Mountain biking is a rough and tumble sport. Even the most skilled riders wreck every now and again. As riders, we’re accustomed to wearing helmets, eyewear, and often knee and elbow pads, but what about the bikes we ride? How do you protect your mountain bike from crash damage?
Mountain bikes aren’t getting any cheaper. If you want to keep your bike looking new and prevent needless damage, adding protection to your frame is the way to go. As Benjamin Franklin wrote, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” We’re pretty sure old Ben wasn’t a mountain biker, but in the case of mountain bike frame protection, it’s completely true. Adding a few ounces of protective tape or downtube armor can prevent scratches, gouges, dents, and even cracks that can ruin both carbon and aluminum frames.
Here are the best ways to protect your mountain bike from trail damage.
The Best MTB Frame Protection
All Mountain Style Frame Protection XL
All Mountain Style’s frame protectors work on any mountain bike frame. These frame guards can be placed on the top tube, downtube seat- and chainstays. They’re constructed from a semi-rigid PVC material with an adhesive backing. All Mountain Style’s frame protectors stand out with an internal honeycomb structure that provides protection from impacts without adding excessive weight. These customizable protective pads are easy to customize to the contours of your frame and can be cut down if necessary. They also come in a rainbow of colors and cool patterns to make your bike stand out. if that’s not your thing, they also come in clear
Lizard Skins Carbon Leather Frame Protector
Lizard Skins has been in the frame protection game longer than anyone else. The company’s Carbon Leather Frame Protector won’t shield your entire frame from damage, but it will thwart rock strikes to the downtube—the most likely spot to receive damage. It’s available in small and large sizes and articulated to wrap around straight or curved downtubes.
Dyedbro Frame Protection
Professional enduro racer Iago Garay created Dyedbro (Do You Even Drift Bro) to protect bikes with a bit of his own artistic flair. The Dyedbro kits come in many different designs and one size with customizable segments to fit any mountain bike. There are eight pieces in total to protect the top tube, downtube, seatstays, and chainstays from any abuse you might dish out.
Foundation Frame Protection
Jenson USA offers its own frame protection kit under the Foundation brand. This kit is similar to the excellent All Mountain Style frame protection kit, but lacks the option to personalize it with different colors and patterns. The best part? The incredibly affordable price.
invisiFRAME Custom Frame Kits
The UK-based invisiFRAME is the gold standard in MTB frame protection. The brand offers protective kits that wrap the entire bike from head tube to derailleur hanger. Each kit matches up to the make, model, and frame size. The protective tape is wet-transfer, so prepare for a long evening of mounting this kit. The protection is impressive, but it will cost you. The kits range in price based on the size of the frame and how many pieces the kit includes.
Price: $95-$120 (Varies by make and model)
DIY Mountain Bike Frame Protection Solutions
If you’re more of a do-it-yourselfer, there are a number of solutions to protect your mountain bike. Riders in our forums have shared a number of clever homemade frame protection options. Here are a few options if you want to take things into your own hands.
VViViD 3M Scotchgard Clear Paint Protection Vinyl Film
Designed for automotive use, this 3M Scotchgard paint protection film is virtually invisible once installed and will shield your bike from paint chips and scrapes. The clear polyurethane film is 8mil thick with adhesive backing.
Kydex Carbon Fiber Pattern Thermoform Sheet
This is a great material to use if you’re looking to construct a heavy-duty downtube guard. Kydex is easy to work with and form into a wide range of shapes. Mtbr members cut the sheets into the desired form and heat the material with a heat gun or even in an oven to make the material pliable—as long as you don’t heat it above 350-degrees. Once it cools, it become rigid and maintains the shape you formed it into.
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