The Lizard Skins frame protector is a clear protective strip of vinyl with a strong adhesive backing, designed to protect chainstays and other tubing from chain slap or damage from stones and the like. It's neat, unobtrusive and seems relatively effective. My gripe is value. This small size on test is £9; the large is £14.99.
- Pros: Discreet and relatively effective
- Cons: Very expensive compared with alternatives
It's very straightforward to fit. Treat grotty bikes to a wash first or wipe the chainstay to remove wax, oil, or anything else that might interfere with adhesion. Once dry, offer the frame protector to the desired tubing but don't remove the adhesive backing just yet – you want to mould it to the approximate shape, so it sits flush and even.
Once moulded, peel off the backing and smooth into position. An old, clean sock or flannel is perfect for this. Lizard Skins doesn't cite a curing time. I deliberately left ours overnight.
My Univega has a powder coated cream finish without a lacquer topcoat. This helps with adhesion, and means the protector is very difficult to spot – if that's important to you.
Does it work? Well, thus far it's done exactly what it promises, protecting my beloved livery from the occasional chain derailment/slap. Predictably, the odd bit of lube fling and similar road/trail grime has highlighted the protector's outline, but this is easily dismissed with washing. Crucially, oily contaminant and other petrochemical/solvents haven't induced any lifting/peeling.
Though seemingly durable in the short term, whether it matches the Viking 3m polyurethane protective tape remains to be seen. What I do know is that the Viking 3m (pictured below) can be cut to custom shapes, is better value in terms of length, and is also thicker. Four years after application it remains unaffected by winter, frequent cleaning, solvents and so on.
Lizard Skins' neoprene chainstay protector is also going very strong almost 10 years on. While it collects grit (so needs removing and washing periodically), it is portable between bikes and reusable following resprays. Deviating from direct, fairer comparisons, perhaps, many of us make our own chainstay protectors from tightly bound sections of scrap inner tube.
Credit where it's due, the Lizard Skins frame protector does what it promises on the packaging and is better than some OEM factory fitted types. However, it's poor value when compared with 'helicopter' tapes, which are available in reels for similar money.
Does what it promises on the packaging, but it's an expensive way to go about it
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lizard Skins Small Frame Protector
Size tested: One
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 Lizard Skins:
Protect your frame from nicks and scratches using Adhesive Protectors.
* Width: 32 mm
* Length: 222 mm
It's a vinyl self-adhesive strip that offers near invisible defence to the chainstay. Does what it claims on the tin and seems durable, but so are much cheaper alternatives.
Seems durable enough in the short term.
Does what it says on the tin but not markedly better or worse than several alternatives.
Has resisted daily use, wet, salty gritted roads, solvents and occasional chain slap with no evidence of lifting or peeling.
Expensive compared with reels of helicopter tapes, which can be cut to unique shapes and cover much bigger surface areas as required. (And rugged chainstay protectors can be made in minutes from old inner tube and cable ties for virtually nothing.)
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It offers decent defence against chain slap, stone and chip damage, and exposure to salty, slushy roads, solvents and frequent bucket washings have made no impression to date.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Clear, simple to fit and seemingly durable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Expensive compared with reels of helicopter tape.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Poor compared with 3M Viking3m polyurethane protective tape https://road.cc/content/review/129263-viking-3m-polyurethane-protective-...
Did you enjoy using the product? Indifferent
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
It does what it says on the tin, but impossible to recommend over helicopter tapes.
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)