Are you sick of damage to your bike from uplifts, crashes or rubbing cables? InvisiFRAME might have the answer…
Bike tape is nothing new – there have been various types and qualities hanging around for a while now. However in the past it’s always been the same story – it comes on a roll in a rectangular shape and it’s up to you to measure, cut and fit to your frame. Therein lies the weakness – I’m firmly in the camp of ‘spend more time riding and less time faffing’ so my previous attempts at fitting bike tape looked something like trying to cling film your sandwiches when you’re in a rush – it sticks to everything apart from what you’re trying to wrap and ends up in the bin.
So along came invisiFRAME, Lee is based in the Midlands and his other line of work is in the automotive trade spraying cars and fitting vinyl graphics (as well as working part-time to teach others to do it too) so therefore has access to the very best quality 3M ‘Venture Shield’ vinyl and has the skills to design templates and fit it. There are two sides to the business – if you happen to live in the Midlands you can take your bike along to a bike shop near you (take a look at the website for more information and stockists) and Lee will get it fitted for you. Or if you go to the website you can order the custom cut vinyl and fit it yourself.
invisiFRAME have made a whole bunch of templates for all the popular bikes out there – from Banshee to Mondraker or an Orange Five as we have here, if your bike isn’t listed don’t worry – Lee can get one designed up for you, just get in touch. The attention to detail in the templates is incredible, you can see in the photos that Lee has taken the time to plot out the grommet holes in the swingarm and follow the paths of the welds. Now each frame will always have subtle differences in weld width so they don’t sit perfectly along them but more than close enough to protect the area. It takes a very close eye to spot the edges of the tape and just how closely it follows the contours of the frame – a very neat job indeed. On the right colour bike it’s nearly impossible to see, there’s also the option for either matte and glossy vinyl to suit anodised or lacquered frames.
Here’s the part where I should really say how easy it was to fit and how I took the time to get it perfect but I’ll be honest – I dropped it off at my local shop and Lee did it for me. Great service and I’d got my bike back in a few days looking shiny and new. At the time of writing Lee works with Plush Hill Cycles and Blazing Bikes in Church Stretton, Stans Cycles and The Trailhead in Shrewsbury and Leisure Lakes Bikes in Wolverhampton. This particular Orange Five is unpainted and just has a layer of lacquer over the top of the brushed raw metal so I’m always a bit worried about scratching it and on the first ride the tape proved its worth, a quick sortie left me crashing into a tree and a rip in the tape on the top tube, but no damage underneath. Perfect! A quick replacement in that area and all is well again.
If you want to keep your bike looking as fresh as the day it came out of the paint booth then taping it up is definitely recommended, especially those who have carbon fibre bikes and flinch at every stone flicked up by the front wheel. Whilst you can buy it off the shelf as a roll and get your scissors out – there is a much neater way! A kit like this to fit yourself would cost around £50 from the invisiFRAME website and with a few hours invested, or get in touch with one of the bike shops Lee works with and get it sent to the pro’s for a small extra fee, you’ll have a bike that is protected from all the usual scratches. Whilst that’s probably a little bit more expensive than buying a plain roll, invisiFRAME will supply you with a pre cut bespoke template, the squeegee to apply it and a list of instructions too. For the real bike tarts you can also get custom kits to cover crank arms and fork lowers.
If you’ve just splashed £2k+ on a new bike you’d be daft not to look after it, and that little bit extra on top seems worth it to me. I’ve had the kit fitted to my bike for a good few months now and it shows no signs of lifting at the edges or looking worn at all – should you scuff the tape itself it’s thick enough to polish any small scratches out. Good quality, great service, what more do you need? Don’t be a fool, wrap your tool!