Pinkbike Product Picks

Jan 13, 2012
by Mike Levy  
Truvativ X-Guide

Truvativ's X-Guide is designed for riders who require a chain guide, but still want the versatility that comes with a dual ring setup. That describes many all-mountain or trail-bike riders who's trails are littered with jumps or rough enough to call for a guide to keep the chain on the rings. Unlike most other dual ring guides that use some sort of stepped lower roller or sliding element, the X-Guide employs two sealed bearing pulleys of the same size side by side, each one aligned with the corresponding chain ring. The twin pulley system is enclosed and protected within the lower slider that is attached to the backplate via a single hex screw and captive hardware. While no upper slider is used (it would clearly interfere with the front derailleur), the backplate itself is shaped to keep the chain from bouncing off to the inside. A replaceable skid plate prevents you from mashing your big ring on logs and rocks. The X-Guide is available in models to fit ISCG, ISCG-05 and standard bottom bracket mounting, as well as in both black and white colour options. Total weight is 155 grams. MSRP $150.00 USD. www.truvativ.com


Product Picks photos
The X-Guide has managed to not only keep the chain in place, but also does it quietly and without needing any finicky adjustments.


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesWe haven't had the best of luck with dual ring guides in years past, with most of our experience involving noisy guides that wore out quickly and required constant attention, so we were understandably hesitant about the X-Guide. Our concerns proved to be unfounded, though, with the Truvativ dual ring system performing reliably and noise free. Setup is painless thanks to the lower slider's single bolt attachment, taking only a few minutes to adjust. Added drivetrain friction feels negligible when spinning the cranks by hand, meaning that there isn't a chance that you'll feel it through your legs. This is where the twin pulley wheels come in, each one located exactly inline with the chain rings, giving it a much freer feel than if the chain was being tensioned by a solid stepped roller. The X-Guide also refused to jam when back pedalling, unlike a dual ring guide that depends on a sliding lower roller that self positions. And while it will never be as quiet as a single ring and chain guide setup, it worked well at keeping the noise to a minimum on our Trek Slash test bike. Shifting over the chain rings felt as quick as ever, with no delay due to the added chain tension. We will admit that we have yet to miscalculate bad enough to put the skid plate to the test, but it looks to be up to the task of defending the chain rings from any grievous harm. The X-Guide will make a great addition to any rider's bike who wants to stick with two rings, but who also needs the security of a proper guide. - Mike Levy



Hydrapak Vault phone and electronics pouch

The Vault is designed to attach to one of the shoulder straps on your backpack via a sturdy looking hook and loop enclosure on its backside, providing a convenient location to keep your phone, camera, or multi-tool. Unlike any one of the countless flimsy phone cases out there, the Vault is built with burly PU coated Tarpaulin fabric. Integrated stretch side panels allow you to squeeze in a larger phone or camera than you might think would fit, and the inside is lined with a soft material that won't scratch the finish on your phone. The Vault retails for $10.99 USD www.hydrapak.com


Product Picks photos
The Vault keeps your phone or small camera in an easy to reach spot, or you can even use it to carry a multi-tool and energy gels.


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesWhile the Vault may not be the coolest accessory out there, it certainly comes in handy. Many riders are happy to leave their phone behind, but we always feel much safer (especially when riding solo) to bring it along. The Vault keeps it within reach in case of an emergency, but was also great for when we wanted to snap a quick photo, be it with our phone or a small point-and-shoot camera. The hook and loop enclosure never opened once, and we quickly stopped worrying about it falling off during a ride - this thing is secure. It did rock back and forth a bit when holding a heavy multi-tool, but that is likely a function of how wide the backpack's shoulder straps are. We'd like to see it slightly larger to fit phones that are already in a protective case - a naked iPhone 4 fits quite snuggly - or even just older, larger cell phones. A slightly larger size would also allow different cameras to fit, not just the slimmest point-and-shoot models. At just $10.99 the Vault is a small accessory that makes sense for anyone who wants quick access to their phone or camera, however you will want to be sure that whatever it is that you plan on putting in it will fit. - Mike Levy



