Friday, May 16, 2014

Widget Review: The N-Gear Jump Stop

This is one of those reviews I've been meaning to write for a while, but the widget in question does such a good job so unobtrusively, I honestly forgot it was there.

At the end of last season, I started having intermittent chain-drop problems on my Clubman with its 50-34 compact crank. 16 teeth is a tough shift, even with all machining, ramping, pinning and shaping that goes into modern chainrings and front derailleur cages. As a result, I'd sometimes find myself shooting for the 34-tooth chainring and ending up on the zero-tooth bottom bracket, even with my Yoda-like mystical powers of front derailleur adjustment.

I don't even remember why I had a Jump Stop in my parts pile -- which probably says something about my parts hoarding problem. But I dug it out, figured maybe it would help, and slapped it on. I didn't even have the instructions to offer guidance on how to position it and was too lazy to consult the Oracle of Internets. I just took a best guess and started riding.

That was literally -- yes, I literally mean literally -- the last time I threw the chain on that bike. I'm so confident that I'm taunting the Chain Drop Deity. The Jump Stop cost twelve whole bucks shipped to my door, added a pittance of grams to my bike, doesn't even show unless you're looking for it, and makes no noise except the occasional "ping" when an awkward shift hits it, which is just the happy sound of a derailment prevented.

Normally, I'd throw an Amazon link in here and maybe get my beak wet a little (a tiny fraction of twelve bucks at a time), but in this case, if you want one, go straight to the source at the N-Gear website, from whence I borrowed this image of the Jump Stop in action on a shiny blue bike:

I love the N-Gear site almost as much as the Jump Stop itself. Remember the Days of Web Past, with tiled background images, unstyled text, just a handful of pages, and straight-up HTML that looks like something I coded? They live on at N-Gear. (Please note: Unlike my usual default sarcasm mode, I am not making fun. I really do like this stuff. In fact, some of the best bike information on the net comes in the form of some pretty old-school coding by the late, great Sheldon Brown.)

The other great reason to go straight to the N-Gear source is the honesty. The author goes into great depth on the different types of chain guides, and while he's obviously fond of his own design, he readily admits that it might not be the best for all applications. I mean, who puts the question "Is the Jump Stop the best chain guide out there?" on their FAQ page and answers it with, "Depends on what you need"? And, in the days of e-commerce run amok, who sends you their product based on an email or phone call and tells you to send a check if you like it or send it back if you don't?

For that refreshing lack of marketing nonsense and for your nifty widget, I hope you live long and prosper, Jump Stop Guy.

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