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Think Frame Protection Kits are Overpriced? Ride Wrap Throws Down the Challenge 55

Ride Wrap isn't afraid to take on the internet.

“Why would I spend the money on RideWrap when I can get this other stuff at a hardware store?”

“There are just cheaper options to accomplish the same exact thing.” 

“The price of these kits is just ridiculous. Get on eBay and order some automotive protection tape.”

 - Internet Commenter n+1

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All too often we come across these comments, and on some gloomy mornings we think to ourselves, “Wait, maybe they're right?”

So we decided to put it to a highly scientific comparison test. The idea is simple, two riders will face off against each other. One of them will go with the ‘DIY’ method and the other using RideWrap Tailored Protection and we will examine the merits of each method. 

Some might say, “There’s a lot of variables at hand,” or “That's not fair.” Well, we thought you might. A couple factors that we brought to the playing field. Firstly, each rider is working with the same frame, a Specialized Stumpjumper. This will allow us to examine the same curve complexities with the two methods. Secondly, each frame is dirty before they start to a roughly even degree. Thirdly, we are giving a double leg up to the ‘DIY’ method by putting our top installer from our HQ on the task against an unskilled competitor; he’s done thousands of frames, has mad squeegee skills, and has seen what high coverage pieces look like many a time. 

During and afterwards we are looking to compare a slew of characteristics of the two methods including:

  • Cost
  • Stress
  • Time
  • Install Quality
  • Excess Waste
  • Coverage and Design

With his expertise in coaching, Yoann Barelli took our scientific comparison Into The Gnar!

To keep the competition fun and honest, we invited Into The Gnar coach Yoann Barelli to host and help our contestants along the way. Yoann has a handful of install experience, as you may have seen from his recent video where he takes on RideWrap for the first time at home and a boatload of personality that made this experiment an absolute blast!

Check out the video below to see how Toren and Will fare, and read on below for a deep-dive into the results.

Should you try the DIY method or just buy RideWrap? We put it to a scientific test to compare both methods RideWrap

Scientific Review

Cost

Pretty much the largest argument out there by riders, they aren't wrong, it is ‘cheaper’ to acquire raw materials and go that route.

Knowing the tools that he’d need to get the job done right, Toren began his race by running around Whistler’s Function Junction picking up supplies. In the end, he only needed to make two stops, one at the automotive supply store where he bought a roll of 6-inch 3M automotive paint protection film and another at the hardware store to get masking tape, isopropyl alcohol, microfiber towel, scissors, and baby shampoo. Since there wasn’t a squeegee to be found, he decided to try using a credit card for install ( Spoiler: he ended up stealing Will’s squeegee in frustration ).

Overall he found it fairly affordable but a bit time-consuming to purchase the materials needed and the total real spend was $67 CAD. He will also now have baby smooth hair without the stinging eyes for the next couple of months.

Toren lucked out and found all of his supplies within an hour and only two stops in town

Will’s purchase process was a bit simpler. He ran into the RideWrap HQ and traded his $115 CAD for his Tailored Protection kit. Remember, we are conducting some serious science here, so Will was a bit surprised when the production team told him that he could not jump the queue and would have to wait for it to be made.

In an effort to keep it as fair as possible, Will had to wait for his kit to be printed.

Stress Level

Will won the Low-Stress award. He casually waited for his RideWrap kit to be made, enjoying a pastry and a coffee while Toren was running around gathering supplies.

While Toren ran around in a hurry to get his supplies, this is basically what Will did...

During the install process, there was clear direction and order to Will’s RideWrap kit. Everything was set up for him and this led to what seemed to be a fairly therapeutic process for him. As you’ll see in the video, the stress was a few notches higher for Toren. Having to mask the bike, draw the piece, cut the piece… repeat. It’s a tedious process, even more, tedious when trying to make pieces align nicely together for that high coverage protection.

It is certainly fair to say that had this not been head to head, you could almost certainly make a nice methodical day of the DIY method. In this case, the pre-cut kit has the advantage.

Time

In the end, it was a tight race between the two. Interestingly the pair both started actually installing at approximately the same time, about an hour after they began. We’d say the purchasing segment is a wash for time and mimics a real-world scenario where you’d either have to run around looking for all the bits, or you’d have to order online whether it's RideWrap or a eBay shopping spree.