Sombrio Ruckus glove

Sombrio's clothing lineup is known for its distinctive look, and their Ruckus glove is no different. The top of the glove is constructed from Nylon, with the outer two fingers making use of stretch knuckle joints to aid movement. Two prominent rubber pads, one covering the outer two knuckles and one over the top of the hand, have been added for protection, and each finger features mesh side paneling to let the air flow through. While most of the palm is made up of single layer Maxkin material, Sombrio has placed an interesting pad on the outside edge where your hand would rest atop the edge of the grip. As with the majority of other gloves, soft material has been placed over the thumb to wipe that annoying runny nose during a ride. The Ruckus glove is available in three different color options: the blue/black version shown here, a red and black option, as well as a white and black model. Sizes run from XS through to XXL. MSRP $20.00 USD. www.sombriocartel.com


Product Picks photos
The Ruckus glove features a small pad on the outside edge of the palm to protect your hand from the outer metal collar found on some lock-on grips.


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesEveryone in the PB office are fans of thin gloves - we like that 'not there' feeling that makes the grips feel as if they are part of our paws. The Ruckus' single layer Maxkin palm provides exactly that. The minimalistic palm material is just one small step up from going gloveless, minus the blisters and ripped up hands from crashing. We especially like the small pad on the outside edge of the palm that is perfectly positioned to insulate your hand from the metal outer collar found on many lock-on grips. Flip the Sombrio gloves over and you'll find a sturdy Nylon top and two thick rubber segments for protection. While the smaller rubber bumper that is positioned over top of the outer two knuckles makes complete sense (it protects those knuckles from tree strikes), we have to question the larger rubber pad in the middle of the hand - it looks to be a case of fashion over function, to be honest. Glove fit is always going to be a personal thing that varies from rider to rider, but we found the Ruckus to fit a bit too snuggly across width of the palm when compared to the countless other gloves that we've used. A larger size isn't the answer, given that the finger length felt to be spot on with our mediums. The cuff also fit quite loose, almost like they were meant to be on an extra large size instead of our medium Ruckus'. Their unique looks and smart palm layout make the Ruckus glove worth recommending, but you'll definitely want to give them a test fit before purchasing. - Mike Levy






85 Comments

  • + 13
 How is the Truvativ any better than say a Blackspire Stinger? It costs far more than the Blackspire but doesn't seem to have any real benefits, it has a built in skid plate yes but how is that an advantage? The Blackspire is quiet and lighter although that doesn't include a bash gaurd. Plus since fitting one I just about never drop the chain when I used to drop the chain all the time so how a stepped roller is a bad thing I don't know. Oh, and it's available in lots of shiny colours Smile
  • + 4
 None really.
  • + 8
 i've had a stinger for about a year now. no service needed, no dropped chains and barely a whisper. blackspire c4 bashguard has been called upon many times and never failed. stepped roller seems like a good idea to me as well
  • + 1
 If a chain passes around a hard, round plastic wheel, it will make a rattling noise. If the same chain passes around a chainwheel, it won't make that noise, at least not so loud. My E Thirteen Heim 2 is pretty loud, yet installed properly.
  • + 3
 My E Thirteen with a jocky wheel is far louder than the Blackspire, it's basically soundless
  • + 8
 So you guys recommend a Blackspire Stinger instead of the Truvativ? I am thinking about buying one.
  • + 3
 Yes, fail to see how the Truvativ is any better when the Stinger just works and is so much cheaper
  • + 2
 Cheers!
  • + 11
 Let me chime in on this since I've been on the the 2x/X-guide since it's crudest prototype stages. We (MRP) have been producing a roller-style dual-ring guide longer than anyone (the LRP) - we know them from the inside out.

Why this guide over a roller style guide? Here are three (of many) reasons....
1) Roller-style guides cannot be used with 120BCD (SRAM) or 88BCD (Shimano) 2x10 style cranks because you cannot mount a bashguard to crank.
2) The pulley design is quieter and produces less friction than a roller.
3) This design is considerably lighter than a roller-style guide and bash guard.

