Red Ant are a bicycle cleaning product company with a variety of products on offer, all aimed at keeping your pride and joy in top nick. As part of this, they make a 'Carbon Fibre Frame Protector' - a sort of polish if you will, which they claim employs "Specialist carbon fibre bicycle frame surface protection technology that lasts for up to 4 weeks"
The first thing I want to get out of the way is that this is a confusing description for a product. First off - and without wanting to get too bogged down in detail - there are many different variations of carbon fibre that a frame can be manufactured from, and myriad different types of paint are used as a finish on top of these carbon fibres depending on the manufacturer's choices. There are very few - if any - production bikes in the world that have no paint finish on them, and so the idea that this product is designed for the carbon itself is a bit of a bizarre one. A second point of interest is that on my personal bike (a Scott CR1) the paint is a matt finish on top of carbon fibre. Red Ant also offer a Matt Finish Bike Frame Protector. There was no information available to me from Red Ant to help inform which product I should actually be using - so Red Ant lose a point there.
Anyway, on to the Protector itself. It comes in a rather nice brushed aluminium bottle, and the spraying mechanism worked well when applying it to my frame. It's only a small thing, but a cheap sprayer that breaks on you can be rather annoying. Red Ant instruct that the protection should be applied to a clean frame - obviously cleaned using their own products - and then rubbed in with a cloth. I found that a little goes a fairly long way with the stuff, and that surprisingly it smells quite nice. If you're really into how your bike looks you can also buff it with a soft cloth but seeing as my bike has a matt finish - and I have better things to do with my time - I didn't bother.
And that was about it really. My frame didn't look any better, and only felt slightly smoother to the touch. To be honest, at this point I thought it was all a bit of a wasted 5 minutes, and my views didn't really change until I came to clean my bike a couple of weeks later after a bit of a damp race. When I ran a hose over it, the water ran off my bike twice as fast as it would have done otherwise, and muck and grime came off far more easily. There was also quite a bit less general road crap on my frame than there normally would be. The protector suddenly became a lot more useful, and I found myself making sure I bothered to use it again after washing my bike.
At a penny under a tenner I found the Frame Protector to be reasonably well priced. I wouldn't spend any more than that on a polish, but if you use it sensibly you'll get plenty of mileage out of a single bottle.
Overall I found Red Ant's Carbon Fibre Frame Protector to be worthwhile purely for the reduction in bike cleaning time it allowed. However I found its description confusing, and would be interested to see how much of a difference there is between the different protection products available for different frame types.
Frame protector that helps speed up bike cleaning time
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Make and model: Red Ant Carbon Fibre Bicycle Frame Protector
Size tested: 250ml
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?
From i-Ride, Red Ant's UK distributor:
* REDANT Precision frame Protectors have been specially designed to protect your frame whatever finish they have.
* The unique formula helps repel water and prevent dirt adhesion between washes.
* Specialist carbon fibre bicycle frame all over surface protection technology that lasts for up to 4 weeks.
At first seemed fairly pointless, but then came into its own when cleaning my bike a few weeks later.
Protection lasts a good few weeks.
I'd pay a tenner for it.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
How easy it was to clean my bike.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The fact that it's really a paint protector, and has nothing to do with the carbon fibre underneath the paint.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe.
Age: 21 Height: 182cm Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: On-One Carbon Whippet Single Speed MTB/Kinesis Pro6 My best bike is: Scott CR1 Pro
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,