The Best Chainstay Protector

Mountain bike chainstay protectors or chainstay guards are an important protection item for your bike.  They’re there to ensure your chainstay keeps in good condition and doesn’t get damaged from constant chain strikes.

But, if you ride without a chainstay protector, or one that’s just not good enough you’re risking paint and frame damage.  And over time your chainstay will start looking battered, bruised and ugly.  And on top of that, the constant noise of the chain hitting the bare metal of the stay will annoy the heck out of you as you’re powering along those bumpy trails.  So,

A Good Chainstay Protector Makes Good Sense

It just makes good sense to fit a good chainstay protector.  One that’s neat and good looking, quiet and long lasting, and one that can handle a beating from the chain without getting damaged.

But which one?  How do you choose the best mountain bike chainstay protector?

The mtbtips Chainstay Protector Sock

That’s where mtbtips comes to the rescue.  In this article you’ll learn how to make your own quiet, good looking and long lasting mountain bike chainstay protector that will serve you well for many, many mountain bike rides to come.  In fact, it does the job so well, and it’s so inexpensive and quick and easy to do that you’ll probably start a craze.

But hey, if this Best Chainstay Protector looks too good and you’d rather a chainstay protector that’s even more robust and bulletproof – the original wound inner tube version – then you can find steps to make that one at How to Make the Original Chainstay Protector.  Otherwise, keep reading for detailed instructions to make the Best Chainstay Protector.  A protector unlike any you’ve ever seen before…

All you need to get started are:

  • 10 minutes
  • mountain bike inner tube
  • super glue (quicker than vulcanizing patch glue)
  • 2 cable ties
  • cloth and water to clean your chainstay
  • scissors / packing knife
  • chain tool (optional)
  • two shoes (optional)
  • SRAM Powerlink or Shimano chain link pin (optional)

Click here to Watch the basic steps in Video

1. Remove the rear wheel and chain.  Although not absolutely necessary, removing the rear wheel and chain makes the whole operation a lot easier and cleaner.  And if your chain has a SRAM Powerlink fitted, then removing your chain will be a very simple process.

You can learn the easiest way to remove and re-install your rear wheel here.  And if you need to know more about SRAM Powerlinks, or how to remove or install a normal chain or a Powerlink go here.

* If you don’t have a Powerlink or a spare Shimano chain link pin to re-install your chain, then leave your chain on *

2. Lay your bike down so that the superglue doesn’t run.  Whether you have boxed or curved chainstays, laying your bike on its side allows you to apply the glue to a more level or horizontal surface.  Put one shoe on the end of your handlebar and another under your opposite chainstay to keep those parts off the ground.

3. Remove and clean.  Remove the old chainstay protector and clean the chainstay.

4. Cut to size.  Cut a portion of the inner tube long enough to cover the length of the chainstay that you want to protect, then slice it longways down the middle.

5.  Test fit.  Before glueing, test your chainstay protector for length and overlap, by wrapping it on the chainstay.  Practice stretching the protector 20 – 25mm wider than its normal width, as you create the overlap all the way along the length of the protector.  This amount of stretch is necessary to hold the protector firmly on the chainstay once glued.  Also ensure that the overlapped area itself is at least 20 – 25mm wide to allow enough glue area between the overlapped surfaces.

    Tapered chainstays – If your chainstay tapers, that is, goes smaller, you’ll have more overlap in that area.  That’s fine, just make sure you still stretch the protector wider by 20 – 25mm as you glue the overlap to ensure the protector will hold itself tightly on the chainstay in all areas.

    Fat chainstays – If your chainstays are quite fat you may need to use a larger volume inner tube suited for a 2.5 inch or wider tire so that you can get enough overlap happening.

  SuperTip: Don’t glue the chainstay!  Don’t apply superglue directly to the chainstay because later you’ll need to be able to turn the sock 180 degrees on the chainstay to hide the glued join on the inside.

6. Position the chainstay protector sock for glueing.  Start at the crank end first and ensure the overlap area will occur on the level section of the chainstay.  To begin with, apply glue along only 20 – 25mm of the area that will be overlapped.  Stretch the overlapping rubber 20 -25 mm, then press down into place.  Press down on the glued area for 20 seconds or for enough time for the glue to dry.

7. Repeat.  Work along the inner tube, glueing and stretching the overlap into place.  Glue short sections, 20 – 25mm at a time, so that you can keep it neat and not have the glue dry before you get to press the overlap into place.  Remember to still apply the stretch, even where your chainstay tapers.

8. Check.  Once you’ve glued all along the chainstay protector sock, go back along the glued seam and check for any sections that require more glue.  Glue under these sections, then hold the overlap down while they dry.

9.  Trim for neatness.  Trim the ends of the chainstay protector sock neat with a packing knife or scissors.

10. Hide the seam.  Grip the chainstay protector sock and turn it on the chainstay 180 degrees so that the glued seam moves to the inside (wheel side) of the chainstay.

11. Cable tie.  Apply a cable tie 5mm in from each end of the chainstay protector sock to keep it secure.  For neatness and no sharp protruding edges, clamp the cable ties with the eye on the inside of the chainstay, then cut off cable tie excess.

12. Final trim.  Perform any final trimming to the ends of the chainstay protector sock to make it super neat.  Use black permanent marker pen to hide any lettering on the inner tube.

13. Re-fit your rear wheel and chain.  Once again, the easiest way to re-install your rear wheel can be found here.  And the chain tips can be found here.

14. Go Ride and show off your new Do It Yourself Chainstay Protector! And tell the world about while you’re at it :).

What’s In Your Too-Hard-Basket?

If all this falls into your too-hard-basket just go and buy a mountain bike chainstay protector or chainstay guard, like the Lizard Skins Chainstay Protector.  But be warned…there’s nothing quite like the Best Chainstay Protector!