It was a race! Yes, we actually had a traditional Le Mans start to the race!

When it came time to install, Will took the win. He spent most of his time trying to figure out squeegee techniques and piece placement, while Toren spent his time masking, drawing, and cutting pieces for his kit. Naturally, this is one of the places where Toren’s squeegee expertise paid off in that applying the pieces was a no brainer for him.

Install Quality

When we consider the actual application of the protective film, naturally the win goes to Toren. Noting that the film he had bought was of a lower grade than he is used to and a bit harder to install, he still has the hours and hours of experience applying film and there was not a bubble or fingerprint to be seen.

Same exact bikes, but Toren's install perfection was a notch above Will's in overall quality.

Will crushed it by taking a moment to read the instructions that came with his kit. He didn’t take the note about washing your hands seriously and rushed through cleaning his bike and lost a bit of time and installation quality as a result. Besides a few mistakes, he was able to progress from the rear of the bike to the front with success and quality increasing as he did.

Excess Waste

A category that Yoann was super passionate about and one that garnered quite a stir on set is waste. The RideWrap templates are designed to use material real estate as effectively as possible, leaving a single backing sheet of waste. The packaging is minimal with a cardboard box holding the kit and only a couple small sachets for the wipes and install solution.

On the DIY front, there was nearly an entire roll of masking tape simply thrown out, backing sheet and excess film everywhere, lots of plastic packaging, and afterward a lot of extra isopropyl alcohol, baby shampoo, and about 9 more microfibers from the package to keep around or dispose of.

While both methods are not perfect and do have waste, the volume was less for the RideWrap kit and this segment was won by Will.

Masking tape, plastic packaging and excess film casualties of the D.I.Y. method

Coverage and Design

Last but not least - we have the reason that these two started in this experiment… coverage. In our tests and experience, coverage is the most important factor in a well-protected bike. With that in mind, we at RideWrap designed our range to maximize coverage from the Tailored Protection to our universal fit line-up offering industry-leading coverage.

Will's bike was covered in every possible location with no more than a 3mm gap.

Will used the RideWrap Tailored Protection kit that was made specifically for his Size Large 29er 2020 Stumpjumper. As is the case, he garnered super high coverage across the frame including inside the rear stays, the bridges, and fully wrapped on the front triangle tubes. Pieces are aligned nicely together with 3mm gaps, nice rounded corners to alleviate potentially peeling, and the whole bike, up to 95% on a carbon frame, is protected.

Toren's bike had a few fairly large gaps. The film didn't have enough surface area in some cases.

Within the time, Toren did a top-notch job covering the bike. Key areas such as the top tube, down tube, seat tube, chainstays, seat stays as well as some of the more complex areas had coverage. There were some design aspects to note, corners were not evenly rounded, some features didn't end up aligning quite as nicely as had been planned, gaps were large and inconsistent, and many complex areas were left uncovered. During the test he spent quite a bit of time masking up the full downtube and then trying to peel it back in one piece, only to find that the segment he had designed was actually larger than the 6-inch film he had purchased, leading to a large gap on the upper side of the downtube. His words were clear when he said that he was happy with the product he had created and that it would provide good coverage, but that to do a higher coverage and cleaner job it would take much longer. He decidedly told us he would not be doing the DIY approach ever again.

With no experience, Will was able to do a pretty impressive install job with a great result.

Would it be cheeky to give ourselves the win? Yes, but hey, in complete fairness, you can achieve stunning results with the DIY method. Before RideWrap was formed, a few of the guys on the team were doing this themselves! But the challenge and effort to get there is much higher.

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Well there is our science for the day.

At RideWrap, we’ve taken the time to develop precisely engineered products for your bike. From kit design that is ongoing everyday to sourcing materials that offer the best in protection, we are putting our best out there to help protect bikes from the innate damage they will incur. We are well aware there are other ways to protect your bike, but we come from a wealth of experience and have found the most effective way to great results. Feel free to get in touch any time to learn more about RideWrap products, or to tell us we’re wrong and that you can get heli tape on ebay for $6.90, we’d love to hear from ya.

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