I’ve recently stuck the MRP S4 bash guard on my bike to replace my Blackspire Ring God, so far it is very, very difficult to find any difference whatsoever between the two. There are a couple of things that you will notice straight away, and others that you might have to go through some pretty unique circumstances to find. To make it easier for you, we’ve thrown together this comparison:
MRP S4 vs. Blackspire Ring God
The basic specs are very similar – they both work from a 104mm bolt pattern and as such they are literally identical to fit. They both weigh roughly the same, at around 90g (for any of you weight conscious bikers out there) however the MRP feels a bit more robust than the Canadian counterpart. In terms of practical design there really isn’t much between the two, however there are some differences such as:
- The Blackspire comes in four different colours black, red, blue and white.
- The MRP is only available in black and white.
- Blackspire is smooth on both sides, with moulded logo graphics – easy to clean and repels gunk.
- The MRP is engraved, with the back having many holes in it – very annoying to clean and can pick up mud.
- The Blackspire can be found for about £5 cheaper.
I’ve used both these products on my bikes for a couple of months – admittedly I’ve ridden for a slightly longer time with the Blackspire than the MRP, but I’ve covered the same trails at the same type of pace. If you read the previous Grinding Gears review of the Blackspire you’ll know that I rated it really well, except that it split after a few months of hard riding. Well, I rate the MRP slightly better mainly because it feel much hardier due to the thicker plastic around the bolt holes. The bolts that come with the MRP are very sturdy and come with washers to reduce the rubbing and strain on all the bits and pieces.
Yes, it may be much more difficult to thoroughly clean, but the mud build up has not affected any of the riding I’ve done at all. And I’ve been on some VERY muddy rides! The plane Jane design really appeals to me, as I don’t think it’s trying to be anything it isn’t – this isn’t a decorative part, it is something designed to take the brunt of impact off your chainrings.
When you put the two bash guards side-by-side it can be very difficult to see how one has any standing over the other. I’m not going to be a complete weight snob or penny pincher and work it out by which one is lightest or cheapest, I’ll just say that when you run both these bash guards like I have you are going to come out with a preference.
For us the real winner of the MRP S4 vs Blackspire Ring God is without a doubt the MRP. It feels much sturdier and can take the full impact of almost anything you hit – including rocks, tree stumps, roots and muddy banks. This is a very hardy chain guard that is definitely worth the extra £5 and additional weight for the added durability you need to feel confident on the rockiest of terrain.