That eccentric bottom bracket. Just no.

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AndrewMajor
0

I looks fairly clean installed. It was the performance I felt burned by.

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GiveitsomeWelly
0

Yeeesh. For using your non-sliders hardtail as a single speed experiment, those guides are prohibitively expensive, at least at the bottom of the world...

I'd argue that hacking together your first single speed (which is how my love for the genre began), the price of either of those guides would more than quadruple the cost of simply raiding your parts bin for cogs and old chain. 

Obviously, single speeding rules but surely there are enough frame options out there with appropriately adjustable rear ends?

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velocipedestrian
+2 Karl Fitzpatrick lewis collins

There's always an old guide on trademe, and those northern hemisphere types have plenty of online used options. 

I have a small box of guide parts, entirely bought used or inherited. Usually enough to hack something together.

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GiveitsomeWelly
+1 Velocipedestrian

Same here man. I think my main objection was paying ANY money to try single speeding. 

Surely if someone (a friend, presumably) has suggested single speeding your bicycle, they've (or you, of course) already got a parts bin similar to yours and mine that can get something going. 

Also, I'm unsure I'd trust a well used, secondhand guide.

My goodness! The drag! Haha

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AndrewMajor
0

I was saving this for future reviews, but these new guides, at least out of the box, have significantly less drag than ones I’ve used in the past. 

Not saying being able to try #1FG for cheap/free isn’t rad but it’s worth noting it’s not apples:apples.

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velocipedestrian
+2 Andrew Major dhr999

I wondered. I tried using an old guide first when recently assembling this sillybilly cafe racer 

The drag was awful. I tried three or four different assemblages of parts, all nasty. 

I agree the sprung derailleur tensioner isn't as nice, but this is so much smoother I'll leave it as is for this purpose.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Velocipedestrian

Sweet looking grownup BMX!

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AndrewMajor
+1 Velocipedestrian

I mean, a guide is significantly less money than a new frame and that’s especially true if you want to combine sliders and the most aggressive geo. 

I think too many people come around to trying single speeding and then do it on a frame with geometry they wouldn’t have ridden off-road with otherwise in the last decade. No wonder they quickly decided riding aggressive trails on an SS isn’t for them when current gravel bikes are longer and slacker.

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earleb
0

Scrolled the comments and I don't think I missed talk about running a full dh guide and dropping the clutch. 

If the drag is un-noticeable what about running a full guide to reduce the clutch impact on rear suspension sensitivity and pedal kickback?

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AndrewMajor
0

There's clutch/guide talk above. Mike (grimwood) brought up derailleurs:

“no guide and the rear derailleur is getting worked and affects suspension performance”

———

But yes, as I replied to him, there have been rumours of Shimano athletes significantly de-tuning clutches for ages now.

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cheapondirt
+1 Andrew Major

I've had my clutch turned off since spring for that free suspension action.

It was originally inspired by a Chris Porter instagram post in which he advocated for clutchless riding, but
the difference was so stark for me that I was quite resolved to buy a full chainguide. Then, someone clued me in that my clutch just needs service badly. It wouldn't be so black and white, they said, if I had ever greased my clutch.

But I still haven't got around to that, as a new Shimano chainring is working quite well all by itself. One drop in a full park day.

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AndrewMajor
+1 cheapondirt

I de-tune all the clutches in the house. Pull the casing, lube it up and then dial back the preload screw a bit.

I go looking for similar force to SRAM at a similar cage length as that seems a good compromise.

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just6979
0

The clutch could arguably* affect suspension, but it's definitely not going to affect pedal kickback. If anything, keeping tension on the bottom leg of chain would slightly counter pedal kickback, which comes from tension on the top leg of chain. Except the clutch force is tiny compared to the forces causing pedal kickback: if the chain-length grows, it's going to slip the clutch and cause kickback no matter how strong you tune the clutch.

* (though I can't feel it on my bike, and don't see how it's anything more than marginal: it's a tiny amount of force compared to the forces between the ground and the shock and the forces from pedal kickback. In other words, chain-less is noticeable, clutch-less isn't [to me].)

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mikesee
0

Comparing the slight chain redirection of a tensioner used on your SS's to the 90* or more directional change of a HP + I is not really comparing apples and butterbeans.

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AndrewMajor
0

I agree. That’s was my original motivation in attempting to divide the piece into two conversations: Act 1 & Act 2. 

Admittedly I could have done a better job of surgically separating them. Sorry.

But, it’s still not that big a deal on the trail to run a lower guide on an HP+I bike.

Cheers,

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32x20
0

Reminds me of the ‘Yess’ chain tensioner I had circa 2009. With the spring tension, you didn’t even have to adjust for chain wear…

https://crucialbmxshop.com/yess-etr-b-chain-device

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AndrewMajor
+1 Blain Echols

That's the one I was mentioning elsewhere in the comments. I didn't have the best result, but it was years ago and I wonder if an updated take would work well. Cheers!

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just6979
0

Has anyone done any empirical testing as to whether a few more teeth being in the chainring wrap actually has a significant effect on chain wear? How about whether that extra wrap comes on the power side (Druid V2) or the return side (Druid V1) of the chainring.

I also wonder if makes a difference that on the V2 the pulley is not an active part of the suspension: it doesn't move relative to the chainring. While on the V1, the force on the pulley will be changing as it moves relative to the chainring depending on what the suspension is doing. Perhaps that dynamic loading on the pulley bearings and pulley/chain interface breaks up the feeling of constant extra friction...

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just6979
0

"MRP has spent years creating lower-friction chain guides."

They might have dropped the ball on the one for the new Slash. Lewis Buchanan has been having nothing but problems, in real-world riding conditions, mostly with that lower guide, and he's not the only one: https://youtu.be/x-yDnFBqPMU?si=HVNkB4uMk-BA5MQf

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AndrewMajor
+1 Justin White

This was mentioned elsewhere in the comments and I provided my theory on what’s happening - assuming it’s happening only to Transmission equipped bikes.

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