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I have a bike and I crash relatively often. I'm concerned about protecting the frame from damage.

I started searching for a way to resolve the problem and I'd like to share options that I've found, discuss their pros and cons and maybe someone would share their experience and other options to protect a frame.

Protective film

I discovered that there is a such thing as a thick protective film that can prevent minor-to-medium damage to the frame's surface. There are special film kits for bicycles, but they are expensive. I'm going to use industrial protective film which is cheaper and probably of greater quality.

Derailleur guards

It's unlikely that I will use them because during crash they may work as a lever and inflict serious damage to the frame.

Adhesive bumpers/pads

I've found special pads for bicycle:
LBS fRUMPERS

But I didn't find where to buy them.

I also found generic adhesive bumpers: enter image description here

I think I'll try them but I don't have much hope that they will work.

Motorcycle crash pads

I have a wild idea about fitting such devices to the bicycle frame. But these things also can lead to a serious frame damage.

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    why do you crash often? Do your tyres slide out? Are you riding aggressive races? Is it a technique thing? – Criggie Sep 10 '16 at 22:36
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    The derailleur cover is useful in normal usage if you drop the bike or it gets bumped, unsure about a crash scenario though – Kilisi Sep 10 '16 at 23:39
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    The derailer guard is about the only thing listed which will provide any real protection (and it's pretty limited). The protective film will prevent minor scratches, but will eventually peel off and look uglier than the scratches. The only useful place to put bumpers and pads is on the bar ends, but usually the grips serve this purpose. – Daniel R Hicks Sep 11 '16 at 0:25
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    Suggest removing the road bike tag. If roadies crashed as often as this there would be none of us left! I don't think I've crashed this millennium, if I distinguish crashes from silly falls, such as trying to do a U turn on a path 1.5m wide. – andy256 Sep 11 '16 at 1:05
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    You're concerned about protecting the frame from cosmetic damage, or are you snapping frames in half left and right? What are you crashing into that you're actually damaging the bike (and you're still capable of riding one ;)? That derailleur guard is about the only thing worth looking into; that's like playing sports w\o a cup. - Oh, you're talking about road bikes... What is the best way to protect frame from dents during crashes? = own a mountain bike and stop having to care. – Mazura Sep 11 '16 at 2:15
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Your bicycle is probably as protected as its going to get when it comes out of the factory, so I'd suggest doing nothing (well, maybe crash less).

  1. Protective Film -- Cosmetic protection (possibly structural in some cases for things like cable rub as pointed out by Nathan in the comments). If you're worried about keeping your bike shiny and scratch free I suppose. Be careful with Carbon Fiber depending on adhesive. Won't protect from dents.
  2. Derailleur guards are a terrible idea -- the force transmitted in a crash will be applied in a way not in line with design and damage the frame, whereas if the derailleur is installed as normal, the hanger will bend (or break) and is usually easily replaceable or reparable (align with something like the Park Tool DAG). If the derailleur is damaged, it's a heck of a lot cheaper than repairing the frame damage caused by a derailleur guard. You could spec an internal gear hub or single speed instead, if you want to avoid derailleur damage depending on the frame.
  3. Bumpers -- See point 1. I see these as likely less useful than the film.
  4. Crash Guard -- See point 2. Plus, there aren't as many nice mounting points as on a motorcycle since you have to pedal on a bicycle for it not getting in the way, whereas you only shift+brake with foot movement on a motorcycle.
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  • Regarding 2 - watch the video, bumpers seems to be effective. – Gill Bates Sep 10 '16 at 22:04
  • And regarding 1 - there are some products, that claim to provide protection from impact. – Gill Bates Sep 10 '16 at 22:33
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    There are also people who tell you you can lose weight by wearing a magic bracelet. The demos aren't particularly convincing -- You can hit a Prince Rupert's drop with a hammer all day at the head, but at the tail, a little tap will make it explode, for example. They don't demonstrate that they provide anything beyond cosmetic protection on a bicycle (and a bicycle is not an airplane, in regards to the 3m link) or real bicycle impacts. – Batman Sep 10 '16 at 23:18
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    +1. One exception to #3 Bumpers protect Carbon framed from triple crown forks - but as the pic provided by @RoboKaren shows, triple crowns and carbon are maybe not a really good mix :) – mattnz Sep 11 '16 at 6:41
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    You are riding beyond your skill level. Concentrate on improving your technique... build up gradually. – Chris Sep 11 '16 at 13:41
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If you don't mind the looks, pipe insulation can protect your bike against both dings and scratches -- as well as bike thieves. Some people wrap duct tape over the foam to give the bike even worse looks. :-)

enter image description here

(Picture from Hugovk of Flickr.com -- CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 on Flickr)


All joking aside, the most likely source of major damage in a crash is not a ding from impact damage, it's a bend caused by the sudden deceleration forces acting on the head tube in a frontal collision, or lateral forces on the main triangle. There's not that much you can do to protect against this type of damage.

enter image description here

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    A little duct tape should fix that right up. – user7236 Sep 11 '16 at 7:12
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    Best advice would be: Don't crash, keep the wheels on the road, always! – Carel Sep 11 '16 at 10:48
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    The bike with pipe insulation is mine :) It was specifically for when taking the bike on a plane in a big CTC plastic bag, a bit like this: travellingtwo.com/resources/… – Hugo Apr 9 '19 at 19:07

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