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VHS 2.0 Slapper Tape review – a retro-themed chainslap solution

VHS have some of the best packaging we’ve seen in years, but is their air-pocketed tape a box office smash or a video nasty?

VHS 2.0 slapper tape
(Image: © GuyKesTV)

Bike Perfect Verdict

A brilliant piece of packaging around an improved product that works really well to save your paint and your ears.

Pros

  • +

    Air pocket design is super quiet

  • +

    Broader base fits more bikes

  • +

    Light weight

  • +

    Best packaging ever

Cons

  • -

    Blocks might be too tall for some really close clearances

  • -

    Stays need to be super clean

Velocity Hucking Systems have nailed the retro video packaging for their Slapper Tape. Version 2.0 adds more stay protection and runs even quieter when your chain starts getting wild.

Design

While it doesn’t change the performance of what’s inside, the retro VHS video packaging of their Slapper Tape is brilliant for those of us old enough to remember it. It’s fully recyclable too and you get a frame sticker.

The main change to the 2.0 version is a broader 70mm ‘skirt’ for more wrap around chain stay sides. If you don’t mind paying an extra £2 or €2, red, blue, orange, green, purple and white options will be available very shortly too. While you can’t see it the 2.0 also uses a slightly different silicon compound that means the air pockets are softer and quieter too. It’s also really easy to cut the 350mm length accurately with scissors or a sharp knife.

VHS 2.0 tape

Air-filled damper knobs are softer and quieter on version 2.0 of the Slapper Tape (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Performance

Cutting is important to get a neat fit, but how well you clean your bike down is very absolutely crucial. To my eternal shame I was in my usual hurry and didn’t clean off dirt from the inside of the chain stay as well as I should have done. Plus there’s not much tire/stay clearance on the Pace RC295 bike I trialed it on so I added some zip ties for backward rolling/dirty tire security. That said, in the places I did clean it up properly with a solvent spray and wipe it’s stuck really well , so if you’re diligent you should be able to get a durable result all round. 

VHS do suggest a minimum of 30 mins curing time for the 3M backing and up to 6 hours if you’re heading out into the wet so plan ahead rather than slapping it on just before a ride. Keep any offcuts too as the extra bits can come in useful to calm other potential slap or tickle spots.

Our testing explained

For information on Bike Perfect's testing procedures and how our scoring system works, see our how we test page.

Once you’ve got the tape in place it’s really impressive . Because it’s the best way to test most things I ride a ton of rocky, janky trails that can whip paint off unprotected frames instantly. I’ll normally get chain clatter on all but the best ribbed or ‘knobbed’ protectors (Santa Cruz and Specialized are notable exceptions).

With the Slapper tape fitted, though, everything was super quiet out back and the way the soft air pockets suck the energy out of the whipping chain seemed to help shifting in hectic situations too. If you’re really picky about your riding that little bit of extra quietness can make a big difference to overall calm and composure. The only downside was that I suddenly noticed other noises like cable rattle that the chain slap had hidden before.

VHS 2.0 tape detail

The silicon rubber is easy to cut but how neat the finish looks depends on how patient and careful you are when fitting it. This is damning proof of how impatient I am. Sorry VHS (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Verdict

If my only major complaint is that the VHS 2.0 Slapper Tape is so good it makes other things seem noisy then that’s a very good sign it’s doing it’s job brilliantly. If I could rewind and clean the bike better before fitting so I wasn’t as embarrassed about the zip ties that would be great, but that’s my issue not theirs. The generous sizing means more protection and generally a bit spare for other potential impact areas. While the black will go with most bikes and helps hide chain stain (they clean up really well, though) the addition of colour options is also a nice touch.

Obviously you could make something similar with a bit of old tire and glue if you want to do it yourself. And it’s not essential as some bikes are doing the job well already and the 10mm knob-height might mean some direct chain rub on bikes with tall stays. But if you’re in the market for a really good, neat-looking chain protector that will give you peace of mind for your paint, and palpable peace in your riding then it’s well worth the investment. They’d get a bonus point for the packaging too, but there’s no headroom on the existing score .

Tech specs: VHS 2.0 Slapper Tape review

  • Price: £24.99 / €29.95
  • Colors: Black, red, blue, orange, green, purple and white

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg