Last updated on December 22, 2012
Up to this point I’d used an old tube cable-tied on for chainstay protection and it has worked out pretty well. Recently I’d been reading about 3M’s Scotch 2228 Rubber Mastic Tape for the same purpose, and when doing some spring cleaning on the Titus I decided to give it a go.
At $5.57/roll (1″ wide x 4′ long, found at Lowes) it wasn’t as cheap as a tube, but like the UHMW tape it’s far less than a specific commercial solution and looks much better. The tape comes on a paper-backed roll and sticks nicely to the frame like other materials, but the magic happens when the tape is laid on itself: it fuses together and becomes essentially a solid piece of rubber. This means that it cannot be removed once applied and one must get the initial installation right, but I found that peeling the tape off the backing just as it was wrapped worked nicely, tearing away the resulting strip of paper as it got too long.
After application the surface of the tape is very slightly tacky after application meaning that dust and lint readily sticks to it, but a quick wipe-down with glass cleaner removed this and seemed to seal the surface. I suspect that within a couple weeks it’ll be more similar to a rubber tube. The directions on the box recommend overwrapping it with electrical tape, but for bicycle uses I don’t think this’ll be necessary. To ensure that it was well stuck and fused I spent some time squeezing it snug against itself, and while doing this it only seemed to bind better.
The tape is to be stretched when installed, but with a base thickness of 1.65mm when half-lapped it builds up fairly quickly, ending up thicker than the wrapped tube I’d previously used. The one roll perfectly fit the chainstay, and I ended up finishing unrolling it just as I got near the end, so with a little bit of stretching it wrapped around and seated nicely. Here is another view of how it came out. There is another 3M / Scotch product, 2229 which is the same material but 3.2mm thick, but I think it’d be overkill for this application. Building up to 5-6mm of rubber (once stretched) will possibly contribute to clearance issues.
Time will tell if it holds up as nicely as cable-tied tube, but thus far I’m happy with this choice. It matches the frame nicely, is thicker than a tube, installed reasonably easily, was affordably priced, and was available locally.