Red Ant Matt Finish Bicycle Frame Protector will restore sullied stealth colours to their showroom glory for several weeks, though good technique and dry spells have certainly helped.
It's supplied in a 250ml aluminium bottle, and Red Ant is decidedly coy about its exact composition but would say its water and UV repellent wax formula doesn't contain any glossing agents.
Tpplication is extremely straightforward. Having washed and dried bikes/accessories, give the bottle a firm 20 second shake before flicking the nozzle open and firing in short blasts. (Via soft, lint free cloth seems the most economical method).
At this point, things suddenly turn decidedly glossy. Don't panic, it'll just assume that familiar haze and buffs to a deep, flat lustre given a few minutes. In practice, the contents seem decidedly non-plussed when used in direct sunlight. Rather like traditional polymer based waxes, this simply accelerates curing, though polishing out requires more elbow grease.
A single, thin coat seems fine for arid summer days; though doubling up at select areas (fork blades, bottom bracket and rear triangle) affords additional protection without uneven results. Effects are certainly stunning: we're talking factory fresh.
Swirls, light oxidisation, oily finger marks and other minor blemishes literally vanish.
Red Ant suggests the finish lasts up to four weeks, On a sunny-weather plaything, perhaps; expect to get two, possibly three weeks between applications with daily drivers/training bikes. Unlike silicone based product, dust, grain and other airbourne stuff doesn't stick, and water simply beads and rolls away without trace, as does PTFE overspray when treating thirsty cables.
Resistance to finger marks, typical of lifting, carrying or post roadside mechanicals is similarly impressive. That said; residual oils, spilt diesel and stodgier chain lubes have left their calling cards, attracting superficial grime.
Those protectant properties don't disappear at the first hint of a jumbo car sponge. Mixed terrain saunters with healthy smatterings of scuzzy water and trail debris are easily rinsed away. On average we're talking two thorough wash n' rinses per top up, though I'm keen to see how it copes with winter's gloop.
Seemingly durable polish that restores the beauty of stealth finishes
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Make and model: Red Ant Matt Finish 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?
"MATT FINISH BICYCLE FRAME PROTECTOR
* Specially formulated to protect and retain your bikes original matt finish
* Advanced formulation adds no gloss
* Effectively repels water and prevents dirt adhesion between washes
* Offers matt finish surface protection technology for up to 4 weeks".
So far, so good-does exactly what it says on the tin
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Sophisticated blend of non-glossing agents but that's pretty much all Red Ant would reveal.
Good so far.
Pleasant and economical to use.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, I've been pleasantly surprised. Jaded stealth effects are restored to their showroom glory in a matter of minutes with relatively little product or owner effort. Some spatter will stick but protectant isn't easily dismissed come the first jumbo sponge bucket wash. That said; winter's cocktail might dent its economy somewhat, so watch this space.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Pleasing effects with nominal effort.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing thus far, though relatively balmy summers aren't the most taxing time for lubes and polishes.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Quite possibly.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
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)