Author Scott Alexander
If you’re using your bike properly then you’re scratching it. Whether it’s crashes out on the trail, cables rubbing on the headtube, or bouncing around in the back of a truck bed — dings and scratches are part of normal use. Though these imperfections are largely superficial they do add up.
The best part of running a cycling website is getting to ride a new bike each year. This requires selling the previous year’s bike. Here are a couple shots of my Canyon from a posting earlier this year. 12 megapixel cameras don’t lie. Still superficial, but scratches like this definitely have a negative impact on resale value.
Heel rub, ouch!
There are many brands offering frame protection today. The Tailored Kit from RideWrap is a standout for a few reasons.
The kit comes with everything you need to complete the install — instructions, squeegee, alcohol wipes, install solution, microfiber towel. You will need to source your own spray bottle and mix a few drops of the install solution concentrate with some water. Several third-party install videos recommend extra supplies (stiffer squeegee, extra isopropyl alcohol), but I didn’t find any of these things to be necessary.
Before you begin you need to clean your bike, then clean your bike again. We’re not talking about the normal post-ride hose down here. It needs to be spotless. Any dirt or grease left on the frame will prevent the film from adhering to the frame. This is not the step to cut corners on. Ideally you’d wrap the frame before your first ride but, who has that kind of discipline?
Most of the instructional videos out there demonstrate the application on a bare frame. I found removing my wheels, chain, and cranks to be sufficient, no need to remove cables or hydraulic housing.
The instructions printed on the box are great, or watch the video from RideWrap if that’s more your speed.
The wet application process is very simple and forgiving. Spray everything down with the baby shampoo solution and lay the film on the frame. Then reposition the piece as many times as you want, until you get the alignment where you want it. To finish, work the squeegee from the middle to the edges, pushing the solution out from underneath the film, and bonding to the frame.
Each piece fit nicely into the specified location on my bike. Pretty impressive given how complex the Yeti frame is. When I spoke with the guys at RideWrap I floated a few guesses as to how the proprietary technology used for the Tailored Kits was developed. They wouldn’t tell me but I’m fairly certain there’s a retired tailor cranking out new kits by hand in an office building somewhere in Whistler BC — artisanal.
The Tailored kit is designed for 3mm gaps between the other pieces and frame hardware. I made this mistake a couple times and tried to get too close to the edges. Fortunately it’s easy to redo a piece; simply peel it up and start over.
The films have a self-healing top coat that allows light scuffs, scratches and marks to dissipate with a little bit of heat (sun or a hair dryer) is applied. I don’t expect to need to replace any of the pieces but if I do (and the frame is still alive) individual replacements can be ordered from RideWrap for around $10 each.
RideWrap was created with removal in mind. Use a hairdryer to slightly heat the film, soften the adhesive bond, and peel off gently. However, when I do sell this bike I’ll probably leave the kit on and let the new owner decide if they want to remove it.
Excluding the initial cleaning it took me just over two hours to install the tailored kit. I’d rate the installation difficulty somewhere between easy and moderate. The wet application process is very forgiving but with so many pieces, nooks, and crannies, it’s still an involved process. So, not difficult but you need to be dedicated.
After installing, the bike has been through several muddy rides with washings in between. The kit isn’t showing any signs of wear. In fact, each kit comes with a 10 year warranty against cracking and discoloration.
If protecting your investment is a top priority and you don’t mind dedicating a few hours to the cause, then the RideWrap Tailored Kit is for you.
We’d like to thank RideWrap for sending the Tailored Kit for review.
Ready to install!