What is the best way to wrap a frame with bicycle inner tubes?

The bike is an aluminium framed MTB with suspension (rather than a roadie-courier bike that usually gets subjected to such treatment).

Can you use puncture repair glue or does it have to be 'gaffer tape'?

Any tips will be most appreciated on how to do this effectively.


As for the why question: there are various reasons why people would want to do this - to protect the bike from railings being one, to make it less attractive to thieves is my concern, making it look 'individual' is another reason to do it.

I was really hoping that someone here has had a go and might want to share what they learned from doing so.

  • 6
    What's the purpose of wrapping the bike with inner tubes? Sep 18, 2011 at 14:47
  • Question mark for me too. Extra tubes? Easier to carry in a pack. Frame protection? I don't want to ride where you do...
    – M. Werner
    Sep 18, 2011 at 15:16
  • I'm surprised people are asking what's the point of this. Even the manufacturers themselves put frame protectors over chainstays for chainslap, but the thin tape is rarely sufficient. When navigating through tight rock sections, it's easy to smash your BB/down tube. I've even seen people wrap their entire frame/forks in helicopter tape.
    – cmannett85
    Sep 18, 2011 at 17:57
  • 2
    For the few bikes where chainslap is an actual possibility, it is good to have something cover the chainstay. However wrapping a frame in inner tubes is pointless: 1) it looks brutally ugly (and no, thieves don't care anyway). 2) UV radiation from the sun will make the inner tubes a sticky mess and cause them to fall apart in short order.
    – Angelo
    Sep 19, 2011 at 14:31
  • @Angelo - I really don't care what my bike looks like - not the one I'm considering wrapping - but the tubes melting onto the frame could be a show-stopper for me. What would you suggest using instead of tubes? Helicopter tape, as cbamber85 mentioned? (I'd think that would have many of the same problems, as there's an adhesive involved.) Sep 19, 2011 at 14:38

3 Answers 3


I tend to use zip ties - they're very strong but can be replaced/moved without damaging the tube. Also for extra damage prone bits (chainstays, BB tube, etc.), I sometimes use the tyres.


I agree with the use of zip ties. They hold up well and makes the tube available for trailside repairs. Such as an emergency patch for a blown out side wall,a bungee cord replacement or just as rope to tie something on that fell off.


I wrap my chain stays with an old tube. I find it works best with an old road tube (not a wider MTB tube)

  1. Cut the tube near the stem (on both sides of stem) to remove the stem
  2. I wrap from rear to the front
  3. Start a few inches forward of the rear axle area.
  4. Wrap backwards going towards the rear axle, overlapping about half the width of the tight/flattened tube.
  5. Once at the axle area, start moving forward, going over the few inches you just put down
  6. Keep the tube tight and flat, overlap about half width as you wrap all the way to where you want to finish (close to front chainrings)
  7. Cut the tube to length, I like to finish on the inside of the chain stay
  8. Keep it closed by wrapping some electrical tape. I make sure to note get any tape on the frame, just the rubber tube.

I find this to be very similar to wrapping my road drop handlebars.

Never done any more than chain stays but have seen it on some downtubes.

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