However, these guides (MRP 2x and Truvativ X-guide) currently require at least a 36t chainring (though people are reporting using them with 34t without issue) - so if you want to keep gearing low (like 32/22) a roller-style guide is currently the only "approved" option.

Cheers
  • + 5
 The Stinger uses a nylon roller so it's pretty quiet (like the Straightline guide) - personally, my rear derailleur makes more noise than my Stinger.
  • + 6
 i like the noise, that's the sound of it working.
  • + 3
 Happy enough with my E*13 DRS (Dual Ring Security). So happy I have two of them, both with the Turbo Charger bash guards.

It is much quieter and works so much better than the old school Crud Products DCD (Dave's Chain Device) I used back in the day, remember them?.

In fact I quite like the quiet little whuring sound my E*Thirteens make. When I pedal there is a quiet purr from the chain guide, then when I stop a loud clicking kicks in from my Hope freehub.
  • + 4
 Killer info, Noah. Great to see some insight from the MRP in the comments!
  • + 0
 Heim guide FTW. Heim has been making guides for a lot longer than even MRP. The Heim has been around since the early 90s and is still a great 2 and 3 ring guide. Even better now that it's owned by E.13!
  • + 2
 Slapped on one of these, MRP 2x version, on a couple of days ago and like it really well so far. I had to mess with the chainline a bit to get things lined up. If things don't line up you will not be happy. Prior to this I used a E*13 DRS. This worked well, but the roller wears out pretty fast and it drags more compared to the MRP. I also like the weight savings. One issue, without the bash my 36 tooth XT/LX chainring looks like crap. Ordered a new black chainring and red bolts to spruce things up.
  • + 1
 I really want to try the MRP 2x version, since it seems to fix two issues I have on my current Gamut P30 (sometime get a chain loss when back-pedaling, and noisy). But I've read a review mentioning the device "doesn’t address chain loss from up top", and that it "lacks of big-ring chain guiding ability up near the front derailleur". Something I don't have to worry about with the Gamut.

