Last spring I was at the local bike shop when a young man brought in his two-week old $1,900 mountain bike for repair. He claimed that when he was out riding on a local trail his bike frame buckled—and since this was obviously a manufacturer’s defect he wanted a new bike frame. The folks at the shop told him they would email a photograph of the damage to the manufacturer and file a claim for him and then let him know what the manufacturer decided. When the guy left the shop I looked at the frame and could immediately tell that the damage to his down tube was not a defect—it appeared as though he had hit a large rock or tree stump and it left a nasty gash in his down tube about four inches above the bottom bracket. The folks at the bike shop knew the guy was not telling the truth about how the damage happened, but instead of calling him a liar they would let the manufacturer break the bad news to him. I thought about this incident when the folks at Frame Defender asked me to review their bicycle frame protector—a product that could have saved this guy from a lot of grief.
Frame Defender is made of a dense, but lightweight, foam that is intended to absorb the energy from a shock (like hitting a large rock or tree stump). Most of the products on the market that claim to protect your frame simply protect it from scratches—this product is meant to protect the frame from impacts. Frame Defender is not just a single pad to protect the down tube—the kit also comes with pads to protect your chain stays and four extra pads you can use at your discretion. The down tube pad measures 24″x3″. There is also a 10”x3” pad and a 8”x2” pad, along with four 1.5”x1” pads. The standard thickness of each pad is 5.5mm. These pads can easily be cut down to size with an X-Acto knife or razor blade.
On the back of a Frame Defender pad is a thick layer of 3M adhesive. When you put this product on your bike consider it to be a permanent addition—3M adhesive products are meant to last. Normally I test every product I review, but there was no way I could truly test this product unless I deliberately crashed my bike into the boulders around Lake Michigan. However, after examining the product I am certain it will work as advertised—unless you get hit by a truck I think your bike frame going to be well protected by this product.
Frame Defender Kits retail for $25 and are only available from the Frame Defender Website. Once you get to their Website you can look at the 20 or so colors and patterns they have available. You can choose from several solid colors (like black, blue, and grey), two-tone color combinations and several camouflage patterns.
As my regular readers know, I seldom keep the products that are sent to me for review. While I did examine, twist, handle and photograph this product I did not put it on one of my bikes (remember, this product should be considered a permanent addition). So, I have one Frame Defender Kit in perfect condition that I am going to give away to some lucky reader. To enter the contest for the Frame Defender Kit pictured above all you have to do is pick a number between 750 and 1000 and enter it in the comment section below (you don’t actually have to make a comment). The contest ends at midnight (CST) on Friday, February 8, 2013. After the contest closes I will use a random number generator to pick the winning number. If no one has the exact number the person with the number closest to, but not over, the winning number will get this Frame Defender Kit. In case two or more people chose the same number the first person to pick the number will be the winner. This contest is for U.S. residents only and only one entry per household allowed. When the contest is over I will publish the results in the comments section of this article. I will send this product to the winner via U.S. Mail at my expense.