The Token Chain Drop Catcher is an inexpensive tool that eliminates the problem of crunching your chain expensively into the bike frame. It comes in four colours, doesn't cost much, and works.
- Pros: It works, it's not much money and could save expensive damage
- Cons: No fitting instructions; can't be adjusted for height against the chainring; only compatible with braze-on front mechs
We've all dropped a chain – in Andy Schleck's case it nearly cost him a Tour de France victory. If he'd had the Token Chain Drop Catcher it might have changed the course of history.
A chain catcher is a simple tool that makes it impossible for the chain to fall off the small ring into the frame. Most of the time this is a harmless annoyance, but it can do real damage to the frame, particularly on carbon fibre bikes.
Token's own example has been around a good while. A little internet research reveals hundreds of satisfied users. If there was a criticism it was that the anodised alloy mounting bolt was too soft and inclined to round off when being tightened. I had no such trouble with mine, so it may be that the latest iteration includes an upgraded bolt.
It also comes in four colours – red, gold, black and blue. If you're finding it also being offered in silver this may be the previous, allegedly cheese-bolted version, but this is speculation (we've asked the distributor for clarification).
The packet includes two lengths of bolt and some mounting washers, but no instructions. I found a helpful YouTube video that showed how the finished job should look. Essentially, though, it's a matter of replacing your present front mech mounting bolt and installing the catcher between the braze-on mount and washers. If you have a band-fitting mech you are out of luck, unless yours is the kind that's actually a braze-on mech mounted onto an adapter for frames that don't have a brazed-on mount.
Fitting is fairly simple, if you are confident about setting up your front mech correctly. It's easier if you disconnect the cable. The only tricky bit is getting both the mech and the chain catcher correctly positioned and keeping them there while you tighten the bolt.
I used it on a chainset with a 34-tooth inner ring and it was positioned perfectly to stop the chain being able to move any further to the left. If you use it with a bigger inner ring you may find the business end of the catcher sits a little lower than the teeth, which might make it less effective at preventing the chain coming off but would still stop it dropping into the frame. Because the mounting bolt goes through a circular hole, there's no scope for vertical adjustment in that respect, which is one small drawback of the Token product.
You can get adjustable ones – Rotor's, for example, but it'll set you back around £18 – or Praxis Works' Chain Guide, but that has an rrp of £40! That makes the Token look okay value – though you can pick up simple non-adustable ones for less than £4.
In use the Token worked faultlessly. My chainset is inclined to drop the chain once every hundred shifts or so, usually when I've done something clumsy. I road-tested it in some very demanding terrain, including both directions over the Bealach na Ba in northwest Scotland, and had no trouble.
A tidy tool for very little money that offers peace-of-mind protection for expensive frames
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Token Chain Drop Catcher For Road
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Token says, "At only 6 grams, the Prime chain catcher prevents the chain from damaging your frame when the chain falls off the rings of your road bike. It may be a simple piece of metal but it could save you a lot of tears and the cost of a new frame. Simply attach it to the front of your derailleur with the supplied bolt, which comes in a matching colour, and hit the roughest roads you want - without fear! The chain catcher is available for double and triple chainrings."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
WEIGHT 13 g (including bolt)
Cleanly machined and finished. Some people have reported problems with the mounting bolt rounding when tightened up to the correct torque but I had no such issues and it may be that this latest version has better mounting hardware.
Does what it's meant to do.
Not sure what the typical lifespan of a chain catcher is, but given it doesn't do anything most of the time it should give satisfaction.
13g including the mounting hardware.
Chain catchers range from around £4 up to £20 (and beyond!), so this sits pretty much in the middle. Protection for expensive frames for pocket money.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Since it makes it physically impossible for the chain to ship into the frame it eliminates the problem.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It works, it's inexpensive, it comes in several colours.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It can't be adjusted for height against the chainring. There were no fitting instructions. It can only be used with braze-on front mechs.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There's no need to spend a large sum on a chain catcher – it's really just a metal stick. They range from around £4 up to £20. Compared to a new frame, none could be considered expensive. The Token offers excellent looks too, for little cash.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's difficult to fault this. It was fitted in a few minutes and I've had no issues with the chain dropping into the bottom bracket since. Looks tidy, weighs nearly nothing and comes in four colours. Okay, it's a little pricier than some and not height-adjustable, but overall it's very good: recommended.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 My best bike is: Tomassini Prestige
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking