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Anyone here use protective tape to protect a new frame? To which areas do you apply the tape? I have a new frame and I am worried that other bikes sharing bike racks will scratch my ride.

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When you buy a new bike (or car) you should grab a convenient tool (hammer for a car, maybe a piece of rebar for a bike) AND JUST GET IT OVER WITH!!! Bikes (and cars) are tools, not museum pieces. –  Daniel R Hicks Aug 26 '11 at 20:58
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I have to agree with @Daniel R Hicks completely. You should spend the time worrying about your bike worrying about people who love you instead. A bike can be replaced, people can't ;) –  Richard Rodriguez Aug 27 '11 at 10:10
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Store it in a Museum in a glass case. –  Moab Aug 28 '11 at 0:27
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When my top tube kept getting scuffed up in the bike rack, I just wrapped it in black electrical tape to keep the paint from chipping off. But later I discovered 3M black reflectorized tape and replaced the electrical tape with reflectorized tape. –  Johnny May 13 '13 at 23:02
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No need to delete the post. It's a valid question. But the responses in the comments are valid too. :) –  Stephen Touset May 13 '13 at 23:30
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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I use helicopter tape. You can find it on Amazon or from most any race car supply shop. It's a little pricey but well worth it. It's very sticky and thick enough to absorb impacts from rocks. I use it on the bottom side of my downtube, on the drive side chain stay, and anywhere a cable is close to the frame.

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Do they really use it on Helicopters? ;-> –  Moab Aug 28 '11 at 0:28
    
They actually do, it's designed to protect the leading edge of helicopter blades. You'd think if it can do that it can protect your carbon fiber from rock chips as well. –  Russ Aug 29 '11 at 11:55
    
I assume there is fake knockoff helicopter tape being sold? How do you tell the difference? –  Moab Aug 30 '11 at 0:37
    
The stuff I use is made by "ISC", it's the real deal. You can find it here on Amazon: amazon.com/ISC-Helicopter-OG-Surface-Tape-Outdoor/dp/B000TPC7HU –  Russ Aug 30 '11 at 19:54
    
Thanks, Found some by 3M....aircraftspruce.com/catalog/cspages/8672.php –  Moab Aug 30 '11 at 21:33
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A protective covering is useful on the chainstay if it is prone to frequent chainslap. Other than that, I'd say that it is worse to try to protect your frame with tape than to just allow it to get an occasional nick and scuff.

On a practical note, if you do get some paint chip on a steel frame it is a good idea to dab a little clear nail polish on it to prevent rust from getting started.

Finally, if the frame is worth it, you can always have it professionally powder-coated when the time comes. It is like having a new bike.

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Clear nail polish is something that needs to be frequently re-applied, particularly in areas that get a lot of abuse. On bikes (and on fingernails). –  Neil Fein Aug 26 '11 at 21:38
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It will cover a scratch and protect from rust just fine, until another scratch appears in exactly the same place. In any case, it is better than coating a bike with something akin to a grandmother's plastic sofa cover ! :-) –  Angelo Aug 26 '11 at 22:41
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Now I'm imagining my 16" red folding bike covered with sofa covers. It would be adorable! –  Neil Fein Aug 26 '11 at 23:56
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