We have all heard it, the rattling behind you on a ride. Every time you ride over train tracks or rough sections of pavement or trail, the annoying noise of metal on metal reverberates through your frame. The nuisance behind you is chain slap.
Chain slap is the movement of your bicycle chain hitting against the drive side chainstay and seat stay. The chain movement creates a slapping or rattling noise. The chain slack from the rear derailleur allows the chain to bend and move when the bike bounces, resulting in chain slap.
What kind of bikes get chain slap?
All bike types can have chain slap issues. Mtb’s, road bikes, gravel bikes, e-bikes, and dirt jump bikes are all susceptible to the pesky noise. In recent years the development of rear derailleurs with clutches has decreased the amount chains bounce. However, it is still a prominent part of riding bicycles. High-pivot mountain bikes were designed with an idler pulley at the top of the drive side seat stay. These high pivot bikes allow for active suspension during riding to help reduce pedal kickback.
What is Chain Slap Damage
Chain slap is more than an annoying noise. The chain bouncing against your bike can change the ride characteristics, sending unwanted vibrations through your frame. In addition to vibrations, the chain chips and damages the paint of your reartriangle. Every time the chain bounces off your chain and seatstay, it can chip your bike’s paint. Over time repetitive hits on your frame can go further than the top coat. Prevent damage with frame protection or purposely dedicated chainstay protection.
How can I Reduce Damage?
Chain slap can be minimized or reduced with a number of methods. You can use chain tensioners, slap guards on your seatstay, purposely made foam guards that are ziptied in place or a RideWrap Chainstay Armor. Each of these methods has its benefits for silencing your bike. However, some are better than others. Some of these methods do not reduce chain slap itself, they protect the reartriangle and minimize the noise.
How can I Reduce Noise?
To reduce chain slap noise, you may be required to use the bumps on a log chainstay armor technique. This technique gives ridges for the chain to hit as it bumps up and down. The high points dampen the chain reducing the chain movement. In addition to the bumps on a log technique, you can use a purpose-built chain silencer like the STFU chain slap silencers. These ensure your chain remains in line while bouncing. The STFU is held on with zip ties and can wear on chainstays if they don’t have frame protection.
Protect Your Chainstay
Chain slap protection is crucial to keep bikes in good condition for resale. RideWrap Protection kits and Chainstay Armor can protect the factory paint finish and dampen chain noise. A quiet chain can decrease wear on the rear sprocket and chainring. The use of chainstay protectors will enhance your ride quality and increase the bike’s value.
Bike Protection Kits
RideWrap bike protection kits see their fair share of abuse. From crashes to bike racks and everything else a bike may encounter. Protection kits fend off everything, including chain slap. RideWrap protection kits all come with pieces for the seat and chainstays. This is because these are high wear areas susceptible to heel rub, trail debris, shuttle rub, and chain slap. Chain slap can knick the protection film roughing up the chainstay piece of protection. To prevent this, RideWrap Chainstay Armor will completely mitigate the issue. If the protection kit’s chainstay piece is already roughed up, you can order a replacement piece for a small fee.