Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chain Thong (the chainguard for multiple chainring bicycles)

A few weeks ago, discussion arose at home once again regarding finding a chainguard solution for Tony Stark (aka the Sam Hillborne bicycle). Because there are multiple chain rings on the bike, it makes it difficult to find a product that will actually work. While I always prefer something aesthetically pleasing, it doesn't seem that such things are made for 2 or 3 chainring bikes. In this seemingly impossible quest, a solution was discovered: the Chain Thong.

The Chain Thong is a small, eco-friendly (the materials are recycled from other products), locally made item that protects the leg from 'chainring tattoos.' While it's not the most exciting or shiny object available, the sucker really does its job.
Tony Stark with the newly installed Chain Thong
As you can see from the photo, it's difficult to even detect the Chain Thong, but it's there, doing its work to keep legs free from chain lube/grease. I went for a ride and was purposefully leaning my right leg up against the chain just to see what would happen, and I returned home grease-free. Pretty amazing for something that weighs less than 14 grams! That's less than half an ounce, for the metrically challenged, like me.
Close up of the Chain Thong on Tony Stark
The installation process is quite simple as well, and despite the fact that I had Sam put it on the bicycle, I think even I, the mechanically challenged gal of the house, could've made this work properly without too much hair loss. Very few parts are involved: the Chain Thong itself (the black portion that covers the chain), a couple of zip ties, a screw, and a nut.
View from above of the Chain Thong
What's nice about the product is that it's not overly obtrusive, but it still does its job well. It did take a little fiddling with to get it in just the right spot, but it was an easily fixed part of installation.
Zip ties come in black or clear-ish white color
Overall, it's actually a pretty impressive product for its low cost, and I would highly recommend checking it out if anyone's in the market for such a device. It definitely makes it a bit easier to wear nicer clothes, but I will say that it doesn't provide the complete coverage and protection of a full chainguard. Then again, this bicycle wasn't set up for me to use it as a city bike, but rather for longer rides. Regardless, now I can ride it with ease of mind, knowing that I won't get off the bike with loads of grease on my leg. Very nice indeed!

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