Inspired by the automotive industry, a protective film layer can help keep your mountain bike in peak condition
As much as you love taking your bike out on the trails, that love isn’t necessarily reciprocated by the great outdoors. It goes with the territory that you and your mountain bike will be bombarded with mud, dirt and grit when you get in the saddle, and while a rider can easily jump in the shower afterwards, your bike’s exterior doesn’t always get away with it so easily.
The ominous sound of a piece of gravel hitting your frame can leave you with that sinking feeling, as you realise it’s chipping away at both your paintwork and the resale value of your treasured bike. The good news, however, is that by applying a relatively inexpensive coating such as invisiFRAME to your frame, you can keep your bike in peak condition without sacrificing your time on the singletrack. As solutions go, it’s much better than hanging your bike on the wall and turning it into a two-wheeled museum piece.
When it comes to protecting their investments, the owners of high-end sports cars tend to know a thing or two. It feels appropriate, then, that invisiFRAME was inspired by the polyurethane film that’s regularly applied to supercar exteriors to keep them in showroom condition.
invisiFRAME founder Lee Regan was working as a car painter when he came up with the idea of applying similar protection to his beloved new mountain bike. He painstakingly created a bespoke film covering for his frame, a considerably more sophisticated, made-to-measure evolution of the heli-tape MTB riders have been applying to their frames for years. Regan’s mountain biking friends were so impressed with what he had created that they asked him to make similar protection for them.
From its humble beginnings in one man’s living room, invisiFRAME gradually grew into a much larger business with more staff and more sophisticated manufacturing technology. Now, over a decade later, the company makes frame protection for over 40,000 models of frames, forks and cranks, working with major brands including Specialized, Santa Cruz, Hope and Orange.
As anyone who’s tried applying their own frame protection can probably testify, it can be a fiddly process – and a daunting one, too, particularly if you feel like you’re risking slicing off a thumb every time you cut out the relevant sections. The theory with invisiFRAME kits, however, is that they make the whole process more straightforward and less stressful.
Every frame covering is made to order, so when you make a purchase on the invisiFRAME website, your unique kit should be manufactured and posted out from their Shropshire base within days. When it lands on your doorstep, you’ll find sheets of polyurethane film pre-cut to fit the dimensions of your bike – think of it like a sheet of stickers, though on a much larger scale – and detailed assembly instructions explaining how to put everything together.
As you can see from this fitting video, you need to thoroughly clean your frame before applying your bike’s new protective layer. You need plenty of the fitting solution (supplied) to float the parts into place. Then, using the squeegee provided, you force the solution out, allowing the adhesive to make contact with the frame.
The good news for newbies is that, any time you make a mistake, you can lift the film off and, by applying more fitting solution, reapply in the correct place. Your bike will then need to spend about 24 hours in a warm place for the film to properly adhere to the frame. invisiFRAME say that application can take anything from 45 minutes to a couple of hours depending on your experience and the complexity of your frame, but if you’d prefer to leave it in the hands of someone who definitely knows what they’re doing, invisiFRAME has authorised fitters in Europe and North America.
While your new frame coating isn’t going to protect your bike from major damage – for that, the only guarantee is the aforementioned ‘hanging on the wall’/museum piece option – chips, scuffs, storage bashes and chainstay rub should become a thing of the past. And that’s not just about vanity or peace of mind. If and when the time comes for you to move on from your pride and joy, its resale value will be greatly enhanced if the frame is still in peak condition. Indeed, with many bespoke frame coverings costing less than £100, investing in a little bit of extra protection for your bike may well pay big dividends in the long run.
For more information on invisiFRAME, visit www.invisiframe.co.uk