TM Designworks Slide-N-Guide Kit

Company: TM Designworks

Price: $119.95+

Roost
  • Adds durability and strength over OEM components.
  • Easy install with precise fit.
  • Cost-effective.
Endo
  • You can hear the chain slap.

Credits

  • Writer: Trevor Hunter/Jimmy Lewis
  • Photographer: Jimmy Lewis/Trevor Hunter

What it is

  • Plastic Rear Chain Guide.
  • Front Chain Slider.
  • Return Memory System Plastic.
  • Three different chain guide options.

TM Designworks offers a variety of protection pieces including Skid Plates, Rear Disc Guards, Case Savers, and more. However, they pride themselves on their signature Slide-N-Guide Kits, including the front chain slider and rear chain guide, which are used by several top off-road teams including Factory KTM and Husqvarna Off-Road worldwide. The rear chain guides boasts Return Memory System plastic throughout which is claimed to withstand abuse and always return to its original form. Additionally, oil additives are injected into the plastic material which is claimed to reduce rolling resistance.  The guides are sized to accommodate oversized rear sprockets as well. Both components feature 100% UV protection, are color matched to OEM specs, and have warranties. 

The company have 3 different chain guides available in the Factory Edition Series - Factory Edition SX, Factory Edition #1, and Factory Edition #2. The FE SX chain guide is the slimmest and lightest, designed for SX and MX riding. The FE #1 chain guide is the hybrid guide serving as a beefier version of the SX guide and built for MX and light Off-Road riding. Finally, the FE #2 Chain Guide is made for off-road and boasts a replaceable wear pad and thicker side walls for added durability. We have been testing the different FE Chain Guides on multiple off-road bikes over 1000s of miles. 

"However, they pride themselves on their signature Slide-N-Guide Kits, including the front chain slider and rear chain guide, which are used by several top off-road teams including Factory KTM and Husqvarna Off-Road worldwide"

How it works

  • Unparalleled durability against both chain wear and debris.
  • Easy installation with minimal tools.
  • Noisy on chain slap, especially when new.

With the abundance of miles we put on some of our bikes and the outright protection we need on some others, we’re always searching for durable products to outlast the OEM components. One of the better known options is TM Designworks. We’ll start with the install - nice and easy. Both the front slider and chain guide install in just a matter of minutes with minimal tools. The rear chain guides are capable of being installed without removing the chain; however, since we were also replacing the front slider, chain removal was necessary as around the swingarm on most machines it is a tight fit. Also, removing the countershaft sprocket isn’t always necessary, but it makes life a little easier and is a simple step. The kits come with any necessary hardware needed and the fit and finish of the pieces are second to none. Sometimes TM  Designworks is a little slower to get parts for new bikes to the market since they want to make sure the fit is correct. 

Although it may seem insignificant to most, a chain guide certainly serves as a performance part. An ill fitting chain guide can rub on the rear sprocket and rob horsepower and cause premature wear or worse, bend or break and misalign the chain stopping you in your tracks. Additionally, many bikes come with aluminum outfitted chain guides and are prone to bend when hit hard enough.

Our TMD chain guides have been put through the wringer. All are still as straight as an arrow so we will attest to the return memory of the material. Just recently on our long term Honda CRF450X we caught a solid rock that picked the bike up at speed from hitting the chain guide and the visible damage to the guide (and even stress to the mounting tabs on the swingarm) was obvious but the function was unaffected even though the bolts both holding it to the bike and attaching the wear pad in place were also bent. Also, we haven’t experienced any rubbing on the rear sprocket like we have with some other chain guides, especially aluminum ones.

Onto the durability aspect, no matter the Factory Edition type, these guides are about as durable as you get. The sidewalls have their fair share of wear in the form of scratches and even some small chunks taken out of them, but the wear pads are wearing like iron. We’ve gotten over 500 hours out of one of our rear guides, and we still have plenty of life left in it. Even in the toughest conditions Additionally, we aren’t getting the same life out of the front chain slider on some bikes, but it’s still enduring life of at least double of stock no matter the brand of bike. The front sliders wear through the initial plastic rather quickly on bikes with steep swingarm angles, but will bed in and really not wear after that or at least not nearly as fast as softer stock pads. On these bikes we suspect we’ll wear through two chain sliders for every one rear FE #2 chain guide. 

A negative with the TMD Slide-N-Guide Kit, and it’s a minor one, is that it’s noisy - especially when new. When first rolling the chain or riding around, it’s noticeably louder than the OEM components for the first couple of hours of ride time, but it goes away soon enough and it’s something we’d take over sacrificing durability. Also with some of the thicker O-Ring chains, the guide may be a tight fit when brand new but it gets perfect in a ride. 

When speaking specifically to the lighter MX/SX guides, they are more like a stock unit in durability if getting drug through rocks but they do not get bent out of line. And from a chain wear perspective they can get anywhere from 3-5 times the durability in our estimation all while being lighter in weight.

We’ve not seen the color fade but constant scratching or sandblasting can take the shine off the part, if that is an important issue to you. And on some models the blocking actually adds strength to the swingarm bracing in the event of a hit. 

TM Designworks’ Slide-N-Guide Kit serves as a slight cost-up upgrade to OEM components but it is a value when adding both ridiculously long-lasting durability and a little bit of extra style. It is a winner when you experience the added strength and your ride goes on after harsh conditions take hits at your drive system. We have never met a bike that did not like an excellent chain guide and slide system and the TM Design components are top of the line. The variety of kits they have for the various types of riding are unique and allow you to tailor the pieces to your preferred riding type. 

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"Onto the durability aspect, no matter the Factory Edition type, these guides are about as durable as you get."