How-to: Protect my sprocket from failed grinds, for cheap!

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7/28/2014 6:21 PM
Edited Date/Time: 7/28/2014 6:24 PM

I ride a pretty basic 25t, crank-driven, generic (United) sprocket, and am mashing the thing on failed feeble grinds. What's the cheapest approach to protect my chain and, less importantly, my sprocket? (chain is far more important, though it's a cheaper replacement, because I'll gladly throw away sprockets if I can reduce chances of broken chains & slammed knees on my stem!)

I have a drive-side hub guard, and a beauty of a kmc chain (a nickel 510, cuz no 710's at my LBS sad ), and am realizing quickly that I'm going to ruin my sprocket and/or my chain, so I need something to protect them - either an add-on sprocket guard (I think the shadow guard, at $32 shipped, is the smartest here: ), or an entirely new sprocket that already protects its teeth, and Sunday's 'knox' sprocket seemed the best deal ($60 shipped):


- should I skimp out on buying the new sprocket, and just add a sprocket-guard to my current sprocket? I like that the fully-protected sprockets have full-circumference protection, but I do tend to do most of my grinds w/ my pedals in same spot, so a half-sprocket guard, like Shadow's, should probably do the trick. I wonder if the bolt-on puts more leverage on my OEM sprocket? I don't mind paying more for a new sprocket, if it's worth it; i'd rather only buy what is needed though, so if a sprocket guard is most of the battle, and half the price, that's what I need!

- Are there any brands/prices/products i'm missing? It looks like i'll spend $32 on a decent sprocket-guard that protects half the teeth, and ~$60 on a new sprocket that has entire-tooth coverage built-in... are there brands, stores or alternatives I'm missing?
[also, if anyone's done a step-up in gear ratio from 25:9 to 28:9, what was your thoughts on it? I really almost fear a higher gear ratio because i'm very chicken-shit over snapped chains on bmx's, too many bad experiences... but, at the same time, I HATE my low 25:9 gear ratio, it feels silly-weak, but i just tell myself it's gentler on the drivetrain! Maybe going w/ a 28:9 setup w/ an integral, fully-guarded sprocket, and throw a 710 kmc on there, would be worth the costs for the peace of mind? I'm pretty clueless on this, as i've only ridden 25:9 setups in my life and have always dealt w/ broken chains and mashed sprocket-teeth on my old rides, but I wanna do it right this time if it won't cost an arm&leg!

Thanks in advance for any replies, tips, thoughts, whatever! All I know is that, now, i'm hesitating on grinds because i nail my sprocket in like a third of my failed feeble grinds, and the hesitation is making me fail more often!


7/28/2014 6:23 PM

[OR, would the best long-term solution be to just go LHD? I like that idea, but that's very expensive to swap my hub & a crank-arm, and i don't know that I think moving it 3" out of the way will protect it that well... i know it'll help, but i'd imagine a sprocket guard would be more protective than an unprotected LHD sprocket, and doing LHD w/ sprocket guards is totally out of the q (financially... I'd sooner sell my bike and start anew than swap that many parts when my bike's practically new]


7/30/2014 5:21 AM

Wouldn't buying an Odyssey Million Dollar Sprocket help protect you sprockets in the future so that you won't have to get new ones everytime you hit it. No idea about the chain though...


9/2/2014 10:38 PM

They do make some sprockets with gaurds, shadow has some nice ones. Otherwise look for a stiff thick sprocket and a good chain. Interlock 2 or you can wait for the interlock supreme that should be released this fall. Profile has some solid sprockets. also the madera helm is pretty solid. I have the Shadow Motus on right now and its great. Ive always rode 25/9 gears, I like it because I can get speed quickly. Anything higher makes my legs tired to fast.


9/2/2014 10:40 PM

It's a matter of getting a guard sprocket and having that last for years on end unless you do drop grinds and miss often. Separate sprocket guards are just a cheaper option, but for the most part, just get a regular guard sprocket. You won't regret it.


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9/13/2014 4:21 PM

appreciate the replies. am looking at the subrosa magnum, fit keyguard, and sunday knox. all are almost same price, so just gotta bite the bullet and splurge, lol.
Main thing now is how many teeth i want, cuz 25:9 is farrrr too light and i'm hating it, but have only 1 friend who rides stronger ratio (28:9) and i wanna try a 30 before choosing whether 28 or 30 is best. need to get my ass to a skatepark soon to try someone's w/ a 30 if i'm lucky