Shovel Components Eighty8 Enduro Chainguide

Vital Rating: (Excellent)
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Shovel Components Eighty8 Enduro Chainguide (black)
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Tested: Shovel Components Chainguides

Lightweight and minimalist, Shovel's line of chainguides will keep your chain on and your chainring safe without breaking the bank.

Rating: Vital Review

Croatia put itself on the mountain bike map with the recent World Cup race held on the beautiful island of Losinj, and as it turns out, the locals are getting into the component manufacturing game as well. Shovel Components is a relatively young brand specializing in chain retention solutions, and when their catalog popped onto our radar a while back, we decided to put their goods to the test. Read on to find out how we got along.

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Very light weight
  • Open design allows installation without crank removal
  • Breakaway stress relief points help protect frame from damage to ISCG05 tabs
  • Top guide block is very small, could be more effective if made bigger
  • Only supports ISCG05 mounting system
  • One size fits all approach is less versatile

Shovel Components Eighty8 Enduro

Croatia put itself on the mountain bike map with the recent World Cup race held on the beautiful island of Losinj, and as it turns out, the locals are getting into the component manufacturing game as well. Shovel Components is a relatively young brand specializing in chain retention solutions, and when their catalog popped onto our radar a while back, we decided to put their goods to the test. Read on to find out how we got along.

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Very light weight
  • Open design allows installation without crank removal
  • Breakaway stress relief points help protect frame from damage to ISCG05 tabs
  • Top guide block is very small, could be more effective if made bigger
  • Only supports ISCG05 mounting system
  • One size fits all approach is less versatile

Shovel Components Eighty8 Enduro Chainguide Highlights

  • Chain ring range: 28-34T Regular, 28-32T Oval
  • ISCG05 mount system
  • Aluminium 7075 T651 backplate. Two point of stress relief directed from taco to backplate ensures maximum absorption of impact, keeping ISCG tabs safe and undamaged.
  • Minimalist top guide design, oval chainring compatible.
  • Titanium Grade 5 bolts
  • Reversed “C” design allows installation/replacement of chain guide without removing the cranks.
  • Package includes: Shovel Eighty8 chain guide, 6 titanium mounting bolts of different length, spacers, instruction manual, stickers
  • Weight: 70 grams (verified)
  • MSRP: EUR 79.90

Initial Impressions

Chainguides have been getting progressively smaller and more unobtrusive as drive trains have been getting progressively better. These days, thanks to narrow/wide chainrings and clutched derailleurs, it is entirely possible to run your trail or enduro bike without a guide, but many still prefer the added peace of mind that extra chain retention brings. With their minimalist design and light weight, Shovel’s line of guides is right in time.

Shovel does all of its manufacturing in Croatia, and they deliver worldwide either through their network of distributors or directly via their website. The packaging mimics the product design – lightweight and low profile, which allows Shovel to keep worldwide shipping costs down as well.

Pulling the guides from their wrapping, we were met by functional design and good manufacturing quality. We were immediately struck by just how light these guides are, which reminded us of how not so many years ago a chainguide was a hefty, cumbersome affair that often included a lower roller guide that would leave your drivetrain feeling like you were pushing your pedals though syrup. Progress is always a good thing. Shovel’s Eighty8 guide tipped the scales at just 70 grams, including a bash guard, while the upper guide-only Twenty9 weighed in at a ridiculous 28 grams. Carbon backplate versions drop another few grams, if you really want to take it to the limit.

Shovel’s designs are simple but well executed. The backplates feature a “reverse C” design that leaves one side open, which allows the guides to be installed without having to remove the crank. The small top block is held in place by a simple through-bolt and nut. The hardware is titanium, and there are two different lengths of mounting bolts available to ensure you can run as many spacers as you need to align the guide to your drivetrain. The lower bashguard on the Eighty8 is held in place by two bolts that are designed to break away before any damage can be caused to the ISCG tabs. All the guides are designed for ISCG05 exclusively, and there is only one size available – it matches the most common chain ring sizes found on today’s trail and enduro bikes.

