It’s been said by many people that the longer you stay involved in the world of BMX, the more often you’ll notice that trends are cyclical. For riders who joined the game in the last 5-10 years, many are dumbfounded that midschoolers used to cruise around on 40lb overbuilt behemoths, and I shared that same sentiment when I heard my 80’s predecessors rode thin-tubed, mag-wheeled bikes with 9″ bars; the point I’m trying to make here is that there are certain traits of a BMX bike that make sense for certain typesof riders/terrain, but the technology and materials weren’t always up to par to handle what people could dish out. Sprocket guards first hit the streets in the late 80’s, with Havoc being the first one to really make waves in the world of street riding. During the mid-school resurgence, plenty of companies made lexan and aluminum guards to protect the moped chains that we all felt we needed, and with every 14 year old figuring out crooked & crank arm grinds within their first year on a 20″, guard sprockets are once again back in style. Since you’re gonna bash the hell out of it anyway, you probably don’t want to drop upwards of $70 on gearing, right? Shadow has those budget-conscious grinders covered with their new Sabotage guard sprocket.
The Sabotage guard sprocket from Shadow, at first glance, is pretty clearly an homage to the Havoc guard that I talked about previously, and Shadow themselves are not shy to mention where their influences came from. The grinds that benefitted from a plastic guard in the 80’s have evolved exponentially in the new millenium, and so has the idea of a guard sprocket itself. There are numerous built-in full guard sprocket opens available as well, but to me, the bolt-on plastic guard makes the most sense. Think about it – aluminum pegs, even though they exist, are not and never will be the preferred material for grinds, as it’s a softer metal that tends to stick much easier than chromoly (and certainly plastic). Every single guard sprocket on the market is aluminum, and although it will protect your chain, an aluminum guard can only slow you down. The Sabotage takes the Sprocket Pocket to the next level with a modern PC material, designed to absorb impact and withstand grinds while still protecting your chain & teeth, but because it’s removable, you can rotate it like you would any PC peg sleeve, and replace it when needed at a much lower price than a completely new sprocket. A guard is only as good as the sprocket that powers it, so Shadow have chosen a 6061-T6 design that’s 5mm thick, making it strong while still keeping it affordable. One other detail worth mentioning – the Sabotage is just a bit wider than most guards out there, so if you’ve had any trouble running a Shadow Interlock or Supreme chain on your current setup, you’ll have no issues anymore.
The Shadow Sabotage guard sprocket is available now at all Shadow Conspiracy retailers, and straight from their Longwood warehouse via their webstore. I mentioned the economics of this whole deal quite a bit, and I wasn’t lying when I said the Sabotage was affordable – the MSRP on this thing is only $34.99, while the replacement guard will only set you back $7.99. The Sabotage is available in a wide variety of occasionally varying colorways, but the tooth size remains steadfast at 25t, because anything bigger would get in the way, right? I wouldn’t know, I still can’t figure out crooked grinds with my baby sprocket anyway…. Oh yes, I can’t fail to mention that you can learn all about the full lineup of Shadow products over at TheShadowConspiracy.com, and be sure to follow the brand on Instagram @theshadowconspiracy.