Spot Bash Gaurd
The Guys and Gals at The Bicycle Escape are quite fond of running a bash guard in place of the big ring on our mountain bikes. Recently we documented one of the installations (on Danielle’s bike). The benefits of a bash guard are: increased clearance, a tighter chain, and protection for your chain and rings.
After the installation Danielle increased her clearance by 34mm (about 1 3/8” for the metrically challenged). Since the big ring was removed we were able to take 3 links from the chain and still accommodate the two largest rings. Because she used a light weight Spot Brand bash guard, the weight of the bike was almost unaffected by this modification (she saved .04 lbs).
Riding at Gambrill and the Frederick Watershed (our usual stomping ground) we do not find the big ring necessary. If you are considering installing a bash guard on your bike first determine if you ever use your big ring. This modification is not for everyone. However, if your big ring causes you to sin (or stumble) cut it off!