There’s nothing worse than that first scratch on a new carbon fiber mountain bike. It’s even worse when it’s on your top tube, staring at you every time you look down. We’ve been adding protection to our frames for sometime now, but in the last year our go-to has been the Honeycomb Frame Guard from All Mountain Style.
The AMS Honeycomb frame guards not only help prevent scratches but add impact and abrasion protection for carbon frames. Made of an automotive-grade semi-rigid PVC material, they add additional insurance for our high dollar investments, plus the honeycomb texture looks pretty sweet.
The Honeycomb Frame Guard comes in two kits, regular and XL. The XL kit provides additional material from the standard package.
Installing the AMS Frame Guard is super easy compared to our experiences with adhesive 3m frame wraps. We started out with a good thorough frame cleaning as recommended. I began with a citrus degreaser then removed any remaining oils using rubbing alcohol.
The black XL kit comes packaged with 10 pieces of protective wrap. A large piece for the down tube, 4 additional arrow sections to extend it, 4 sections for the chainstay, and a rectangular piece for cable wear or other uses.
The areas we concentrated on protecting with the AMS product have been the top tube and down tube; as we have quite a bit of 3m leftover from previous wraps we added small bits on stays and other areas that receive cable rub. The down tube for the obvious reasons. I like to have extensive coverage on the top tubes as well though since brake levers seem to do as much damage as trail debris; especially when bikes are lined up in the back of a truck for shuttles. (admittedly, damage from rocks is usually much worse than small scratches)
The AMS material is stiffer than the 3m we’ve used in the past, which made it possible to hold it on the sides. It also made it significantly easier to line it up and apply it to the frame the first time, without mixing up a spray that allows us to remove it and realign it. My preferred method of install was to cut each piece from the kit, line it up, and lightly press it onto the frame. I’d then slowly remove the backing, pressing from the middle out to avoid air bubbles. I’d then use my thumb and a plastic tire lever press it on.
To have more than ample coverage, I’ve been using the down tube section on the top tubes for a few of our bikes. A brief disclaimer: Inga is an AMS ambassador, so she sourced a few kits so we’d have plenty of the PVC material to work with.
On the Trail
There are a few options available for adhesive frame wraps, but nothing matches the aesthetic of the Honeycomb. With a number of colors available, it’s possible to add a considerable bit of flair to your ride. Inga chose to go bold with her pink motif while I’ve stuck to the clear and black versions for my bikes.
My preferred kits have been the XL sizes in the clear and black options, as they look great and offer additional material and coverage over the basic kit. I’m currently running the black frame guard on my Santa Cruz Nomad for a super stealth look. My blue SC 5010 is using the clear. Inga is running magenta to match the decals on her SC Bronson, and clear on her Cannondale Habit.
Finding a large scratch or gouge in a carbon frame can be disheartening, so in the past I’ve wrapped black electric tape or decals over existing scratches. Adding a section of the AMS guard on one of our older carbon loaner bikes was a nice option for disguising and hiding frame damage as well as peace of mind for future impacts. (out of sight, out of mind..)
The Honeycomb frame guard does a great job protecting against small scratches, scuffs and light impacts and at 28 grams, doesn’t add much in terms of weight. It performs as promised and more than lives up to our expectations. Though it isn’t likely to fully protect against serious rock strikes, it should help in the event of potential impacts.
The All Mountain Style Honeycomb Frame guards are a bit more expensive than generic 3m alternatives. You’re looking at $25 or $35 US (that includes shipping) but we feel it is a better product that adds more protection. Both certainly have a place; the 3m wraps we’ve used in the past do an adequate job protecting in terms of cable rub, but we find ourselves replacing the pieces as they get scuffed. The AMS guard still looks great even after months of wear and tear. The textured surface helps disguise any abrasion of the PVC, though I do find I have to scrub a bit more to clean them after muddy rides. And when it comes time to sell your bike, the AMS guard can be removed with a hairdryer and a bit of elbow grease if desired. Anyone who’s sold a carbon bike knows they hold their value significantly more when they don’t show evidence of normal wear and tear, which makes this product essentially pay for itself.