I’ve got to be honest from the outset here and admit that I’m not the kind of rider who takes much interest in keeping my bikes looking good.
Most of the bikes I’ve bought have been chosen because they were available at a knock-down price, rather than for aesthetic reasons – and I fully accept that dents, scuffs and scrapes are to be expected on a mountain bike.
However I started thinking differently with the last frame I purchased – an apple green Orange Patriot, which was secondhand but in superb condition.
This was a frame I’d always loved the look of – and the vibrant, slightly metallic colour was just beautiful.
My friend Ade had been telling me about fitting the Invisframe kit to his Orange Five (which is the same colour incidentally) and he sounded so impressed with the product that I decided to give my Patriot the same treatment.
The frame had been cheap, it was likely to get crashed and I was planning to keep it a long time – so it seemed worth protecting that gorgeous paintwork.
An email to Invisiframe led to a quick reply from company owner Lee advising me to go with the gloss finish – and a few days later the kit was with me, at a cost of about £50.
Just in case this is all new to you – the actual product is a thick, high-quality clear vinyl with an adhesive backing which is cut to the shape and size for your particular frame.
While I was initially going to apply it myself, I later decided to take a trip down to Shrewsbury – where Invisiframe are based – for a ride on the Long Mynd while Lee fitted the kit himself (for a very reasonable £20).
Arriving back tired but happy about five hours later, I honestly could not tell whether the kit had been fitted or not – at least until I got right up close and found the edges.
I’ve tried sticking random bits of helicopter tape to my bikes in the past and they’ve always ended up looking grubby and untidy – this stuff is in another league. The bike had looked great before but was now even shinier.
That was more than a year ago and I’m happy to say it looks almost as good now, despite crashing it at Antur Stiniog, Fort William and repeatedly on my local trails.
In fact the finish on the vinyl looks just as good as when it was first applied, but I have managed to put a couple of small “snags” in it on the top tube after it landed on a rock at Antur.
The paint beneath appears unmarked however and I’m sure the damage would have been much worse without the frame protection.
When I initially paid the £70 I’ll admit I regarded it as a bit of a luxury, a treat for a bike that I was planning to keep for a long time.
Now I just see it as bloody good value to be honest.