Sick of your bike making a racket? First of all, make sure the drivetrain, suspension and brakes are in proper working order and freshly lubed/rebuilt/bled. Once that’s done, your bike should be pretty quiet but there are always those weird little claps and squeaks and rattles, right? That’s all pretty normal, but if you know what you’re looking for and you’re bothered enough by the noise, there are some really simple things you can do to silence your bike with just a few bits from the hardware store.
Fiskars 8″ titanium snips : These should just exist in every house. They’re incredibly handy and under $15. Having something handy that’s stronger than regular scissors is more clutch that you’d realize. These are great for cutting the mastic tape and velcro tape we’re going to use today. Additionally, if you’re the type to modify tires, did you know that these are basically the next best thing to a electrical tire knob cutter?
Velcro tape : Good for damping vibrations. Also not bad to have a roll around the house, but the small amount you’ll need is no more than $5.
Mastic tape : A moisture sealing, dense rubber electrical tape that conforms around turns and packs nicely. Very cool/strange stuff – it’s like black silly putty with an adhesive back. A bit hard to find at your run of the mill Hardware store but easy to track down online or in bigger stores. Around $10.
There are 3 areas we want to focus on for limiting noise, but keep in mind – the sky is the limit. It’s not bad to get creative(to a certain extent) with this stuff, but for now, we’ll focus on chainslap, chainguide rub/drag, and cable rub.
A good start to reducing noice is also protecting your investment. Chainstays, seatstays, uprights and anything else that your chain might be slapping is likely making noise but also chipping the paint off your beautiful frame.
1) Even frames that have chainstay guards (like one pictured here) are still susceptible in some spots. Notice the chipped paint.
2) Snip some mastic tape to fill the gaps in coverage. It’s soft, conforms over welds and tight corners, but best of all – it dampens noise.
3) All covered up. More examples are pictured below.
If your bike doesn’t feature any chainstay or seatstay coverage, you can cover the top and bottom of your chainstay and the bottom of your seatstay with a thin strip of mastic tape to keep things quiet all around. It’s tough stuff and can withstand bike washes like a champ.
Quite often, even despite perfect alignment and setup, chainguides can make a total racket in some gear combinations. For the sake of durability, many guides feature blocks made from hard plastic. When your chain smacks this, it makes a bunch of noise.
We snipped some of the soft side of the velcro tape up to shape the inside of the upper guide block. You’ll want to use some pretty thin velcro so as not to rub too much on the chain. It may rub a little which isn’t bad. In fact, it sloppy conditions it can help clean off your chain a bit.
Shaped up and applied.
Slick, low profile silencing. We later added some to the cross section to silence when the chain drags on it. Sorry for the lack of a pic but you get the point.
Steps 1,2 and 3 are all shown below. Simple enough – if a cable is rubbing, it could be slapping in rough sections. A dab of mastic tape between the cable and frame will silence things. Locate the spot, cut some tape, apply scarcely wherever necessary.
Not bad right? These are just the beginning of a plethora of ways to keep your bike running tip top and quiet so you can focus on the trail ahead.