E.Thirteen LG-1 Chain Guide Review

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The E.Thriteen gets a run for its money with a proper bashing, Read the full review.

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Ok kids, here it is, the latest in weight weenying from e.thirteen components. I’m sure in the past we’ve all had a nice simple little chain guide on our bikes that consisted of a top guide and bottom roller. Did yours work? No, mine either… But all that has now changed, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the E.13 LG1!

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First thing to note, is that it’s compatible with just about anything you could care to imagine, whether you buy it in old or new ISCG style, it comes with the adapter to directly mount to your BB should you want. It fits any bolt pattern, (obviously!) and it only weighs 195 grams! You can get anything from a 34-44T as well, it’s got the versatility of a zip tie! You’re probably wondering what those two circular holes are on the bottom and right hand sides! They miraculously line up with your chainring bolts if you’re running 4-arm, so if they come loose, you can do them back up without taking everything apart, nice touch guys…

For those of you who’ve ever bought an old style e.thirteen, or read our previous review by Rob: http://reviews.southerndownhill.com/html/2005_e13_srs.html you’ll know that you had to assemble your guide like an airfix kit. Alas, this is no longer the case, the lovely guys at e.thirteen have put it together for you, so you don’t have to get annoyed about your male inability to read instructions.

My set up involved a 38T Middleburn DH ring, with Middleburn RS7 cranks with a 4-arm spider, mounted onto my ’05 Cannondale Gemini DH. Many of you may have heard that there’s lots of fun to be had mounting devices on the Gemini due to clearance issues and interesting ISCG tab placement. I won’t lie to you, it takes a bit of time to work out exactly how many washers/spacers you need between the tabs and the device, after all this is the only way of spacing out the device. There’s no adjustment on the guides to and from the frame, to keep tolerances tight, but once you’ve sorted out your spacing from the frame, it really is a doddle. With 3 fairly thin washers in place, and the chainring in the right place on the device, I set to work on the guide set-up. As you can see there are two bolts at the top of the top guide:

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These are some of the neatest little bolts I’ve seen. The 3mm allen key goes in nice and deep, so unless you are a serious hazard to bike parts, you won’t round them off. Now you’re probably thinking; “ I bet there’s a little nut at the back of there that I’ve got to get at with a tiny little spanner to tighten it up in the right place” Nu-huh! They’ve thought of that as well, the bolts counter-sunk into a guide that stops them from turning. Lovely… You literally move the guide down until it’s about 2mm from the top of the chain and tighten up the two bolts. That’s what I call an easy-set up! The same applies to the bottom roller as well:

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The e.thirteen jockey wheel has a little sealed bearing in, so apparently no noise, and no play… We’ll see! Oh yeh, here it is on the bike, it fits *perfectly*

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“Wheres the bashplate?!” I hear you cry, well that’s right, there isn’t one! Did I forget to mention that?! To be honest, when I took the bike out for testing, I was very worried about smashing chainrings and chains, so where did we head off to? That’s right… Wharncliffe!

Lots of nice rocks to test it out, and I really did try to hit it off a few things, needless to say, I genuinely haven’t managed to smack it on anything yet. It would seem that if you run a smallish chainring (38T) and don’t have protective bash plates covering that extra few centimetres, then it’s very difficult to actually smash your chainring on anything. Maybe on a different bike on a different track you might worry about it, but despite the fact that the Cannondale has a fairly low BB, I’m satisfied that a bashguard is overkill that I can now live without.

Finally you’ll want to know what it’s like in mud. Aston Hill had recently suffered from about 5 hours of constant downpour, whilst I was there, so I can tell you that not only does it dispatch the wet mud very happily, it also does its best to get rid of the stickier stuff when it dries up. I’m sure many of you have suffered from “MRP roller turned jockey wheel syndrome” in the past, but with the jockey wheel on the bottom of the e.thirteen, the mud collects a noticeably less. I had a slight problem with the chain slipping because I’d left the top guide too high, but a quick lowering of that sorted out.

So there you have it, it’s pretty easy to set up, maybe a little fiddly to get the perfect distance from the BB, but a lot of effort has gone into the design to make set-up convenient. It’s light as hell, definitely one of the parts that has lost a fair bit of weight from my bike. The lack of bashguard might put some of you off, but I haven’t found it a problem, and I’ll be running it just how you see it in Morzine/Les Gets this season. It works well in the mud too! The plastic is strong and keeps noise to an absolute minimum. The only problem I can see is that the top guide will foul the back of crank arms when running really small chainrings, so don’t go whacking one on your street bike! An absolute featherweight quality chain guide for just £110, I’d call it an essential for all you weight weenies, and even if you don’t care, it puts many devices to shame with its simplicity, quietness and performance.

Peace out!

Tom