Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thrifty Thrashing Tip #7: DIY Chainstay Protector

The term "chain slap" refers to the noise you hear when the chain slaps against your chainstay as you bash through rocks and other technical obstacles. Not only is this an obnoxious noise, but the repeated impact of the chain against the frame can chip the paint and metal (or carbon) of your chainstay, causing considerable damage over time.

To combat this, people have long been using various sorts of padding to protect their chainstays. You can buy a protector for anywhere from $5 to $30, or by using this simple process you can protect two mountain bikes for the cost of one flat innertube and 4 zip ties (that is, for free):
1. Find a flat inner tube.
If you're a mountain biker, this won't be difficult! Definitely don't use a good tube... there's just no reason to.

2. Cut out the stem.

3. Wrap the drive side chainstay.

You will notice that I wrapped from front-to-back. On the next bike (I did 2 back-to-back) I tried wrapping it back-to-front and it provided a much cleaner looking wrap. This one still works great, though.

5. Trim the excess tube.

6. Zip-tie both ends of the tube to prevent it from unraveling.

7. Go mountain biking!

From now on your singletrack experiences will be much quieter and your frame will be protected from damage!

I have had people recommend that I use a thick tape as a chainstay protector, and I have one of my bikes set up this way. While it does seem to protect the chainstay reasonably well, I'm not really sure how well it will perform over the long-term, and it doesn't do much to eliminate the noise pollution factor.

What do you think? What is the best solution for chain slap?


Unknown August 25, 2011 at 2:51 PM  

Sweet. I've been considering doing this with my Wingman. I also need to get some chain tensioners for the dropouts. I'm hoping that will also help or eliminate the need for a stay protector.

PS.. Is that a Warhawk in the background?

dgaddis August 25, 2011 at 4:50 PM  

I did a variation of this. I cut the tube like you did, but then cut a long 1.5" wide strip out of it. Secured one end with Gorilla tape, wrap the chainstay, then taped the other end. Works great!

Splitting the tube lets you get a tighter, cleaner wrap, and you could get two or three chainstay protectors from one tube that way, further stretching your dollar!

Greg Heil August 26, 2011 at 1:51 PM  

@Chris, glad I could help you out! And yes, that MIGHT be a warhawk...

@dgaddis, thanks for the tips! I did consider cutting the tube in half so it was thinner, but I figured this would offer more protection. Not really sure if I needed any more protection, though, and of course, it weighs more...

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