Art’s & Crafts | Cheap, Light Chainstay Protection

Who doesn’t like cheap tips and tricks that actually work?! Although not everyone is into DIY bike maintenance for fear of the unknown, or hundreds of other reasons like “shop loyalty”, cycling can get expensive quickly and that’s a fact. Because of this, I’m a big fan of using more “everyday” objects to fix or modify my gear rather than off-the-shelf pieces that cost 3 times as much and don’t fit EXXXXACTLY how you want them to.

This week’s installment of Art’s and Crafts is about chainstay protectors. I understand that most off-the-shelf bikes these days are spec’d out of the box with integrated chainstay protection that works fantastically. My main qualm with most chainstay protectors is not materials used, but coverage. Most protectors do not cover as much of the chainstay as I’d like. Even with clutch derailleurs, I get chainslap near the front chainring where the chainstay protector doesn’t cover. Many other chainstay protectors are bulky, not very durable and not worth my time. SO…the cheap, light, and extremely functional solution that I’ve found is called Splicing Tape. It is sold in a couple different varieties, usually depending on material bulk and durability. Both types of tape can be found at Home Depot for $5-$10 and are made by Scotch. The lighter, more flexible tape is called Scotch “2242 Electrical Splicing Tape”. The more bulky, longer-lasting option from Scotch is “2228 Rubber Mastic Electrical Tape”.

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The installation process is fantastically simple and all that you need is: clean hands, cleaning solution (I used Simple Green), a clean rag, and decently sharp scissors. With tape this flexible and adhesive that is this forgiving, installation is easy. If you don’t get it perfectly cut or placed the first time, it’s really simple to fix and reapply. The KEY PIECE in making this chainstay protector is FIRM APPLICATION of the tape to ensure a good, long lasting bond.

Step 1: CLEAN your bike anywhere the tape will be applied. Make sure it’s dried completely and there is no cleaning solution residue on the frame before applying any tape.

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Step 2: CUT splicing tape to fit on the chainstay where you want it, maximizing your coverage. (Tip: avoid making numerous, small pieces. Doing so will make it easier for chain slap to knock them off. Try using one big strip for the top and one big strip for the bottom if you can. Rounding the corners on the tape where it doesn’t butt up to other components helps with longevity too.)

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Step 3: APPLY the tape, ensuring a solid bond. You can do this by repeatedly and heavily pressing the Splicing Tape against your bike with your fingers and hands.

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Step 4: RIDE.

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Using Splicing Tape as a chainstay protector is not the most durable option on the market, but it fits the bill for cheap, easy, light, and functional…plus, you now have a fully custom, exceptionally quiet setup on your bike.

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