Fenwick's Professional Protective Coating is designed to provide a long-lasting, protective lacquer to all surfaces. Unlike most wax products, it seems genuinely invisible and therefore compatible with matt, satin and gloss finishes. Thus far, a little seems to go a long way and is performing very well.
- Pros: High quality, lasting effects on all finishes, economical
- Cons: Best results require 8 hours
Fenwick's was understandably coy when it came to discussing specifics, but I can tell you it's a water-based sealant. When cured, it offers an invisible barrier that not only protects the frame, components and appropriate surfaces (i.e. not braking, or contact points such as brake levers, bar tape etc) from grime, slush, sweat and similar contaminant.
Fenwick's claims it will last 'up to six months', which is twice that of some boutique waxes, although regular washing, turbo trainer service and salty winter roads are likely to put a dent in this. There's negligible protection against UV rays, which isn't likely to be a deal-breaker for most people, especially if you've applied a suitable wax product first.
Like most wax/preserves, it's best delivered to a clean, dry bike, so take this opportunity to give recipient bikes a sudsy bucket wash 'n' rinse. Now might also be the time to treat them to a quick furniture/matt-specific polish or hard paste wax.
That done, give the Fenwick's a brisk shake, flick the nozzle open and spray a small amount into a clean, lint-free cloth. Once you've delivered an even coat, working in small sections, leave to cure for 30 seconds, then buff and leave. At this point, you can scoot off. However, for best results, leave overnight.
I've tested the Fenwick's on unsealed matt (stove) enamels, flamboyant enamels, gloss (and lacquered) powder coating, satin paints, anodised, electroplated and polished (stainless steel, aluminium) surfaces, and the odd matt helmet.
My tubby tourer was the primary candidate, being a four-seasons all-weather beastie, one that gets shod with spiked tyres and tackles snowy lanes. I opted for a very generous powder coated cream and black livery, and zinc rich epoxy base coat. These ultimately precluded an acrylic clear coat. Consequently, it shows every little mark, every oily fingerprint.
To date, the Fenwick's is living up to the hype. Oily fingerprints, PTFE overspray, splashes of coffee/energy drinks and of course rain have rolled off. Allowed the full eight hours, there's been no transference. No unsightly oily blotches in matt finishes either.
Less apparent on lacquered framesets, but stroking seatposts, stem and helmet shells you can feel a tangible barrier – one that has done a decent job of repelling showery rain: it just beads up then rolls away without any unsightly watermarks/staining.
I also applied some to my long-serving touring shoes. These are regularly treated to a high quality 'food', keeping the hide nourished. Again, that sealant barrier is invisible to the naked eye yet dismisses rain and discourages similar contaminant from sticking.
The same went for retro leather-palmed mitts, which was pleasing since even with six-weekly treatments of hide food these are prone to sweat, energy drink and similar staining. (Fenwick's is slightly better than Crankalicious Leather Lacquer in that respect).
Back to bikes. Riding along freshly resurfaced roads, tar/spatter and dust will still present around the seat tube, rear triangle and chainstays, as it would on a lacquered surface. However, these are effortlessly dismissed with a clean cloth.
It has certainly made the tubby tourer easier to keep clean, reducing the need for sudsy bucket washes. Several washes in, there's little evidence of the Fenwick's relenting.
In this, and several other respects, it does seem superior to Crankalicious Enduro Long Lasting Frame Sealant. That is much cheaper at £4 for 100ml, though each application is reckoned to last three months not six, and it does seem less stoical than Fenwick's in comparable conditions/contexts.
Bottom line, the Fenwick's does exactly what it says in the blurb and could be a boon if you want a single treats-all product. I'd probably stick with that tub of polymer car wax if your bikes sport glossy, lacquered surfaces, but if you've a mixed fleet, with gloss, matt and satin finishes, then Fenwick's Professional Protective Coating is a worthwhile investment.
Useful protectant barrier that works on all finishes and reduces cleaning times/frequency
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Fenwick's Professional Protective Coating
Size tested: 100ml
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?
Fenwick's says, "This professional grade sprayable protective coating solution from Fenwick's is ideal for keeping your gloss, matt or carbon finished frame in showroom condition. Just one coating will last up to 6 months and make your bike easier to clean. Thanks to its unique formula, this protective coating has the ability to act as an invisible surface sealant without changing the cosmetic appearance of your bike.
"After the coating has been applied, your bike will be resistant to contaminants such as energy drinks, gels, road grime and dirt, making cleaning your bike faster and effortless. A workshop favourite, the Fenwick's Professional Protective Coating is easy to apply and provides long-lasting support as you conquer the elements."
I'd say it's a useful semi-permanent lacquer that is living up to the hype.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Directions for use: Shake well. For best results apply to a clean dry surface.
Step 1: Apply a small amount to a soft polishing cloth.
Step 2: Buff into surface covering all areas evenly.
Step 3: Allow to cure for 30 seconds.
Step 4: Buff over. For best results leave to rest overnight.
It is a water-based product, so no harmful solvents are used. It does work across all finishes as mentioned above, and will not create any discolouration (whitening) on any surface, on soft or hard surfaces eg on cable housings or rubber grommets.
Very good to date, on all surfaces. Good quality barrier, claimed to last up to six months (depending on weather conditions/riding contexts).
Seems a good quality barrier, resisting the usual culprits very well thus far. Quality seems superior to other sealant products I've used recently. However, too early to say whether this superiority will last longer than its rivals.
Water-based, so pleasant to use – with the usual, sensible precautions.
Higher than some sealant type products, but promises to last longer.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, the Fenwick's has proven a very effective semi-permanent lacquer product that protects all finishes and keeps them much easier to keep/clean. My Univega was the "acid test" and one it passed with flying colours. Chain lube and other petrochemical spatter doesn't transfer nearly so easily and extends cleaning periods.
It also appears to achieve similar results on helmets and shoes, though I would always "feed" leather beforehand for optimal protection, especially during the more challenging seasons.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
High quality barrier, simple to apply.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing, given the design brief.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Crankalicious Enduro Long Lasting Frame Sealant is £4 for 100ml, so at £11.99 the Fenwick's is more than twice the price, though it promises to last twice as long. It also offers a richer barrier.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
High-quality protectant that does what it says in the blurb. It's certainly not essential if your machines have gloss, lacquered finishes but is very useful on matt/unsealed surfaces. It'll be interesting to see how it fares during a harsh, challenging winter.
About the tester
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, mountain biking
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)