In the modern era of clutch derailleurs, narrow wide chainrings and finely crafted chains, chain slack isn’t as much of an issue as it used to be. However, the modern mountain bike still takes a beating by the chain around the chain and seat stays.
Many manufactures now have factory fitted chain stay protects, some come with neoprene wraps and some leave it completely down to the owner.
Back in 2019, fed up with changing frame protectors Ferris set about designing his own solution – the result: The VHS (Velocity Hucking Systems) Slapper Tape
If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember the VHS tape! Although smaller in size, when opening the package, you still get a sense of 80’s nostalgia with the VHS styled packaging and retro feeling colours.
Inside the box you get a 350mm strip of mailable silicone rubber with a row of air bubbles designed to cushion the chain. With the 2.0 version coming in at 70mm wide, I can’t think of a chain stay that this wouldn’t cover the top of and 350mm should be enough to go the length, with some spare.
To sweeten the deal, VHS claim to have made the bubbles softer without loss of durability and the rubber is M3 backed to keep the tape stuck to the frame. You get a nice sticker in the box as well!
Overall, the packaging and presentation make this feel like a quality product.
Fitting is simple. I cleaned the chainstays on both my Bird Aeris 160 and Norco Fluid HT with isopropyl alcohol, measured up the tape for size, trimmed with a craft knife and ‘slapped’ it on. It’s very much a measure twice, cut once, stick once scenario!
I trimmed the sides of the tape as I didn’t want to cover the whole stay but left it a bit longer on the inside for extra protection.
Pro tip: after fitting I saw a video with Reece Wilsons mechanic using a ruler to cut down the edges and get a nice clean and straight finish.
On the trail
There really isn’t much to say here, the slapper tape works! My bikes have been quieter, the frame is better protected and I’m sure the soft landing will prolong chain life.
After 5 months around Scotland’s finest the tape doesn’t show any significant signs of wear and cleans easily. It has lifted slightly on a narrow bit of tube/weld by the tyre but even stuck on top of InvisiFrame there is no sign of the tape going anywhere.
You may find the chain sits very close to the air bubbles if you have a 10-tooth cog and small chainring, but this will be frame dependent and didn’t cause any real-world issues.
The VHS 2.0 tape is more expensive than a neoprene wrap or old inner tubes but it looks better, doesn’t rip and cleans up easily. Add to that the damping silence that the air bubbles provide, and this becomes a very attractive package.
I use Sugru inside my seat stays but if I didn’t, I would trim the VHS tape a little shorter and use the spare behind there as well.
A great product and one I can see coming as an option on new bikes very soon!
UK distributor, Cyclorise