MRP, e*thirteen, and Direct-Mount Bash Guards

Apr 29, 2015
by Mike Levy  
Chain guide market leaders MRP and e*thirteen have entered into a co-licensing agreement that covers their respective intellectual property relating to the direct-mount bash guard. Used extensively in both companies’ product lines since 2007, the direct-mount bash guard protects critical drivetrain components and provides several advantages over the traditional crank-mounted bash guard. Many World Champions in the disciplines of four-cross, downhill, and enduro have run chain guides utilizing direct-mount bash guards. The agreement will allow both companies to focus independently on continuing innovation, while working together to address any infringing designs that are in the market.

Sea Otter 2015

The above press release means both MRP and e*thirteen will be continuing on with business as usual, but it does sound like we could see them confront others who are using the direct-mount bash guard design. ''In our agreement we are cross-licensing those patents, giving each other the right to continue making cutting-edge chain guides featuring integrated bashes without worrying about potentially being challenged by the other on IP ownership,'' explained MRP's Noah Sears. ''As part of the agreement, together we will be addressing designs we think infringe on our collective patent portfolio.''

Companies talking about protecting their patents can often make them seem overly litigious to the casual observer, but there are good reasons for doing so. ''Both of our companies have been producing these type of guides for the better part of a decade and have spent considerable amounts of money filing, defending, and administering to our patents.'' Sears said of their reasoning. ''We think it's not only appropriate, but fitting with the spirit of ingenuity and innovation, that we protect the designs we've worked so hard to bring to fruition. Though it's easy to become cynical of the patent claims and litigation so common in the industry these days, I think it's important to keep in mind that the whole concept intellectual property ownership really promotes innovation and 'outside of the box' thinking, whereas imitation does not.''

Anyone searching for some light reading material can check out the actual patents involved - RE42,436, RE44,379, 8,235,849, 8,491,429 and 8,979,685 - it they want to see the intellectual property that Sears is talking about, and it does sound like both companies won't be shy about defending that property in the future.

Learn more about each company at and

Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

  • 32 2
 I too had an mrp g3 explode on me the first 200 feet of sidewalk I took it on. The upper guide broke off, the backplate bent pretty bad. So I called em up, they send me all brand stuff. Never even asked me for proof of sale or anything. A few months later, I noticed the bottom guide had a crack in it. Same deal, they sent me a new one. So I can say that their customer service is amazing. Maybe I had a bad one? No problems since.
  • 37 2
 Thanks! We changed the material of our molded parts some time ago, and the results have been excellent. Sorry yours failed in the first place, but I'm glad your replacement is trouble free.
  • 1 0
 Who Would I get in touch with, I had no problems with any of my G2's but I have now had 3 g3's fail, one was in a crash though. The bolt on the bottom just never seems to do up properly and then comes loose and falls out, a zip tie is now holding my last one together.
  • 1 0
 Is there any sort of warranty because I had the same happen to me after a day of riding
  • 3 0
 I done goof'd I didn't read the rest of of his comment
  • 1 0
 Ya, it's been good. I think it's also the best looking chainguide out there. I'm still trying to damage the lower guide by smashing it against logs, rorks and the occasional small animal or child that might be in my way. I miss my old system 2 . You couldn't break those at all.
  • 2 0
 I've run both the Lg1 and G3, must say both are very good guides but i much prefer the G3 for reliability and quietness with the slider
  • 2 0
 @andymeadows there is a contact link on our website, we're happy to help. Sounds like you've stripped the nut if it isn't "doing up properly" and "comes loose" - pretty simple to fix. @lsmillie we have our full warranty policy on the website as well, and please don't hesitate to contact us.

