While the 1X drivetrain has more or less put the reaper of dropped chains six feet under, trail debris still remains a plague. Chainrings hang lower than anything else on bikes, directly in the line of fire behind the front wheels. As bikes push the bounds of low bottom bracket heights melding with supple suspension, things get up close and personal with solid ground. Drivetrains are expensive. A significant impact costs a pretty penny or two, preventative measures make sense. So, despite fewer dropped chains, bash guards are still relevant.
Older chainguide/bash systems worked, but seemingly required an engineering degree to mount, had enough material to anchor a luxury yacht and are no longer practical—let alone compatible—with modern, rapidly evolving standards.
E*thirteen has kept up with changing demands, somehow continually offering options for abusive riders, even as bikes rapidly evolve. The TRS Plus Bash-Only chainguide is aimed squarely at enduro and aggressive trail riding. It has what you need, and nothing you don't.
The TRS Plus Bash-Only attaches to the lower two of the three ISCG tabs still commonly found on most frames and weighs a scant 74 grams with the larger 34-tooth bashguard option. For perspective, most smartphones weigh twice that. There's no carbon fiber or fancy materials, just good old-fashioned aluminum and polycarbonate blended with excellent engineering to keep the weight low, and the cost even lower, at $50.
The TRS Plus Bash-Only arrives with two bashguards: one for 28-30 tooth chainrings, and one for 32-34 teeth. If you're one of those monsters that runs a 36 or larger, you'll need to up the ante to the LG1+ guide, which is a little heavier at 116 grams, but has a chain guide and accommodates up to a 38-tooth.
During testing, I tried both a regular, round 34-tooth ring, as well as an elliptical 34-tooth. It should be noted that the elliptical ring had a wide dimension larger than the equivalent round ring, and extended past the bash guard and into harm’s way. I found this out the hard way, ruining the 34-tooth elliptical ring on a rock. Switching to a 30 tooth elliptical provided excellent clearance with the 32-34-tooth-bash option.
I'm not a particularly reckless rider, I usually stop to smell the flowers. That said, my idea of a Sunday afternoon ride is a steep rock field pretending it's a trail. Grossing close to 220 pounds (100 kg), when I hit something, I hit something. I've been concerned enough by some impacts to stop for a brief inspection of structural integrity, but to my surprise, there's never been a hint of damage down below.
Even after the better part of a year with hard abuse (not just use), the only signs of wear are shallow smears to the soft polycarbonate bashguard. I haven't once heard any rock-on-metal action, and my wallet hasn't made so much as a peep in months. In fact, the only sounds I've heard of late are soft thumps as the TRS Plus wards off high-speed trail debris as I happily bash my way down the trail.