Anyone has had frequent chain loss up top using X-guide/MRP 2x?
  • + 0
 If your dropping the chain whilst back pedaling then that's a free hub issue and it needs servicing.
  • + 1
 Not necessarily marquis. Freehub service could be *part* of the problem, but a lot of bikes have messed up chainlines as well, and having to space out one's chainguide can further misalign the drivetrain, making the chain hop off the chain rings when you back pedal.
  • + 1
 It was based on his drive train being aligned but i coulda mentioned that.
  • + 1
 Yeah for sure. If his drivetrain is perfectly aligned and his chainline is good (which is kinda rare) then backpedal chain-drop is either a freehub issue or a slight derailleur adjustment.
  • + 1
 I've been using the 2x/x-guide on my Slash since June. Had a few issues but it works great. Ive bashed a few times without any issues. My issues are not all directly related to the guide.
1. If the front derailleur is not adjusted properly you can shift off the big ring and the chain will foul in the guide and likely break the bottom plate if you don't stop cranking immediately. Disassembly required to unfoul chain.
2. Do not over tighten the screw as the weak plastic plate mount will crack. Common sense I know but damn its not hard to do.
3. Don't seem to be able to get a replacement plate with XO paint job - no biggy I guess, just liked the intended look on the Slash. $12~$20 part but freight from US puts it up over $50. Crazy. Can get from UK for same price but reasonable freight.
4. On descents the chain often falls off the big dog to the smaller ring. Not sure if the guide is involved in this VERY annoying problem. Found another thread on this but the guy had no luck fixing it and decided to go 1x10. Quote: "I've currently got a X9 2x10 set up. Except I'm having some issues with my chain coming off the front rings over bumpy stuff. So any braking bumps or longer rock/root gardens the chain will drop to the smaller ring, even though the derailieur is still set to the dog cog. I'm taken to my LBS and the mechanic doesn't know why its falling off. We're tightened the cable to the point it doesn't even shift to the granny, and it still bounces off." Interested if others experieced this and can provide advice.
If interested, here's the link to the thread:
www.rotorburn.com/forums/showthread.php?237379-Chain-Guides-with-GXP-Bottom-brackets
  • + 7
 Not too convinced by the Hydrapak Vault. I think they've invented something that didn't need to be invented (my opinion). Just put it in your backpack and take it out when you get to a spot of great scenery. Plus if you fall on too your chest, maybe not just a broken rib or two, but a cracked phone. The rest of the products look cool though! Beer
  • + 8
 I have used a small Lowepro case to attach my camera to my camelbak strap, and it is definitely more convenient than storing it in your pack. The chances of you stopping to take off your pack, take out the camera, take the pic, put it back and put the pack back on, are a lot slimmer than if it's just right there. So no, it's not a "must-have" item, but it is definitely convenient. As for crashing on it, I carry mine higher up on the strap, closer to my shoulder, so even if I take a dive, it's safe.
  • + 25
 I RIDE NAKED
  • + 3
 Agree with smike, I've used the Timbuk2 2way for a couple years now and having the quick access is quite nice for the trails, commuting, and everyday backpack use.
  • + 16
 With a name like "go-hard", I'd do everything naked.
  • + 2
 smike, that has to be one of the funniest comments i've heard in a while. Props haha
  • + 1
 Have to say I used to hate bringing my phone on rides, but with the improved cameras I find myself using it a lot more. Not having to take off my bag is a huge plus, but I can certainly see not wanting the Vault if you don't pull your phone or camera out that often.
  • + 1
