If you are like me, your bike has come stock with a front derailleur, although you can’t remember the last time you shifted into the small ring on your crank set. However that darn front derailleur causes nothing but inconvenience and worry that it may put you in the wrong gear at the worst time. This is where I was last week my chain skipped on the front chain ring while I was preparing to do a wheelie drop at a local bike park, needless to say I ended up face first on the ground, at that point I knew that my front derailleur and myself were not compatible. So it was time for me to get a chain guide.The chain guide I came across was the new FSA Gravity Chain Device, an aluminium, composite, and polycarbonate chain guide weighing 218 grams. The thing that really impressed me about this chain guide was the fact that the lower roller was not a standard smooth pulley wheel as many other chain guide systems have. It is a sealed cartridge bearing toothed wheel similar to the wheel found on a rear derailleur surrounded by a composite cage so there is very little opportunity for the chain to pop off the guide.
So if you are interested this is the process in which to lose that front derailleur and make your bike ready for gravity.Note
: These steps are for my bike which has the mega exo, external cup bottom bracket and ISCG tabs (International Standard Chain Guide mount). Installation will vary from bike to bike.Step one
: New toys.
Get an FSA Gravity Chain Device. Open the package, ensure that you have all the parts necessary to do the complete installation of the chain guide. The guide that I got was a 34-36 chain ring tooth guide so I had to get a new 34 tooth chain ring because I had a 32 tooth ring before.Step two
Take out the instructions and find a magnifying glass. The printing could seriously be the smallest printing I have ever seen.
Fortunately FSA offers the instructions online. So go to www.fullspeedahead.com
, left click the gravity icon, then click the cranksets icon, then click on the Gravity Chain Device. You can then download the product instructions. This will appear in acrobat reader and you can the zoom in and make the lettering as large as you like and your life will be a lot easier.
Follow the written instructions-do not try to figure the installation from the images it will only set you up to be wrong.Step three
: Remove old stuff.
Remove your chain, crank set and the drive side of your bottom bracket. Make sure you keep all parts in a safe, clean spot and possibly labelled so as not to lose any parts when reinstalling.
Then remove your front derailleur and front shifter.
*If you have a friend who needs a new front derailleur make sure you give it to them-don’t let a good product go to waste.*Step four
: Now for the good stuff.
The boomerang (guide) comes attached to an adapter for bikes that do not
have the ISCG tabs. You want to remove the adapter from the boomerang, you will not use the adapter in the installation. Then you take the guide and mount it to the tabs on your bike using the three short screws provided. You may need to put spacers behind the guide where each screw is, in order to line the pulley up with the chain ring. I used two silver spacers and it lined up nicely. The upper plate of the guide should try and point as upright as possible (mine was not completely vertical), but you need to make sure that you have adequate enough space between the pulley and the chain stay, so the chain will roll smoothly . Tighten the three screw so that the guide will not move.
Now take your new polycarbonate bash ring and mount it to your crank set.
Use the screws provided by FSA. Once you have done this put your bottom
bracket back in, then slide you crank set back in place. Now you want to
slide the upper and lower guide towards the bash ring so there is no larger
than a 1 mm space. At this point all you need to do is put you chain back on
and you are good to go.Step 5
: Get out and ride your bike.
The FSA Gravity Chain Device was as simple as it sounds to install, just
make sure you follow the instruction manual or go to your local bike shop
and have them install it for you. I just got back from my first ride with my
new chain guide and it worked flawlessly. There is no more hesitation
worrying that my derailleur may cause a chain to drop and I crash and burn. Plus my bike looks great, as well one of my riding buddies will be getting themselves and new front derailleur and shifter.
Chain guide looking good out on the trail.
Completely confident in my new chain guide.
While I was checking out the Gravity site I found a small video clip that Aaron from Match Videozine put together. You should go check it out too:www.ridegravity.com
- click on the Gravity in Malaga, Spain link on the left. The clip is short but holy damn those boys throw down! Check it out!