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Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

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Old 06-02-14, 05:26 PM   #1
hassouni
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Do chain guards exist for bikes with a front derailleur and multiple chainrings?

I'm about to start biking in Washington, DC. Not sure if I'm going to use my old Novara hybrid, or pick up something that I might find more suitable used. Either way, DC is quite hilly (to say nothing of the suburbs!), and I think at my novice level, 10 speeds are a bare minimum. Without converting to 10 cogs in the back and 1 chainring, is there a way to use a chain guard with 2 or 3 rings in the front? I'd like to be able to do my urban biking without fear of getting chain grease all over my leg, and I'm not keen on rolling up my trousers if I'm wearing dressy ones.
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Old 06-02-14, 05:44 PM   #2
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I haven't searched for anything like it, but I don't see why one couldn't be fabricated easily from fiberglass/resin and a little bit of time + cardboard + tape. It would probably look kinda odd though; imaging the solid volume swept out by the chain going from the big ring + smallest cog to the big ring + largest cog + a little fudge room. It may even interfere with pedaling at the low range.
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Old 06-02-14, 06:22 PM   #3
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Diy
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Old 06-02-14, 06:36 PM   #4
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Simplex chain guard with the bump. It's classic.
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Old 06-02-14, 06:56 PM   #5
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German, SKF makes some.
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Old 06-02-14, 07:50 PM   #6
hassouni
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Simplex chain guard with the bump. It's classic.
Such as this? Vintage LJ Simplex Chain Guard | eBay
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Old 06-03-14, 04:21 AM   #7
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Yes

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Old 06-03-14, 07:52 AM   #8
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Thanks!
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Old 06-03-14, 09:02 AM   #9
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I have some of the sks ones, and they work really well on any bike that they fit on. I also have some from Velo Orange that work well and look classic.
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Old 06-03-14, 12:49 PM   #10
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here
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Old 06-04-14, 06:47 AM   #11
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I have some of the sks ones, and they work really well on any bike that they fit on. I also have some from Velo Orange that work well and look classic.
I can't emphasize this enough. When it comes to bikes with two or three rings in the front, a chain guard like the SKS one may or may not fit. There is a lot of variation between bikes and you may experience some rubbing of the chain on the chain guard depending on the bike. I bought a used bike that the owner added a chain guard to. The original bike came with three rings in the front, but the owner had to get rid of the three rings and purchase a two-ring set in order to make the chain guard fit.

Some bike shop owners may have an idea of which bikes will be compatible with the SKS chain guard, but many will not. Tell them about your dilemma and ask them if you can return the item if it doesn't fit. If they try to convince you that you don't need a chain guard, keep it moving until you find a bike shop that is willing to listen to the needs of their customers. Having a chain guard is a blessing. It allows you to ride with any pants on, even dress pants, without having to strap your pant leg or tuck it into your sock.

To give you an idea of how incompatible chain guards are for bikes that have two or three front sprockets, just watch all people biking. Very few have chain guards. It's possible that you can find an 8-speed bike with only one front ring that you'd be happy with. You'd have to test ride up some steep hills to know for sure if it's right for you. Most bike shops will let you test ride a bike. Choose a route that involves some steep hills.

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Old 06-04-14, 10:00 AM   #12
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I can't emphasize this enough. When it comes to bikes with two or three rings in the front, a chain guard like the SKS one may or may not fit. There is a lot of variation between bikes and you may experience some rubbing of the chain on the chain guard depending on the bike. I bought a used bike that the owner added a chain guard to. The original bike came with three rings in the front, but the owner had to get rid of the three rings and purchase a two-ring set in order to make the chain guard fit.

Some bike shop owners may have an idea of which bikes will be compatible with the SKS chain guard, but many will not. Tell them about your dilemma and ask them if you can return the item if it doesn't fit. If they try to convince you that you don't need a chain guard, keep it moving until you find a bike shop that is willing to listen to the needs of their customers. Having a chain guard is a blessing. It allows you to ride with any pants on, even dress pants, without having to strap your pant leg or tuck it into your sock.

To give you an idea of how incompatible chain guards are for bikes that have two or three front sprockets, just watch all people biking.
On an occasion, I bought a lot of 12+ guards off German Ebay, intended for bikes with front derailleurs. They seemed to have been taken off bikes that they presumably did not fit. They might have had some minor hardware broken or missing which was not a problem for me since I could interchange that between the guards or make one of my own. Some of the guards were identical in that lot, but altogether I had something like 7+ different guards. Surprise, surprise, I could not get a single one to fit my bike with a front derailleur. There is such a big variety of details in bikes in the drivetrain area that getting a guard to fit is a big challenge.

