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How to install a vintage chain guard on a retro bicycle in 4 easy steps

I restored a 1976 Ricardo Sport. It had a closed chain guard which already had a tear in it. The cloth or plastic cover had deteriorated in such a way that I completely torn it in half while trying to pry it loose. While doing research for vintage chain guards I came across fantastic-looking open chain guards. I decided there and then that instead of a closed one I would opt for an open version. In this article I’m going to discuss how to install a vintage chain guard.

Video Tutorial

If you don’t like the video or need more instructions, then continue reading.

Step 1. Clamps you need to install a vintage chain guard

I found a vintage chain guard on the Ebay of Belgium 2ehands.be. Since I had never installed a chain guard in my life before, I only realized I would actually be needing clamps to install it after I had received it. Installing it would also mean knowing where to drill holes into the very fragile looking aluminium.

The chain guard says “St. Cristophe Vege” and depicts said saint holding a Christ (I had to look that up I admit). I don’t know why a saint would be depicted on a chain guard, but I’m sure the bike now brings good fortune to anyone riding it (or to the person having restored it).

The clamp is a NOS clamp specifically for vintage chain guards from the brand Horn. The sealed bag reminded me of the one holding my fathers stamps back in the day. The look of it made it feel very authentic. It came from Germany. Now I know that chain guard clamp in German is Kettingschutz Halter.

I also had the forsight to buy another clamp with a 2cm. diameter from the same store retrobikefranken.de. It’s scary to buy something from a store not really knowing if you’re actually going to need it. Especially considering the fact the shipping costs were greater than the price of the clamps together. But as it turned out, I’d made the right choice.

Step 2. Knowing where to drill the holes into your vintage chain guard

I bought 2 clamps so I knew I wanted to drill 2 holes. It was only after I installed the chain guard I found out there are multiple options to install a chain guard.

The first option is to use two chain guard specific clamps. One on the down tube, and one one seat tube.

chain guard on my Schwinn with attachment to chain stay

The other option is the option I chose, where the vintage chain guard is fastened to a chain stay and the down tube. This option will prevent the chain guard from rattling because it’s fastened on both extremes, but the first option would’ve looked cleaner in hindsight.

Step 3. Making the holes in the vintage chain guard

After you’ve added the clamps in the right place on your bicycle, you can proceed to measure where you need to drill the holes. I started with the one at the front. By making a small dent with a screwdriver.

Making a hole is done with the help of a screwdriver and a hammer. I use a piece of wood at the bottom to prevent the vintage chain guard from bending too much out of shape by the force of the impact. Go slowly with gently taps! I widen the hole by hand turning the screwdriver so there isn’t too much of an outward edge on the outside.

After I’ve done the first hole I attach the chain guard to the bicycle. Because the chain guard is now fixed in one place I can find out exactly where the second hole needs to be. In the second photo you can see me reaching around the frame to make a small dent at the back side of the chain guard through the second clamp.

Step 4. Aligning and installing the vintage chain guard to your bicycle

The last step is attaching the chain guard to your bicycle. This is of course done easily enough. In the last photo you can see me making sure the chrank arm doesn’t connect with the chain guard while driving. It did, and I had to readjust the alignment and actually bend the chain guard out of the way of the crank arm.

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