With the introduction of carbon frames into the longer travel Trail and All Mountain category (and their popularity on the rise), it’s a wonder that some of these frames are built without ISCG tabs. What makes it even more of a challenge is that some of these frames are designed to use a press fit BB (e.g. 2011 Trek Remedy 9.9 shown below) — eliminating the possibility of mounting a guide altogether. Perhaps there’s a really good reason for it, but it sure sucks when the chain keeps dropping and that shiny paint gets nicked up…
Luckily, there’s a solution. Bionicon Chain Guide to the rescue.
Product Tested: BIONICON C.GUIDE V.02
Suggested Use: For frames with press fit BB or no ISCG tabs
Retail Price: $49.95
DESIGN & FUNCTION
Measuring about 2″ x 2.5″, and weighing in at a inconsequential 19g (compared to 90-150g for your standard BB or ISCG mounted guides), it is a godsend for owners of chain guide challenged frames. The hanger is made of aluminum and comes in six different anodized colors: Black, Red, Blue, Green, Orange and for those who want to show their support for Breast Cancer awareness, it also comes in Pink.
The unique piece of ingenuity with the unit is the plastic guide tube. It’s designed to pivot on a hinge, allowing the chain to quietly float unimpeded through it — minimizing chain movement and slap. After installing the guide, I noticed the bike being quieter and my chain drop problem has all but disappeared. What I’m amazed at is there is no perceivable drag; it feels as good or better than any of the traditional chain guides I have run. The other notable feature is the swiveling barrel at the mounting bracket that moves with the chain when shifting. As you shift through the gears, it provides dynamic tensioning without any impingement to the chainline.
To install, you can disassemble the unit (into halves) if you don’t want to break the chain, or if you have a master link, it’s easier to pop the master link off and install the guide whole. Position the C Guide underneath the chainstay behind the widest point of the rear tire — this tucks it away nicely, avoiding potential strikes with logs or rocks as well as minimizing the chance it will rub the tire while in the granny gear. A good location I’d recommend is parallel to the rim. Next, use the zip ties included in the box to strap it to the chainstay — don’t worry the ties are dummy proof so you can reposition the guide if you need to. To do this, use a micro flathead screwdriver to release the zip tie and tigthen it up where it works best (see above photo).
Once in position, feed the chain through the guide, reconnect your master link and you’re ready to roll. This took me less than 10 minutes to install with a dry fitting. Make sure you have enough slack on the chain when the suspension is fully compressed, if you’re running the minimum amount of chain this could be an issue and will create excessive drag under full compression and possibly pull the unit right off or worse.
Noteworthy: Paul from Bionicon, wants to let version 1 owners be aware that the units have had some durability issues and that Bionicon has strengthened the hanger and updated the mounting instructions to use a third zip tie around the center of the mount. As mentioned above, be sure to check the chain slack when the suspension is fully compressed, if it is too tight it can simply tear the guide off. Anyone who bought one from the first production and has had it break, can get a free replacement, no questions asked.
Visit Bionicon’s website, for purchasing a guide or to obtain additional information on the Bionicon C Guide.
To see the unit in action, check out the YT video below. I won’t take any credit for it’s quality or music choice but it does show how the product works. Enjoy!
GOOD: Keeps the chain on and you never know it’s there as well as being feather light. Helps keep $3,000 carbon frames looking good.
BAD: At $50, some would ask if that’s ethical. I’d say, you paid how much for that bike? Durability issues that Bionicon is standing behind. Zip ties not the prettiest for mounting.
Reviewed by Qwan Pham