If you want to protect your frame from loosing paint on its chainstay due to chainslap, and you ride over bumps, its necessary
Unless you dont care about your paint.
Look on ebay or almost any bike website will sell them, and their cheap - you dont need expensive lizard skin ones, just the back sided adhesive ones work fine as long as you clean the chainstay before you apply it
Go to a shop that does hydraulic hose assy's and get some hose wrap! It's a black heavy duty version of the stuff they sell for wrapping electrical wires @ the autoparts store. You can usually buy it by the foot and it's really cheap!
I have done road tubes because they are thin, then have also gone the lizard skin route, and gone the let it get beat up route, no right or wrong answer. Lizard skin goes on and off quick if for same strange reason you want to wash it. Inner tube I just end up leaving on but it does get gunked upat some point.
I do a lot of aggressive riding and found that the usual chain stay protectors simply don't work for me. They either tend to move and expose the front part of the chain stay - or simply don't cover the whole chain stay in the first place.
Note: Due to aggressive riding I do get chain slap all the way to the front, very close to the actual chain rings. (Don't tell me my chain is too long. I've checked/corrected that long time ago.)
So I am using the described old inner tube/tape or zip tie method now on all MTBs. And I am wrapping almost the entire chain stay, from bottom bracket to the rear axle.
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