On The Trail

Installing a chainguide is always a slightly finicky affair, as different chainlines and frame designs mean that it’s never really plug and play. That’s why the open design of Shovel’s backplates is a particularly nice feature, as it allows you to go about experimenting with the number of washers you need without having to pull the crank each time. Once the correct number of spacers has been determined, you just have to rotate the guide to the optimal position, making sure to test your work both in the highest and lowest gear to check for potential chain rub. Note that Shovel only makes one version of the backplates available, which in our case meant we had to run quite a few spacers between the frame tabs and the guide to position it properly over our Boost chainring (which pushes the chainline 3mm further outboard compared to a regular chainring). This depends entirely on how your frame manufacturer has chosen to go about designing the drivetrain and implementing the ISCG05 tabs.

On the trail, the Shovel chainguides know how to make themselves forgotten. We tested both the Eighty8 guide/bash and the carbon enduro guide-only versions, and they have both been running smooth for a couple of months on two different bikes under two different riders. Once dialed in, they are completely silent. We dropped a chain with the Eighty8 guide just once, when the chain managed to wrestle its way past the guide block somehow, but nothing broke and we were able to put the chain back on and keep going with the test.

We’ve also put the bashguard to the test, slapping it into various rocks and other assorted obstacles with good success. Aside from the scrape marks, the bash is holding strong as is the backplate. Note that all the peripheral parts are available to purchase from Shovel for easy replacement should you break anything.

Things That Could Be Improved

The minimalist top guide block gets the job done in the majority of cases, and we only had one instance of the chain managing to squeeze its way off the chainring during more than three months of testing. Still, a longer, fully enclosed guide block (like the one found on Shovel’s own DH guide) would completely remedy the problem, although those are more difficult to set up for silent running with a wide-range cassette.

Shovel decided to only support the ISCG05 standard with their line of guides, and whilst this certainly covers the majority of bikes being made today, it will still leave some people without a solution. We also think that making a dedicated backplate for boost vs. non-boost frames/drivetrains would ultimately be a cleaner solution compared to running a stack of spacers, but we don’t know of any other manufacturer who does this so it’s probably not worthwhile or realistic. As a side note, the bike industry could always make this problem go away by simply tightening up the ISCG05 spec and going with a single standard…(yeah, right). A final point about the one size fits all approach: yes, most trail and enduro bikes will have a chain ring between 28-34T, but some riders still like to push their legs with a 36 or even a 38. Those riders will have to look elsewhere.

Long Term Durability

We’ve had two versions of Shovel’s chainguides running on two bikes under two riders for 3.5 months now, and both have held up great. We only have one instance of a dropped chain to report, and neither of the guides are showing any signs of premature wear and tear. The bashguard portion of the Eighty8 guide is a bit scuffed up by now of course, but there’s plenty of life left in it and crucially, the backplate is still straight as an arrow. All told, it looks like you should be able to expect a long service life from your Shovel chainguide.

What’s The Bottom Line?

There is no shortage of good chainguide solutions on the market today, but Shovel stands out with particularly low weights and a clean, minimalist approach to design. With a multitude of different versions to choose from, Shovel’s well-designed components will keep your chain on and your chainring safe – and they will do so without breaking the bank.

More information at: shovel.bike.


About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord - Age: 45 // Years Riding MTB: 13 // Weight: 190-pounds (86kg) // Height: 6'0" (1.84m)

Johan loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 200-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.

Photos by Nils Hjord and Johan Hjord

Specifications

Product Shovel Components Eighty8 Enduro Chainguide
Riding Type Downhill, Enduro / All-Mountain, Freeride / Bike Park, Trail
Material Aluminum 7075 backplate with PA plastic taco and titanium bolts
Speeds 1x
Tooth Range
  • 28-34
  • 28-32
Mounting Type ISCG-05
Bash Protection Yes
Colors Black, Blue, Green, Red, and Titanium
Weight 0 lb 2.5 oz (70 g)
Miscellaneous Use with Fat/Slim chainrings as an extra safety feature
Reversed "C" design allows riders to replace chainguide without removing the cranks
Titanium Grade 5 bolts are used in all Shovel Components chainguides
Compatible with oval chainrings
Package includes: Shovel Eighty8 chainguide, 3 titanium mounting bolts, spacers, instruction manual, stickers
Price: €79.90
Price $93.90
More Info

The Eighty8 Enduro chainguide is designed specifically for enduro and heavy gravity tracks. With the same design as the Enduro Carbon chainguide, the Eighty8 is more affordable with its aluminum 7075 T651 backplate.

For more info, visit the Shovel Components website.

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