When Raw Silence, a brand new start up, reached out to me and asked me to take a look at their Chain Guard Kit a mate of mine had just picked up his very first mountain bike. Alas, it didn’t come with chainstay protection so this seemed like the ideal chance to stick it to his bike and have him ride about to test the difference. Perfect. I’d have done it myself but the Bronson already has protection and, quite honestly, I didn’t fancy the faff of removing one to replace with another, although Raw Silence do say that this can be stuck to existing protection for “an extra quiet ride”.
Whilst I waited for the chance to pop it on the unsuspecting friend’s bike, I decided to hop on the Raw Silence website and have a look. At the time, their pre-order was retailing at £15.99. A quick look on Chain Reaction showed me chainstay protection in the region from a fiver to a tenner depending on your bike. Generic chainstay protection came mostly in the form of those fabric wrap-arounds (the ones that MBUK give away every blummin’ year). Protection for the paint, no doubt, but not an awful lot of silencing the chain slap. The bike-specific options were ten of your finest British pounds but, of course, were pre-moulded to fit the shape of your bikes frame. I guess there’s also the ‘get an old inner tube and some zip ties’ route too but CRC seemed to be out of stock of those. Raw Silence’s protection comes in the form of two adhesive velcro strips which would, in theory and possibly with some scissor skills, fit any bike. Maybe that’s worth the extra bit of cash.
The chain guard kit, or R1 Pro Chain Guard as they’re calling it, is a triple combination of an adhesive layer, velcro, and a rubbery-plastic compound on the top. The rubbery bit is actually attached via the little hooks for velcro so can be removed if you really wanted to… although I’m not sure why you would. The two strips provided are easy to attach by simply peeling away and sticking down. There’s nothing more to it. One for the top of the chainstay, one for the bottom, although we didn’t take scissors so didn’t bother with the bottom. The idea is that all of that chain slap is then shushed and lost in the squishing of the velcro. It’s the same principle that Matt Walker uses and showed in a recent video on the Live To Ride channel; the same except this version also has the rubber on top.
In the real world, this works rather well. There’s obviously an improved level of protection for the bike’s paintwork but the real question is does this remove the noise? Simply, yes. At least, as much as we noticed when riding around doing our best downhill racer impressions. Standing with the bike and dropping the back wheel to the ground was as scientific as we could make the tests but we found very little noise was getting away from the bike, and what was escaping was mostly down to the cables rattling about – and that’s not Raw Silence’s problem.
One final thing to note is the simple, no nonsense packaging that this came in. A folded bit of printed card with the two strips poking through. I really like that. No silly bits of extra plastic or a multitude of unnecessary bags; just a simple packaging executed right.
In fact, I think the whole thing is just that. Simplicity done right. And quietly.