This site gets, with some regularity, questions wondering whether some small damage to a carbon frame affects the integrity and the safety of riding that bicycle. Here is a chronological sample: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19,...

Does a thorough cover with a polyurethane wrap actually reduce the chance that a stray rock or other minor incident will damage the frame? Not just in theory. Have you used some wrapping, went through a mishap, and your frame survived—intact, or at least with no concern?

Put another way...

An externally routed cables that repeatedly rubs against one spot will eventually scratch not just the clearcoat, but also the lacquer, and polyurethane is perfectly suitable for this kind of prevention.

Does a polyurethane wrap prevent more damage than rubbing, in particular given the anecdotal risk that such a wrap, even that from an established two-alphanumeric brand, will stick so hard it will take the clearcoat off when it's eventually time to replace it?


1 Answer 1


It would take a lot to convince me a thick version of plastic sandwich wrap provides more than cosmetic protection. Carbon is an awful lot more robust than people think, evidenced by all those questions.

Rubbing of cables and outers can wear though the paint and cause more than cosmetic damage, however this does not usually happen overnight and regular maintenace will spot this before its more than cosmetic and address it. I am far from convinced a layer of thick sandwich wrap helps here - if your not inspecting the bike enough to notice the wear though the paint, you are unlikely to notice it wearing though the plastic then the paint. Maybe the extra time will help.

Perhaps answering the question - While I do not believe in plastic wrap, the fact my bike, without, is still rideable is evidence it is not needed. I have deep gouges around the BB where the chain was dropped. It has a deep groove worn from a cable around the head tube (my bad strapping onto a car rack for a long drive over bad roads, should have paid more attention to it). Has numerous chips from stones and prangs.

My advice to anyone who thinks wrapping a carbon bike in plastic will stop structural damage is buy an alloy bike. If you really must ride the lightest framed bike a manufacturer will fabricate, look after it, don't expect wrap to help.

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