The Making of Eclat’s AK Sprocket

When it came to designing the AK sprocket and guard, one of the most important aspects of the design was to come up with a good simple and strong connection between the two.

We worked on several different concepts in the primary stages, and in the end we created a combination system using 4-bolts to hold the guard in place but equally as important, sinking the guard down into the sprocket. 

To have the guard set into the sprocket makes it not only possible to make the plastic guard thicker but it also makes the Aluminum sprocket support the plastic guard all the way around. Instead of only four small bolt holes taking up the forces put into the guard a much larger surface area is in contact with the guard at all times.

When it came down to picking the right material for the guard we tried several different options. In the end we opted for he same kind of Nylon/Fibreglass compound used in our Venom peg sleeves. It has the perfect combination of strength, flex, and durability and has proven to slide good on all surfaces.

The original 3D printed plastic RP sample of the guard, early 2015.

The Aluminum sprocket itself was not forgotten. The 8mm thick sprocket has extensive machining on both sides optimizing it’s strength to weight ratio and creating a truly unique look.

The sprocket itself has no threads that can be stripped on the connection points but instead using recessed nuts on the backside that is easy to replace if needed.

After extensive testing the benefits of the system were clear, it slides better when rubbing on grinds, it’s lighter, you can rotate the guard for longer life and switch it when it gets worn down, all this while being more affordable than most guard sprockets.

AK holding his signature AK guard sprocket.

Alex Kennedy

So you’re signature Guard sprocket recently dropped worldwide, you must be real excited right?

Yeah I’ very happy with the final product and I’m really excited that it’s finally available to anybody who likes the look of it.

First plastic pedals, and now a plastic sprocket guard, your signature products follow a bit of a theme. How did the idea for the guard come about?

Yes with both the pedals and sprocket we were going for parts that are lightweight yet still durable with the ability to slide and grind, the Nylon Fibreglass we use for both is perfect for this. I first switched to a guard sprocket when I first got on éclat, and then shortly after we started talking about signature parts and it was something I wanted to explore further. I wanted the chain protection to allow for more grinds, and that’s what the guard helps you do.

AK Guard on AK’s bike.

What were your first impressions when you saw the original design?

As soon as I saw the first guard I really loved how solid and compact it looked.

How long did you run the first sample? Explain some of the abuse you put it through in that time? 

I was running the first sample for around 6 months, before upgrading to a fresh one when I built up a new bike. I really tried to ride it as much as I could. I was putting it through some hard disasters and switch crank arms, tricks where you really hit the sprocket and it slid really well.

Alex Kennedy’s personal ride.

Learnt any cool new stuff with it?

Yes, I’ve been trying to dial in Frontside crank arms and some new disaster combos!

Do you feel like by riding a plastic guard it’s opened up new riding possibilities?

Sure it’s just really nice to have freedom to do new tricks without worrying. about breaking a chain or getting stuck.

Dillon Lloyd

The original CNC’d AK Guard prototype that Dillon Lloyd put through hell for over 1 year.

So you got the honour of testing one of the very first samples of the AK Guard. What were your first thoughts when we gave it to you?

My first impressions, I was honestly super into the way it looked. Right away I thought it looked way stronger than anything else I’d seen before because of how thick the plastic was. I like the beefy look of parts and the AK Guard looked really beefy! I like looking at parts and knowing I can trust them just by looking at them, and I got that right away. It looked unique, not like everything else I had ever ridden which made it exciting. I was really into the fact it was plastic. Skaters hate bikes in a lot of places because they have metal parts, and now that every part of my bike that would hit a rail/ledge is plastic, they have no reason to get mad.

How long did you run the first sample? Explain some of the abuse you put it through in that time?

I got given the guard whilst I was over in Germany visiting éclat a little over year ago. Dave at éclat actually told me to try my hardest to break it, and I honestly I tried to kill it as hard as I could. I sprocket chunked over everything I could find, I landed sprocket first onto of rails so many times and it was still in perfect shape a year later. One time I tried to go sprocket to over on a double coping spine. I forgot the guard was plastic and I actually sprocket slid the spine like a boardslide on a skateboard, and ate it super hard into the floor. That hurt like hell but the sprocket was still fine.

What were everyone’s reactions to the sample you had?

When I first showed up back in Canada, everyone loved it. I kept getting asked what it was and when is it was out. Everyone that saw it got super excited and wanted to buy one. I guess it’s just one of those parts that just makes sense to you the second you see it.

Do you feel like it’s opened up new possibilities?

Yeah, it’s really helped with oppo crooks, simply because you wont catch and stick to the rail if your sprocket hits, it will just slip out or put you back in the right position which is way better. I’ve learnt a lot of new crooked tricks since I put on the first AK Guard sample, just because it’s given me that extra confidence.

Is the AK Guard Canadian Beast approved?

Most certainly.

The sunken adaptors in the back of the AK guard allow it to fit all sizes of cranks and keeps your chain line centred.

Jordan Godwin

How long have you ridden it?
I’ve had one since I built up my new bike around 2 months ago I think.

What were your first impressions?

To be honest when I first got it, I really thought it was going to break and chip but it’s really blown me away. This thing is bullet proof. I’ve smashed it and grinded it to hell and other than a little bit of wear it’s 100% fine, no chips, nothing. It’s a super strong sprocket.

Do you feel like it’s opened up new possibilities?

Yeah for sure. I mean the plastic just slides where as an alloy guard would stick. It really helps on Switch backwards crookeds. My sprocket always rubs on that trick, and has caused me to stick to the rail and crash so many times with an alloy guard. With the AK Guard, the sprocket just slides over the rail and avoids that problem completely. Also on Crankarms and switch cranks, if you mess up you just slide off the rail; rather than getting stuck. It makes me feel way more confident with those tricks, which is great because I love doing them and seeing what else I can add to them.

Learnt any cool tricks with it?

Well not really, it’s more or less helped me perfect a lot of the tricks I was kind of scared to do before, but I can see it happening that I learn some new ones. I really should try some wild stuff on it like sprocket grinds haha

Can you see your self-switching back?

No way. Plastic is better.

AK Guard Specs

Material
6061-T6 alloy, full cnc sprocket and nylon/fibreglass replaceable guard

Size
25t

Thickness
8mm thick sprocket, 10mm thick guard

Axlebore
23.8mm

Colors
black

Features
sinked adapter for better chain alignment / runs on 24, 22 and 19mm spindle / super durable, replaceable nylon/fibreglass guard allows for friction free grinding / compatible with Eclat Maverick crank

Weight
25t: 150g (5.29oz)