Retro: Dave’s Chain Device (DCD) – a ’90s classic that’s back from the dead

In a simpler time before bashguards, chain guides and clutch-equipped rear mechs, when anodised purple ruled the Earth and 100mm of suspension travel was considered way too much, the Dave’s Chain Device was a must-have for any self-respecting MTBer.

Designed by Pete ‘Mr Crud’ Tomkins for UK racer Dave Hemming, it found its way onto the bikes of top pros like Greg Herbold, John Tomac and Hans Rey – despite the fact its nylon pulley made a really annoying rumbling noise and it didn’t always stop your chain falling off.

Eventually, the arrival of more effective devices from the likes of MRP sent it on its way to the great dustbin of obsolete bike bits. But the design is now making a comeback – both Bionicon’s C.Guide V.02 and Specialized’s Grappler are clear descendants of the DCD.

Designed for use with triple chainsets or on bikes that don’t have the mounting points for a standard chain device (no ISCG mounts, press-fit BB), they’re smaller and lighter than the original but basically do the same job. The DCD is dead – long live the DCD!

Specialized Dangler chain device. Picture by Matt Pacocha

Specialized's Dangler is only supplied with complete bikes

Bionicon C.Guide V.02. Picture by Russell Burton

Bionicon's C.Guide V.02, on the other hand, is available aftermarket, for around £40/US$50

Did the DCD kickstart your passion for downhill, or do you wish it had never been invented? Let us know in the comments box below.