Still, there are some solutions that will work with more bikes and situation than other. Thus, Kool Stop Chain Disk will take care of most issues. The disk can be supplemented with the OGK Chainguard.
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Old 06-04-14, 10:32 AM   #13
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not mine... just fyi...

Frisbee Chain Guard - BikeHacks

DIY Chainset Mudguard - BikeHacks
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Old 06-04-14, 12:27 PM   #14
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These bike hacks are great for preventing pants from getting caught in the front sprockets, but they won't keep pant legs clean from the lube and grime on the chain. Many bikes come with bash guards, like the one below, to prevent pants from getting caught. If the pants are at all baggy, they will still rub against the chain at a point about midway between the front and rear sprockets.

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Old 06-04-14, 01:11 PM   #15
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I've used a neoprene/velcro reflective strip for both visibility and keeping pants out of the way with a bike that only has a bash guard. On pleated pants I grab the front of the pleat and then wrap backwards tightly before wrapping the strip around. Looks dorky but it doesn't mess up or crease the pants afterward.

If you're wearing dress pants for work, the trick in DC is to have an office on the Mall and live in Petworth. You won't break a sweat (on the way in).

Seriously, DC is an awesome place to ride. Lots of other riders on the roads, low-ish speed limit, bike share, more and more infrastructure and good trails for recreational riding. And it's pretty special to be able to ride around the monuments or the Tidal Basin at whim - I miss it!
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Old 06-04-14, 01:19 PM   #16
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alternatively, I find this "suits" my needs (pun intended).
BROOKS ENGLAND LTD. | OTHER+BROOKS+PRODUCTS | TROUSER+STRAP

yes, it's pricey. but it's saddle leather outside, soft leather inside, no velcro, whip-it on, whip-it off. I use it every day.
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Old 06-04-14, 05:41 PM   #17
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Since the US bike industry isn't capable of meeting the needs of today's transportation/utilitarian cyclists, I had a family member build a chain guard for me. We talked over the issue for about three minutes. Then he spent about 60 seconds making a cardboard chain guard template, and whalah! He built me a steel chain guard at his workshop.

Not wanting to strap in pant legs is one of the first things that nearly ALL people new to biking ask about. It's also one of the first things that gets people from Europe to shake their heads. Chain guards are extremely practical and it's a shame that the bike industry still has their head in the sand on this one (not to mention bikes without fenders; quick releases for seats and wheels for the pleasure of bike thieves … the list is endless).
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Old 06-05-14, 08:49 AM   #18
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In your earlier post you mentioned that bashguards helped with actually chewing up the pant leg, but not with occasional contact.

I don't have any bikes with chain guards so I really don't know - but how does only covering the top run of chain help? The lower run is in the same plane, so I would think that if your pants need protection from brushing the top run, they need protection from brushing the lower run too? Obviously only a full chain case does that.

I guess another option for the OP if he goes the upgrade route is to look at a Gates carbon-drive equipped bike (no grease).
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Old 06-05-14, 11:12 AM   #19
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In your earlier post you mentioned that bashguards helped with actually chewing up the pant leg, but not with occasional contact.

I don't have any bikes with chain guards so I really don't know - but how does only covering the top run of chain help? The lower run is in the same plane, so I would think that if your pants need protection from brushing the top run, they need protection from brushing the lower run too? Obviously only a full chain case does that.

I guess another option for the OP if he goes the upgrade route is to look at a Gates carbon-drive equipped bike (no grease).
The bottom chain run will not brush up against pants. I even have some pants that are a couple inches too long. Even they don't come into contact with the bottom run. As you pedal around, the pedal is high enough that the pant leg will be at a higher elevation than the lower run.

The only way your pants will get greasy from the bottom run is if you press your leg up against the chain when you have your feet planted on the ground at a red light, etc. Even this should be a non-issue because when you come to a stop at a red light, your legs will naturally be forward of the exposed chain. I've never had my pants get greasy with my homemade chain guard.

Last edited by CompleteStreets; 06-05-14 at 11:15 AM. Reason: Added additional info.
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