Based in Littleton, Colorado, Paradigm Cycle Works is a small company with some big aspirations. Seeking to “design, manufacture, and sell the most innovative and reliable mountain bike components,” Paradigm Cycle Works also wants to keep production within the state of Colorado. You’ve seen their Guck Guard fender which works quite well, but designing a fender is far less complicated than a functional chain guide with an integrated bash guard. It’s even more complicated when you set out to make it one of the lightest guides available which certainly caught our attention…
Continuing with their mission statement, the Bash Guide is proudly made in Colorado. Starting with an aluminum back plate that’s machined to fit ISCG 05 mounting tabs, a special polymer is used for the upper guide and lower skid plate. Sold in three different configurations, each includes a skid plate that is specifically sized for either 30t, 34t, or 36t or smaller chain rings. In order to get the weight down as low as possible, the back of the skid plate has been machined in a way that keeps the strength with less weight. The upper guide is easily adjustable with a 4mm allen wrench and the guide slides up or down to fit 30-36t chainrings and out of the way to swap rings or pull the crank.
Tested in the 34t configuration, the weight is exactly as claimed at 76g without mounting hardware. The included stainless steel hardware is the same 4mm hex as the upper guide bolt, and six spacers are included for spacing out the guide plate for Boost or non-Boost spacing.
On our test Santa Cruz Bronson with an X01 Eagle drivetrain, one spacer for each bolt was sufficient to position the guide in a way that wouldn’t rub in any gear. Like many of these chain guides that use an open back plate, installation is a breeze – and can usually be done without removing the crank. You have to use a little finesse to get the washers behind the bolt as you install them, but it can be done and I had the guide bolted up in less than 10 minutes. Large windows in the mounting locations allow you to rotate the guide so that the skid plate and the guide are in the ideal spot.
Admittedly, after 1x rings made dropped chains (mostly) a thing of the past, I’ve mostly been riding without guides or bash guards – but a recent experience with SRAM Eagle has me rethinking that. Recently on a ride in Sedona I noticed the Eagle chain on the Intense that I was riding was skipping, and closer inspection revealed a stiff link. A little different than the typical stiff link though, this one was caused by the outer and inner plates becoming deformed from what looked like a possible rock strike. It’s hard to say what actually caused it since this was a demo bike that had been ridden by multiple journalists over the course of a week, but if the damage was caused by a rock strike to the chainring, a bash guard like this one would be cheap insurance. It’s worth noting that there was no fixing the damage to the chain on that bike short of cutting out the damaged link and adding a new Power Lock chain connector, as all the usual stiff link field repairs did nothing.
Because of that, I think I’ll be more likely to run products like the Bash Guide in the future, especially on bikes that see more aggressive terrain. As for Paradigm’s take on the Bash Guide, there’s a lot to like. It’s light weight, easy to mount and adjust, and does exactly what it’s intended to do. And priced at $94.99 for a product that’s made in the USA, it seems like a pretty good value as well.