77 Designz Freesolo – The World’s Lightest Chainguide?
Those of you with a good memory might remember the name 77 Designz. A few years back we saw them produce a beautiful, and extremely light direct mount stem, but then things went a bit quiet on the 77 Designz front. After a brief hiatus though the German company is back, and this time they’ve got a brand new chain device for trail/enduro use. Top only chain guides for 1×10 or 1×11 setups are nothing new, but this one stands out thanks to both its unique design, and incredibly low weight.
Yes those scales are reading correctly, this thing weighs in at just 20g, and that’s including all the mounting hardware. You might not even need the spacing washers! With a clutch rear mech and a narrow/wide chainring you might think that you don’t need a chainguide, and 99% of the time you probably don’t, but even with the best setups your chain can still come off occasionally. If you happen to be racing that could be disastrous, and even at the best of times it is still annoying, so we would always recommend running some form of top guide as a belt and braces approach. Riders who aren’t running one normally seem to be doing it for cost and weight reasons, but this thing really does weigh next to nothing, a small lump of mud would weigh more, and we think it is incredibly well priced, especially considering how nicely it is made and finished.
Part of the reason why 77 Designz have been able to make this so light is because they’ve come up with a unique (as far as we know) one-bolt design. Normally if you mounted a chainguide like this to just one of the ISCG bolts the whole thing would rotate of its own accord, but as you can see in the photo above this chainguide has little prongs at the bottom that make contact with your bottom cup, and therefore stop any rotation. Simple, but clever. Of course this only works if you have a conventional bottom bracket (both ISCG 05 and original ISCG are catered for), but fear not if you have a press fit bottom bracket because 77 Designz are also offering a two-bolt version for such situations, and at 27g it only weighs a little more. One that mounts to a high direct front mech mount is in the pipeline too, and if you want some bash protection then 77 Designz also produce a neat little ‘taco’ that attaches to the two remaining ISCG tabs. One of those will set you back £26.78 (weird pricing is due to exchange rates), and weighs just 37g.
All the various versions of this guide are made to work with a 28-34t chainring, as is the bash guard, and as you can see in the video below it’s incredibly easy to fit, you shouldn’t need to tinker with any other part aside from the chainguide itself.
Because this is a top only guide, once it is correctly fitted and aligned it causes no friction or noise, you won’t even notice it is there. Considering that fact, and that this weighs next to nothing and won’t break the bank, we think running one of these is a bit of a no brainer if you’re using a single ring on your trail/enduro bike. Is there anything we don’t like about it? Well yes there is just one slightly annoying thing and that is that for some stupid reason 77 Designz have decided to use a 4mm allen key bolt to mount the thing, and then a T20 torx key bolt to adjust the upper guide. It’s not even a bloody T25! Why companies can’t use one bolt type on their products is still a mystery to me. Anyway, that small annoyance aside, we really like this product.
Price: From £35.99