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Viking 3M Polyurethane Tape was originally designed for the US military to protect vehicles from scratch and abrasion damage, which is why it's often referred to as 'helicopter tape'. It should ensure pretty frame finishes remain chip 'n' blemish free under fire.
Being an industrial tape, it's available in a wealth of widths and lengths. A consumer-friendly roll like this 25mm-wide, 3m length is relatively expensive..
With most stick-on frame protection, it's usually a matter of time before dirt, regular washing and solvent from Teflon sprays creeps beneath, causing them to lift and peel. Viking says theirs will not discolour or pick up dirt at the edges.
A full blown sudsy wash isn't necessary for the tape to stick, but make sure all surfaces have been rubbed with an alcohol wipe and dried thoroughly beforehand. Drying at room temperature or thereabouts is similarly important for staying power, although in practice, some localised assistance from a hairdryer works a treat.
Start by measuring and cutting sections to suit.It's a middleweight, malleable density so there's no need for Stanley knives '' good quality household scissors are fine.
Crafty types can also create really slick patterns for awkward areas, such as head tubes, although for the most part simple squares and diagonals have been perfectly adequate. Tease the backing clear while simultaneously smoothing each section down, paying particular attention to those corners.
Introducing a hairdryer on medium heat at a distance of fifteen centimetres during the smoothing phase removes any trace imperfections, improving adhesion on tricky regions including saddles. Talking of which, we started on the usual suspects '' cable buffers chain/seatstay and top tube protectors (especially where luggage or bottle batteries mount) before extending its horizons to stems, or as substitute finishing strips on top drawer handlebar wrap.
Mountain bikers, cyclo crossers and gravel racers might want to introduce longer strips under down tubes to protect against stone chip damage. Those still using old school clips n' straps will be pleased to note it also prevents unsightly wear forming on pretty crank arms.
Given the asking price, I'd be expecting it to look pristine given three weeks or so, though six months might give a clearer indicator of its staying prowess and UV resistance, but I'm certainly not expecting it to yellow, flake or peel anytime soon.
Extremely versatile protective tape
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Make and model: Viking Polyurethane Protective Tape 3M 8671HS
Size tested: 25mm x 3m
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"3M 8671HS Polyurethane Protective Tapes for bikes, cars and anything else you may want to protect against scratches and erosion". Very promising thus far....
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Self adhesive Polyurethane tape.
Invisible and hard wearing on application
Will not discolour
Will not pick up dirt at the edges
Available in 25mm, 50mm, 75mm and 100mm widths. In 3 metre rolls at attractive prices.
Originally produced by 3M for the US military it has superior abrasion resistance"
Seems decidedly better than most clear, self adhesive tapes.
Shaping up nicely, doing exactly what it says on the tin but several months and a grotty winter might reveal some limitations.
Easy to apply-good preparation and methodical approach is key though.
Not cheap but may well prove excellent value in the long run.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Initial impressions are extremely favourable. Methodical prep/application sees it adhere nicely to most surfaces for a close-to-invisible effect. So far ours has resisted accidental PTFE/solvent based over-spray, stone chips and everyday wear 'n' tear very convincingly.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good quality feel, nice to apply.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing glaringly obvious as yet. Value for money and other factors will be easier to comment upon once its weathered and licked by winter's slimy tongue.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, looks like it will come in very handy, especially on best bikes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Tentative yes at the moment.
Age: 40 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)