 I'd like to see a range of small protective cases that can attach to frame that can be used for my phone and gadgets. Since getting a gopro and variety of bits and mounts it's gotten a lot harder to carry my gadgets around safely and conveniently. Backpacks work but are not ideal for this. I'm thinking a triangular frame bag would be the best but can not find a good size or mounting system for a full suss bike. (Happy to provide plans if someone wants to make it - all my mates want one too!)
  • + 5
 Whatever happened to the Hammerschmidt? I have one and I love mine. No chain guide or bash guard needed, never drops a chain, never jams, never pops off the rings, never have to worry about crossing my chain. Never needs any adjustment.
  • + 2
 I love the Hammerschmidt! I have two on the go, one of them have been in use for years no with absolutely zero maintenance (minus replacing BB's). Still looking to do a review, stay tuned.
  • + 3
 Hammerschmidt!! Y U NO lose weight???? And not make me have ISCG tabs?
  • + 1
 Im a fatty, so if u take a dump before i ride the ensemble is already several pounds lighter. I don't notice the difference between a 33 and 28 lb bike.
  • + 1
 Can you use hammerschmidt 10 speed?
  • + 1
 Why not? It's only a chain ring.
  • + 1
 Yeah but the chain is narrower.
  • + 1
 So? Still fits on the front ring. Trust me I have three bikes with 10 speed all on 9 speed rings.
  • + 1
 Cool thanks
  • + 4
 I am loving the look of the X-Guide. Def looks like something applicable for all those AM bike out there, mine included. If it works as advertised you can keep the 2 front rings, and not have the chain falling off, something which always seems to happen to me!
  • + 4
 Can't say I've had any issues with the Gamut chain guide on my 2011 Enduro. But it would be interesting to see if the truvativ works as well for shifting.
  • + 2
 I agree when pedaling forward, the Gamut on my Enduro works great, but when cross chaining even a litlle, back pedal will derail the chain. I might just give the Truvativ a try!
  • + 1
 Really? I've never had that problem, I continually pedal backwards when just sitting and rolling around on the bike.
  • + 3
 Well when I'm riding the last thing on my mind is my phone, I don't need a dual ring chain guide, and I love the feel of gloves on, they work great with my grips and on the rare occasion I bale, they keep the gravel and dirt from protruding my skin, which leads to infection and that really upsets me.
  • + 4
 Been running a Blackspire stinger for a while now and have had zero problems. Not sure the X-Guide is 120$ better than a Stinger...
  • + 2
 The Xguide review is completely biased. That guide is an spectacular failure. Its fragile, the skip plate doesn't handle the impacts at all and is designed so the lower guide rips off when you slide over logs. If you don't manage to rip it off, it'll fall off on its own as soon as it gets mucked up the pulleys spin the bolt out. It wears out fast, very fast, probably because shifting a chain back and forth over dinky plastic pulleys is stupid. The spacing between the two pulleys is wider than the spacing between two chainrings, so it will never be setup right. The chain rides in between the pulleys. The inner pulley should have been larger than the outer and it should have been made as one piece so the chain would shift smoothly. After 15 rides on Seymour mine was finished. I gave it to the neighbour kid to have as spare parts. I'm just glad I didn't pay a cent for it since it was a sample sram gave to my friends at ***** ******** bikes and they had no interest in using it so they passed it onto me. Call any bike shop on the N.Shore and they will tell you the same thing. My confidence in Mike's reviews has been shattered!
  • + 0
 I don't think that is fair to Mike or to MRP! There is a ton of work that goes into the design of these products and they can't all be perfect like Blackspire!
  • + 0
 @HartofDarkness - It sounds like you've had a lot of time on the X-Guide, correct? I have to disagree with all of your feedback.. I never had any of those issues. Maybe it was a setup issue for you? The spacing on mine is perfect, the chain doesn't get jammed anywhere, and it certainly doesn't get "mucked up the pulleys spin the bolt out".

