PRODUCT REVIEW: ALL MOUNTAIN STYLE
FRAME AND FORK GUARDS
PROTECTING WHAT WE LOVE WITH A PINCH OF ADDED STYLE
A while back, we were given some All Mountain Style Frame and Fork Guards for our bikes. The products went through the full process of picking the best color for each bike, individual planning on where to best paste the guards, pasting the guards and followed by lots of riding. We came back with some feedback on these frame and fork guards. Read on for the details.
THE ALL MOUNTAIN STYLE GUARDS
Just what are these "protectors"? All Mountain Style Frame and Fork Guards are an adhesive, semi-rigid PVC, in a honeycomb structure that provides high impact and abrasion resistance protection for mountain bike frames. The product claims to have an outstandingly good ability to adapt to our bike frames' curvatures and allow repositioning while installing, thus facilitating installation.
These protectors are designed, produced and sold by a group of mountain bikers from Spain – Niche Commerce, S.L. The guys from Niche Commerce designed and produce stuffs that provide solutions to problems they encounter while riding. Till date, they have a host of ambassadors using their products, including the famous Cedric Garcia.
A call from All Mountain Style Guards' Singapore distributor, Rodalink, gave us the opportunity to try these guards on our bikes.
WHAT DID WE DO?
On first impression, the guards feel thick, tough and quite flexible. Thus far, we are quite convinced that the PVC is of good quality and it should be able to withstand some abuse in the trail. We went on the have a quick mental impression of where each piece of the guards would go – whether it should be a strategic placement for cable rub, downtube protection during uplifts on trucks (without bike trailers), stays wrap to absorb chain slaps, top tube anti-scratch pad against rider's pants/armor or simply aesthetics add-ons.
On comparing the Standard and the XL packs, we immediately prefer the XL pack which comes with additional guards for the fork. Fork arms, being the usual point-party along with the front wheel to tackle any trail feature, seem to be as much a natural magnet (if not more so than downtubes and bottom brackets) for wayward branches, bouncing stones and other trail obstacles. As our logic would go; if we are to take time to paste protective guards on our beloved bikes, we might as well protect it from fork to frame.
AFFIXING THE GUARDS
Our first step was to wipe the bike clean. To make sure there were no residual mud/dirt on the frame's surface before we start our pasting. And once that part was done, we peeled the guards off the sheet and started our mini "frame make-over".
Our first mistake came by when we pasted a long piece of guard over the most curvy part of the top tube. While the manufacturer claims that the honeycomb guards are easy to install and can wrap over curvy surfaces, we feel that the thick and strong guard are only flexible but not 3-dimen. And in a case where the sides need to adhere to a squarish-shaped top tube that is very curvy, the guard would not stick well.
But it is a good thing that the adhesive side is coated with good quality glue. We managed to peel the guard off the original position and re-paste it lower down the top tube where the curve is more gentle.
Care has to be taken to completely press the guards down at curvy turns so as not to leave any open ends along the edge that could later become an inlet for water and dirt to go in. And being priced between SGD35 – 50 a pack, mistakes can be expensive.
While the camo print looked good on the package, we think it works best on white and light colored frames. For black and dark colored frames, the best bet is to go for black (if you have a black frame, or you do not want to change the color of your cool black stallion) or other solid colors to give your bike a slightly personalized and different look.
The guards are die-cut into chevrons, circles or strips which would not look out of place even if its a newly introduced color to your bike. It simply adds some detailing to it.
While there are common areas on the frame and fork which most riders would want to protect, different riders would also have peculiar spots on their bikes which only they are prone to scratching. Or there are areas that they are more particular about and pay special attention to. It could also be that different brands of bike frames may have different vulnerable spots. A case in point – this writer, who loves wearing thick downhill shorts for every ride, always stick anti-scratch pads on the top tube so that his thick pants do not create hairline scratches on the top tube over time.
Of course, as mentioned, different riders has different frame and fork protection pet peeves which they would want to focus on. And that's when the small pieces and die-cut guards become a flexible solution for everybody.
MUD, CHIP AND SWEAT
Riding through muddy trails, some of the guards were splashed with mud. And throughout the ride, although we may not have deliberately smashed our bikes against rocks or branches, we were sure the usual toil of riding single tracks applied. At the same time, with the recent hot and humid weather, we also perspired more than usual. All these resulted in a muddy and sweaty bike at the end of the ride.
And then, it time to wash our bikes.
The guards' adhesive worked as expected, holding on firmly as they should on the frames. And the honeycomb PVC surfaces were easy to wash. No scratches or cuts detected at press time.
DO WE LIKE IT?
Overall, we love the All Mountain Style guards on our bikes. It indeed added a personal touch in terms of aesthetics, and more importantly, it gave us that added confidence that our bikes are protected at all the vulnerable areas. Also, not forgetting that it solved this writer's concern in a easy-to-apply, pre-cut and beautiful way.
All Mountain Style Frame and Fork Guards are available at Rodalink West (18 Boon Lay Way, #01-98D Singapore 609956. Tel: 6795 4320)