ISC RacersTape – Bike Protection Tape

Pro Reviews

Therefore, how do you protect your investment? I know that it’s a mountain bike and abuse is a known entity but our bikes are our little babies which we covet and are proud of. I can’t afford a race car so a bike as is close as I can get to an exotic vehicle! I think a lot us would feel bummed if our bike got to be chewed up? Keeping the bike in good shape also helps it’s resale value.

Most of us use a chainstay protector to protect the frame from the chain but the rest of the bike tends to get abused. Sometimes with a new bike or some part kits you get those little clear stick-on button sized protectors to prevent cable rubbing damage, but that is usually all we have for protection. Minds which just went to the gutter, this is not a form of birth control. Don’t be a fool, vulcanize your tool.


ISC Racers Tape started out in the early 80′s making colored duct tape for auto racing and has since expanded to an entire line of tape for multiple uses. The parent company ISC was founded by Paul Northrop in the early 70′s making tape and industrial packaging products and the business has expanded in the years since and his 4 sons now manage the business. Dan and Dave Northrop who run the sales for ISC Racers Tape compete in drag racing, actually the whole clan pitches in to help out. Thanks Dan for the tape to test!

Their Surface Guard Tape product is the perfect candidate for protecting a mountain bike. The Surface Guard Tape is an extremely tough conformable polyurethane tape which was formerly referred to as helicopter/leading edge tape. Helicopter tape was originally developed by helicopter technicians to protect helicopter rotors and to cover and protect exposed areas from flying debris. Most of the early use of the Surface Guard Tape was for drag racing and other auto sports and has been supplied to NASCAR, F1 and WRC racing teams. It has many applications such as protection for motorcycles, trucks, autos, trailers, bicycles, boats, households and anything you could think of. The tape is an outdoor grade which means it has excellent ultra violet protection, and will not yellow over time. Surface Guard will protect any surface that is prone to scratching, chipping, and weathering.

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About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.



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  • Jason says:

    Crankskins.com cheaper, better quality and all the decals are available in sweet colors and designs

  • Marc says:

    As the owner of a Titus Carbon Racer X, I have the exact same concerns.

    The combination of my tire setup, a Kenda 2.35 Blue Groove DTC and a Nevegal 2.1 DTC and the decomposed granite on the trails that I ride equate to sandblasting my frame every ride.

    My initial use of frame tape proved inadequate to the task, however.

    While I DO have frame tape on the back of the seattube, the BB shell and the bottom of the downtube, my primary protection consists of the following:

    An SKS Shockboard front fender and a Planet Bike mud guard downtube fender(reverse oriented w/cutout for chainrings) to protect the downtube and BB area.
    Protecting the seattube was much more problematic, as there are no aftermarket fenders that specifically address this concern — yet.

    So, I constructed my own. I cut off the rear portion of the front fender, cut notches in the side to fit between the seat stays and glued/duct taped on an extension.
    Small weight penalty with HUGE protection. No more chips and dings — ANYwhere.

    As for cable rub locations, I also found frame tape to be woefully lacking as well.
    I am using carbon cloth chainstay protector, from Lizardskins, cut to size. While nothing lasts forever, due to it’s thickness it will be MUCH easier to check wear and relace BEFORE it is worn through. I tried doubling the frametape in these locations and found that it was a negligible improvement and it was still VERY difficult to determine if it had worn through…..

    I think that for a lot of folks, frame tape is adequate, especially for roadbikes.
    In highly abrasive conditions and in cable rub locations it is not up to the task, I’m afraid. Unless you want to totaly replace it every 200 miles or so, I’d recommend some fenders.

    Happy Trails,

    Marc

  • pastajet says:

    With regards to crankskins:
    Not sure about being cheaper, since I can cover around 2 bikes and have some left over for around the same money. Crankskins do come in colors and patterns and this stuff is clear, and I am not sure I want any patterns or colors, I want it to be invisible and let the frame shine through. I can’t say if the quality is better or worse, since I have not done a comparison, but this tape is pretty bomber, and I have never had any issues with it. If a helicopter rotor and a race car going to 200mph use it without any issue is pretty decent in my opinion. I also couldn’t tell what thickness the crankskins were, their site doesn’t mention it. Is it 8mil? Fishboy (a forum person over on the Mojo forum) makes a great tape kit made specific to the Mojo for around $70, not sure, but I would imagine a crankskins entire generic kit would be close to that price?

    With regards to tape issues:
    Sorry to hear you have found the inadequacy of the tape, I have used it for 2.5 years and have had no real issues, my cable housing are Alligator i-Links which are aluminum, so I have metal rubbing on my carbon bike and in the current 11 months and countless miles it doesn’t show any major wear. I did have it doubled up. I have used the lizardskins patches and they are great and can recommend them also. Like I said in the previous answer it takes 200mph race car abuse.

  • Fishboy says:

    Some protection is better than no protection, and my Frameskin kits have been protecting bikes for a couple of years now. Custom kits are available for a select range of bikes at present – Mojo, Mojo SL, Anthem X, Trance X, Cannondale Rush and Rize, Pivot Mach 4 and cost about $35 each – This model list grows when I have spare time. Frameskin offers excellent protection… and I expect the generic versions I do may be a good option if other products aren’t living up to your expectations. Preparation is the key to good adhesion, and best results. I’ve done a lot of trialling of various tapes to get one of the best wearing tapes out there. I am yet to wear through it with cable rub.

  • Steel Is Real says:

    Whatever happened to the good ole days where we had steel bikes with quality paint and didn’t need to worry about frame protection. All this fancy CF stuff seems to be just for show.

  • pastajet says:

    Not sure if you noticed, but the main bike in the picture is Titanium. And I have had steel bikes with paint and after a period of time the rear triangle gets chewed up. The tape is just to take care of any bike, whether it’s steel, Ti, Al or CF.

    Peace.

  • Cantitoe Road says:

    Looks like I’m a few years late to this conversation, but we have a product called Shelter. Shelter is an impact absorption medium, which contains 50 layers of a visco-elastomeric material-like a memory foam that absorbs energy before it gets through to the frame. It’s also clear so it doesn’t hide your bike.

    This is a video we shot showing how Shelter works, by using it to protect a fluorescent bulb from hammer impacts:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynlxj7X86Nw

    Learn more about Shelter on our website:
    at our website http://www.CantitoeRoad.com/Shelter

  • nwforager says:

    they make clear electrical tape and clear duct tape for like 2 bucks .

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