Ride Wrap Review: Tailored Protection Kit
After several months of use, we take a closer look at how the Ride Wrap Tailored Protection Kit is holding up on the recently reviewed Kona Hei Hei. Find a gallery of images and some thoughts here…
If you’ve ever researched frame protection options, or read our article on that very subject, you’ve likely heard of Ride Wrap before. The small British Columbia-based frame protection kit manufacturer has made quite the name for themselves over the years, partnering with bike shops all over the world and protecting bikes of all shapes and sizes in the process. If you’ve ever strapped a frame bag to a new bike, then you’re well aware of the aesthetic and structural damage bikepacking bags can cause to bike frames. And while Ride Wrap isn’t necessarily targeting bikepackers with their frame protection, their self-healing vinyl is a sure way to minimize—or in most cases completely eliminate—any damage to your frame.
Prior to sending the Hei Hei CR/DL to me for review, Kona had Ride Wrap install a full Tailored Protection Kit to protect its beautiful paint job and carbon bits. Their Tailored kits are specific to the bike model and size, with what they claim to be the highest available coverage on the market. The kit means strategically positioned seams, a 10-year warranty against discolouration and cracking, and only a very small weight penalty (for those keeping track).
I’ve had to chance to install Ride Wrap’s Essential Protection Kits in the past, which provide some focused coverage for more general wear and tear, and with some patience (and a lot of soapy water) go on pretty easily. With that said, the amount of coverage Ride Wrap’s Tailored Kit offers seems like it would be quite the undertaking, so I was grateful the pros took on that project for me.
The Tailored Protection Kit costs $125 CAD, which is pennies compared to the $8,500 bike it was installed on. Ride Wrap has a large selection of brands and models to choose from, and if they don’t have a kit for your bike, you can request that they create a kit for you. They say the kit covers about 95% of your frame, and paired with a $55 Tailored kit for the fork, you’ve got yourself a very well-protected bike. While steel frames develop a certain patina that some of us lust over, carbon doesn’t age the same way, and bikepacking bags have the potential to rub right through those skinny tubes.
After several months of riding, including a wet and sloppy winter on the coast and several loaded bikepacking trips, here are my thoughts on the Hei Hei’s Tailored Protection Kit.
Difficult to DIY
I think bike-specific frame protection makes the most sense when the frame has lots of curvy, complex shapes and bends. Carbon, full-suspension mountain bikes immediately come to mind. Taking a closer look at the rear triangle and linkages has me thinking a DIY protection tape job would be quite the undertaking. Since the Tailored Kits are frame and size-specific, they are engineered to match up to every awkward little bend, providing great coverage.
When installed correctly, Ride Wrap is hardly noticeable. Although this probably isn’t as much of a concern if your primary goal is loading your bike up with bags, I can appreciate a bubble-free vinyl wrap. The vinyl also has a self-healing top layer that reacts to direct sun or a hairdryer, allowing light scuffs and scratches to vanish, keeping your frame looking fresh.
Protects High Wear Spots
Without a cradle or solid harness of some kind, most handlebar rolls wreak havoc on the bike’s head tube. Nearly all of my bikes have battle scars up front, and most eventually lose their head tube badges as well. The Hei Hei’s head tube looks mint and the Ride Wrap is unscathed. The same goes for where my custom set of Rogue Panda Designs bags spent their days: no damage at all. I was half ready to peel off the Ride Wrap to see just how new the frame looked underneath, but I’ll save that for someone else.
- Material: Polyurethane Vinyl
- Weight: ~50 grams (frame)
- Place of Manufacture: Whistler, New Zealand, Sweden, and UK
- Price: $125 CAD (~$98 USD)
- Manufacturer’s Details: RideWrap.ca
Although I have some experience using Ride Wrap, I’ll admit I was a little nervous to strap abrasive bikepacking bags onto such an expensive bike. However, after a lot of loaded rides and an especially sloppy winter, I’m happy to report that the Tailored Protection Kit brushed off everything that was thrown, scraped, or rubbed at it. Compared to buying some helicopter tape and doing it yourself, Ride Wrap’s kits really aren’t that expensive and are guaranteed to have better results. Will I buy their top-end Tailored Protection for all of my bikes? No, probably not. But for anything carbon and relatively high-end, it’s certainly a compelling option that I’ll keep in mind.
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