The BBB saves your rings from a good beating.
Now that I am a member of the high-end full-squish club, I decided that it was time to quit beating up my 3rd chain ring and invest in a bash guard. I did a bit of research online and instantly realized that I was looking at 30 bones or more for most of the popular models. The biggest problem with this is that most of what I encountered in the $30 range was made of plastic. My particular background happens to be in the plastics industry and I realize that while plastic may be good for some things, impact protection isnít really one of those. The metal units that I saw were either really expensive or overly heavy so I found myself in a bit of a bind until a buddy of mine suggested the BBG bash guard.
I checked it out online and found that it was a single piece of cut aluminum about 1/8Ē thick with all of the appropriate cutouts and holes to mount directly to my Shimano spider. The asking price was $12.00 plus $4.00 shipping and I figured hey, for that price itís certainly worth a try. They did offer a few designs that had some fancy cutouts but thanks to a bout of indecisiveness, I went with plain round silver.
I placed the order on a Wednesday and received it in on the following Friday. When I first got the lightweight package, I was convinced that the guy forgot to put the part in it. So I ripped in and, to my surprise, found that there was indeed a metal part in there. It just happened to weigh less than the 8Ē x 8Ē cardboard sleeve that it was shipped in!
The bash guard itself is either die-cut, laser cut, or water-jet cut aluminum. I tried to get the exact method from the company owner but he wasnít talkingÖnot really sure why. Maybe he thought I was asking for industrial espionage. Anyway, it is about as basic a part as you can probably imagine, it has no contours, no raised bosses, and no curves. Its just a plain flat round hunk of extremely light aluminum. I was a bit underwhelmed by the design, but for $12 you really canít expect a lot of flash and flair. The industrial designer in me was already hard at work redesigning the part on my way home but I gave up realizing that any contouring or countersinking would not only take away from the simplistic beauty of this thing, but would also jack the price way up.
Back at the house, the installation went more smoothly than any other upgrade that I have done to date. Drop the chain, pop the old ring off, and slip the bash guard on. All of the holes lined right up and there was plenty of room for the crank. I did spend a little bit of time tweaking my front derailleur so as to lock out the 3rd shifting location but that really wasnít that big a deal either.
As for riding, a bash guard isnít one of those things that you notice too much. Itís almost like the thingís not even there which is kind of the idea I suppose. I did of course gain about an inch of ground clearance, which gets me over most of trail obstacles and allows the bike to simply bounce right over the stuff that I canít clear. I have smacked it pretty hard on a few rock-garden crossings and have yet to see little more than a few scratches on the aluminum surface. The website says that they offer free replacement if you damage one and they havenít had to make good on that promise yet.
In short, this is the kind of great product that every industrialist hopes to come up with. Itís simple and durable and probably pretty inexpensive to make. It looks good on the bike and helps get the machine over the bumps. It does lack a bit of the flashiness that you find on a lot of bike bling but in the end I think that Iíd rather get a good simple product than a flashy piece of crap.
1/8Ē thick 5000 series aluminum (superlights are 1/16Ē)
104 dia. 32 tooth unit weighs in at 58 grams
Plain unfinished aluminum or color anodized with laser etched logo