  • 1 2
 I've had major issues with bottom bracket mount guides from MRP; the last one caused me a great deal of agony. My chain jumped out of the guide, wedged between the crank and upper guide, spun the whole unit, and seize my cranks in position...during my one and only DH race run for Sea Otter no less. It's certainly an inherent problem with BB mount guides, but E*thirteen and Gamut seem to have figured out how to keep the chain in position much better. Maybe instead of spending thousands on patents that will easily be designed around, MRP should spend the money on developing a product that works well.
Customer support I've heard is great. That's wonderful, but customer service can't help me while I'm on a trail with broken parts. Sorry for the flame. I hope new products are continually improving over older designs.
  • 1 1
 Haha funny, I never had any problems (riding trials) with any of my crank mounted ones, except the plastic Blackspire one. :/ Now I don't use one at all. 1/8" BMX chains are stronger than any of your wimpy little pussy cvnt MTB kife. Stick a gearbox in the BB & then the BB shell can be the bash guard. Symmetrical & damn near indestructible. Until then, BMX sprockets & BMX chains beat all yo' worthless fvckin' junk. Smile
  • 24 3
 I finally understand who can afford to buy all these $5K+ bikes. Frickin lawyers.
  • 5 0
 That's literally half the reason I want to go into law lol
  • 13 0
 Well I have been called upon, and as owner of the Shovel. I have been developing this guides for 4 years now, to make the best guides possible. I know that my design cutting edge of the chainguides, and it does not sit on any shoulders. Reversed "C" backplate for quick mounting is covered with design pattent, and it active for 5 months now, and registered on private name. If anybody from Mrp or E13 want to contact me over this, please ping me over pm.
  • 2 0
  • 2 0
 Nice stuff you got there. Hope E13 and MRP won't give you a hard time.
  • 17 6
 mounting a bashgard to the ISCG tabs should NOT meet the standard for non-obviousness. Here's hoping that whoever they decide to pick on has the cash to defend themselves, & hopefully get this patent invalidated.
  • 17 3
 Appears defensive to me. I don't think they are "picking" on anybody. Those ISCG tabs were developed FOR the guides, the guides came first not the mounts. It took a long time to get to these quiet low weight guides and so for new companies to pop up and make the same thing having not had to incur development costs over a decade's time is what seems unfair.
  • 4 2
 I honestly hope you're right, but ''As part of the agreement, together we will be addressing designs we think infringe on our collective patent portfolio.'' Does not sound defensive to me.
  • 3 0
 Well I guess we see how it plays out, but I have no doubt in my mind that these two companies collectively invented the modern chain guide. Between the original aluminum MRP guides, and the first gen e.13 guides which really made a huge leap in design, I think they deserve the credit for the excellent versions we run today. There are some other companies that make good guides that I don't think infringe and I've seen others that strike me as rip offs. How e.13 and MRP choose to exercise their power here only time will tell.
  • 2 3
 What they did to invent chainguides is irrelevant to the specific text of these patents, which deals solely with moving the bash to the guide instead of the crank.
  • 2 0
 I understand that, it was relevant to the tabs being there, although they did mount the bash to the guide first, so their history of developing these guides is entirely relevant.
  • 2 2
 It may be relevant to your perspective on their rights WRT chainguides, but ISCG tabs were made an international standard for anyone to use, at that point if someone wants to patent something that mounts to that standard mount, it has to be evaluated on it's own for obviousness. Also, it could be easily argued that Blackspire has prior art, as the inner plate on their guides matched the same profile as the outer bash, distributing load between the two, effectively performing as an ISCG mounted bash. I had one of those in '04.
  • 2 0
 You mean like the MRP System 2 World Cup that came out in the late 1990's? It had an inner plate/bash that mounted to the backplate.