But then again you said that it "was a sample sram gave to my friends...". Is there a possibility that it was pre-production? Maybe not set up correctly?
  • - 1
 Sorry you didn't like it bro. We tried different diameter pulleys in the testing process and it didn't switch over from pulley-to-pulley very well. Your problems sound completely setup related. It's like a derailleur, if you take the time to set it up properly it'll work great - if you don't you can hardly complain about it's performance. Setup is VERY specific to bike setup and I went to great lengths to make our instructions very simple to follow. Did you have instructions - my guess is not since it was a handed-down sample. Cheers
  • + 2
 It is possible that it was pre-production model. I did not get any instructions with it. But I've wrenched for world cup teams and I know how to setup a guide. I'm pretty sure that the skidplate exploding was not a setup issue! And I was using it with an M980 2x crank... Could it be that this guide is designed to work with Sram cranks and not Shimano?
  • + 3
 can a person order the lower guide separately? cause that would give options to people who already have an mrp guide and want to try a two ring set up. cause that would be dope.
  • + 1
 Unfortunately that doesn't work. The backplates are specific to each guide.
  • + 1
 this is a bummer.

I noticed that with very little material trimming a G2/SL and a G2 lower can be interchanged. Thought maybe this could be repurposed. thanks for the info
  • + 2
 the pulley wheels concept is intriguing. i've had a blackspire stinger on my enduro for over a year, and haven't lost my chain once. my only issue with it is that the roller, does not roll at all. to stinger owners, is this normal? or did i bolt it in there too tight?
  • + 2
 I must say that after a year on a taco type guide (and 2 years after normal one with bash) I am not sure if Taco guides are such a great idea - it is so easy to smash the lower roller and they seem to have a bit more drag. It is easier to clean it yup, but I think that's it. Weight savings are minimal comparing to latest "bashed" ones.
  • + 1
 Another issue I have found with many Sombrio gloves, it that they bunch up between your palm and the bars. Many gloves do that, but the sombrios I tried were pretty bad for that.
  • + 1
 Will the X-Guide work on a frame that uses BB95? I've got a 2012 Superfly Carbon with X0 cranks, but I don't know if it will work.
thx
  • - 1
 ANYONE who has ever tried the Straitline Guide and Bashguard will tell you there is simply NOTHING on the market as light or quiet, and it is almost impossible for the chain to come off - AND virtually none of the parts wear out - and for all us canucks out here, it is canajun made, eh!
  • + 2
 Canajun! Or Canasian? MBUK rated it pretty low although its incredibly well designed beautifully machined. The bashring is too thin and bends. They claimed it dropped the chain frequently but that was likely a setup issue. And Blackspire DER guide is 30g LIGHTER eh!
  • + 0
 MBUK - wankers all ! seriously - no doubt it was a set up or a bent rear derailleur [ torques the chain and it can get caught between the cassette and the Hub ] i know about 7 or 8 DH pro-racers that all use Straitline and not one of them has ever had a chain slip [ one of them has used the same guide on 3 different bikes ] as for the bashguard bending, never seen that but i suppose it beats breaking as with plastic or lexan, and good possibility of bending it back to work, long enough to finish a rip.
Blackspire is an awesome guide too, but is that weight with the bash guard ? [ ps. interesting, both guides are based on the same principal of no moving parts and virtually no wear and i believe Straitline came first - ahh well, chicken or the egg, it's all good...EH ! ]
  • + 2
 PS PS . Your loyalty and bias no doubt comes from using Blackspire not just from working there...if i ever find my Straitline needs a comparison i will check out the BS line - i mean Blackspire, Blackspire ! :-)
  • + 1
 The weight on the new Blackspire guide is 145g for the complete guide, it has an integrated Beavertail bash so there is no need for a bashring. Some of the first Blackspire guides that were prototyped back in 1995 used the same no moving parts technology but we didn't have the materials available to us back then that we do now so they we not ideal. There really is nothing new about this style of guide, it's been used on Motocross bikes for decades! PS: some euro brands have been making guides like the straitline for awhile Wink
  • + 1
 Will the X-Guide work on a bike with BB95? I've got a carbon 2012 Superfly with X0 cranks, but not sure if this will work.
thx
  • + 1
 That cell phone case is actually a great idea and very cheap. I try finding one because it rain almost every day here in ny.
  • + 3
 is the x-guide the same as the one mrp have had out for a while?
  • + 4
 so why is it more money ?
  • + 2
 "better name"
  • + 4
 how lame of them!
  • + 3
 LONG LIVE THE STINGER!! Super simple, not fancy at all, but it JUST works.
  • + 0
 I installed an MRP 2x guide on my friend's bike and was quite impressed. I'll be installing one on my new Stumpjumper EVO today. Very excited to see how it performs!
  • + 2
 The guides are made by MRP for Truvativ. That's why they look like MRP.
  • + 6
 And that's a great thing! Truvativ own guides were gruesome contraptions, things that made people keep their front mechs whenever they thought of switching to single ring
  • + 0
 i got on fine with my box guide on my last bike and so did my mate.
  • + 2
 Aaaaargl! A green X0 crankset! Want it for my 2K12 Demo 8.1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 i want a phone pocket that keeps water out as well, does this one?
  • + 3
 I've been using ziplock bags forever (enough for my gf to collect them all because I lose them all the time and have to take a new one on every ride - last count was 11 bags), but I wish there was a waterproof + shatterproof padded box that could contain:
-Phone
-ID+license
-Car keys

Anyone aware of something like this?
  • + 2
 Dolfin make a padded box like that. Stock the padding isnt great, but you could easily outfit it with some nice foam.
  • + 3
 Yes! Pelican cases!

www.pelican-case.com/ipod-cases.html
www.pelicancasestore.com/index.cfm?category=3
The Micro cases and "iPod cases" all are about in the range ya'll are looking for!
I used one RELIGIOUSLY in Afghanistan for sensitive gear, and I own a total of 7...

Different sizes, as well as colors!
  • + 2
 Wow, perfect! thanks.
  • + 1
 Pelican case or Otter Box
  • + 0
 Good reviews! I wish i had the money to get the x-guide it looks like a really well working guide.
  • + 0
 Will the X-Guide work on a 2012 Trek Superfly 100 with BB95 and SRAM XO crankset?
Thanks
  • + 1
 did anyone else notice the ipod touch screen cover on the iphone?
  • + 0
 I think the X guide looks good.
  • + 0
 X-Guide!

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