Product Courtesy of T3 Bike Gears
K-Edge Road Chain Catcher Review
Cyclists with geared bikes have all experienced the dreaded dropped chain. It is a minor inconvenience for some, a race-losing nightmare for others. With the advent of press-in bottom brackets on late-model carbon bike frames, an additional chain-drop bugbear has reared its head – scratched frames. We might have come a long way with chainstay protectors and alloy frame guards moulded into some brands of frames, but words can scarcely describe the heartache of chain-drop and thereafter discovering greasy chain scuffs and lacerations upon a moulded carbon-fibre bottom bracket.
For years, roadies have had to make-do with bent pieces of old spokes or wire coat hangers as chain catchers. These were unsightly; and depending on how they were bolted onto the frame, they were prone to interfering with front derailleur performance when shifting under heavy loads.
Seeing the dire need for a purpose-built, aesthetically-pleasing, and thoroughly reliable device that guards against chain-drop, the Aceco Sport Group introduced the K-Edge Chain Catcher. An end to dropped chains – and being dropped from the pack during a climb because you had to stop in frustration to put the chain back on? We simply had to find out.
The model under test was made for braze-on road front derailleurs. There is also a clamp-on version available, as well as another variant for triple-chainrings. According to the marketing blurb, K-Edge products are manufactured in Boise, Idaho USA. They are CNC machined from 6061 T6 aluminum and anodized with white logos on the front and the drive-side ramped surface. It comes with mounting hardware included: a star washer, flat washer and two different lengths of bolts (all in M5 size).
Based on feedback from bike shops, positioning of the chain catcher is simple and easily accomplished by the home-bound, multi-tool equiped bike enthusiast – although the packaging recommends that installation be performed by a professional bicycle mechanic. The basic idea is to get the K-Edge as close as possible to the chain (when it is on the small chainring) or chainring bolt without touching it. It has to be said that some frames might warrant a greater clearance due to frame flex issues.
Our test bike was a Wilier Triestina Imperiale (reviewed in an earlier article) outfitted with a Campagnolo groupset. Its massive 92mm integrated bottom bracket is svelte and stiff, but also prone to scratches from an errant chain. Riding with the K-Edge installed on this bike proved a ‘fit-and-forget’ affair. Rapid downshifting on sudden rises and on bumpy roads did not faze the little device. We purposely tweaked the limit screws on the fron derailleur to see how the K-Edge would hold up, and it did so very well. Preventing the chain from falling might be the job for an adept mechanic to perform, but in real-world conditions (where bumpy roads, flexing frames, and limit screws ‘self-adjusting’ themselves are the norm), little devices like the K-Edge leave the mind to worry about more important things – like beating your riding buddies over the next hill with a decisive gear shift and explosion of power to the pedals.
For the weight-conscious, let it be known that the K-Edge weighs in at a mere 10 grams without hardware. A small penalty to carry up the hills when the alternative could mean ugly scratches on one’s bottom bracket shell. Chain-drop is par for the course on extreme terrain faced by downhill and freeride bikes, but as Aceco also makes chain catchers for cyclocross bikes and mountain bikes, it definitely signifies the company’s ‘downhiller’s/freerider’s awareness’ of the practical problems faced by road and cross-country racing enthusiasts.
The K-Edge Road Braze-on Chain Catchers are available in Black, Red, Blue, Gold, White, and Gunmetal.
For more information about the K-Edge line of products, visit https://www.acecosportgroup.com/shop/ .