Here it is on Lopes' 1997 World Champs bike
  • 1 1
 Yup, the Blackspire is very similar. It was the article that referenced 2007 being the important date, not I. I think this makes even more of an argument in favor of this being an obvious innovation, though: It's not even a new thing, it's simply beefing up a part that already existed, & getting rid of the outer bash.
  • 1 0
 Wow, so Shimano is not infringing? It doesn't bother me as I think mrp, e thirteen and shimano make the best looking guides. I have only ever used e thirteen and mrp.
  • 8 0
 seriously haven't they seen the sh*tstorm which has happened between apple, google, and samsung over extremely vague patents, as a chain guide has as much innovation as a rectangle with rounded corners.
  • 19 12
 Seriously? What about all of these other companies who have been doing the same design for years? It's all about money in this world these days and if you don't have any or enough, who ever is larger will take you out. This is just another one of Dave Weagles law suits for him to get more rich and be more of an ass to the bike community. Just move on and let the innovations continue so our bike industry can evolve !!!!!!!!!
  • 13 6
 Like I said in the piece, I don't think innovation comes from knocking off other designs. It comes from being given a set of limitations and finding a better solution - that's the essence creativity. I think if you look back you'll find no one was doing the type of bash technology in question before our companies - in fact that is basically what a patent is evidence of. I won't speak for eThirteen, but we (MRP) were granted a patent for the integrated skid back in 2011, and that process began years before that. Cheers, happy trails!
  • 8 0
 Dave Weagle is no longer involved with e.13. Has not been for 5 years now, although the 2nd gen LG1 guide which was the first to use an integrated bash guard was his original design.
  • 7 1
 beeboo you realize it takes profits and some sort of idea security to innovate right? You can't create new products if you don't have the money too and what's the point of innovating if you know someone will just steal it for themselves?
  • 1 2
 ^ exactly. Patents help drive innovation.
  • 5 0
 The point of innovating is that it is business. You are trying to make money. If you don't innovate you go out of business. Is crazy to try to control the entire market of iscg chainguide bashguards or whatever these companies are trying to do. Glad I bought a bionicon to use with my bashring instead of an mrp or e13 offering. Won't be using any of your products on my bikes ever again.
  • 11 1
 whats next, a patent on the wheel?
  • 2 2
 hahahahaha, this made my day
  • 20 11
 Dear MRP, please copy Shovel a bit more...
  • 8 4
 Next guide I buy will be shovel! Seriously they look like the best ones around
  • 10 3
 Both of those guides MRP included are simply versions of the same basic design used for years with the lower jockey pulley removed. I see nothing ground breaking with either. e.thirteen and MRP have been working on guides like these for over a decade, these patents will protect them from companies like Shovel.
  • 2 1
 I was just looking at the MRP XCG, but it is just plain compared to a Blackspire or Shovel.
  • 7 0
 DARKSTAR - 'these patents will protect them from companies like Shovel' - You realize shovel hasn't really even 'launched' and it looks like a one man job vs. an evil tyrant company lol.
  • 5 1
 Didn't mean to imply they were evil. Just cited it due to the fact it was mentioned here, and seemingly given credit by Mateo for removing a pulley from an e.13 or MRP style chain guide. @mobilechernobyl
  • 14 4
 We've been producing the AMg guide for about three years now, FYI. It was just the combination of two existing products in our line, the XCg and the 1x guide. Not to sound pithy, but given that, I kind of fail to see how we're "copying" a company that according to their website is launching next month? @Mateo-DH like I said the last time you made this accusation, I think your guide looks great, but it in absolutely no way was it even on our radar until you commented on Pinkbike's Sea Otter coverage of the V2 AMg. Cheers
  • 6 5
 So shovel has rattle big players in the game so they had to shut him down. This is priceless, two big companys are afraid of one man products, he must be doing things right.
  • 2 1
 @NoahColorado I haven't commented on Pinkbike's Sea Otter coverage of the V2 AMg..maybe you have replaced me with someone?
  • 4 0
 How can they patent a direct mount chain guide, when the piece that it actually mounts to is made by someone else? Is this going to be the new trend? How long until SRAM patents 12x145 axels? The new standards are bad enough, i can't imagine what will happen if each manufacturer makes them proprietary.
  • 4 0
 We've seen this whole song and dance in the MTB industry since the whole thing started...

I respect IP, and I don't necessarily hold this against them. But, at the same time, they talk about protecting IP forcing innovation... How about innovating a way to stay head and shoulders above the "imitations" out there? Both MRP and e.13 chain guides (which IMO 1x drive trains with wide-narrow chain rings with clutch set ups will steadily do away with regardless) cost a fortune, and the fact that they're losing business to others who charge less should be taken as a sign to reduce the customer cost... rather than a sign to send a warning shot across every else's bow.
  • 4 1
 chainguides are just extremely expensive and they break fairly easily, my recommendation for these guys would be to work on lowering the cost, bring the cost so low that XC guys start being interested on putting them on their rides. It might sound like dumping but 2 companies are doing it and $150+ USD for a chainguide is definitely super marked up, just get closer to the manufacturing, marketing and SG&A costs and you will gain a bigger part of the market share.
  • 8 4
 What about straightline, Gamut and any other company that makes guides better then MRP or Ethirteen? Bike industry is a bunch of money grabbers and is painful.
  • 8 1
 Is MRP crazy, $157.50 for this thing. What happened to being of a reasonable price and of reasonable quality?
  • 2 1
 ... @noahcolorado
  • 3 0
 But are they going to come out with anything that fits the 2015 Demo...thanks to spec only the 1950's Gamut fits !?!?!?
  • 4 2
 Well im the North American importer for Shovel Chainguides and will continue to bring his products stateside.
  • 1 0
 There aren't much dealers of mrp in the UK, are there any? Never buying e13 again, had three chainguides break and start to fail on things they shouldn't.
  • 7 9
 I had a very sour experience with MRP costumer service, bash crack non-hit and they blame the OIL, not a hint of oil in the area, So NO MORE MRP I got a GAMUT perfect and quiet and great costumer service when I talk to them.
  • 4 2
 Not a hint of oil in the area where your chain is? I find that hard to believe
  • 1 0

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