Most carbon fiber bikes include some sort of frame protection from the factory these days. While some of the stock frame guards are good, most don’t provide anywhere near the coverage needed to protect your carbon frame investment. Quite a few aftermarket options have sprung up to fill this niche with a lot of available options these days, but with downtubes needing the most protection, the first product I elected to try was the Lizard Skins Carbon leather frame protector.
- Small: Width 32mm, Length 222mm
- Large: Width 64mm, Length 305mm
- Material: adhesive backed “carbon leather”
Out of the box: Installation
The Lizard Skins frame protector comes in two sizes: small and large. Pay attention to the size measurements though, as the small is quite small for mountain bike use. Looking to add additional coverage to a new Specialized Stumpjumper EVO, I initially ordered the size small not bothering to look closely at the width. Needless to say, 32mm is a joke, and while the small size may be suitable for protecting a chainstay, (or a road bike.. it may end up on my gravel bike) it isn’t useful on the downtube.
Desiring frame coverage in time for the weekend, I went on Amazon.com and immediately ordered the size large, which is suitable for extending impact coverage of the vulnerable downtube area.
Installing the frame protection is simple; I started by spraying the area down with rubbing alcohol and wiping it down to ensure a clean surface for maximum adhesion.
Holding it over the area I wanted it applied, I made mental notes on where I wanted it to line up. Pulling back the adhesive on the starting point, I pressed it down, then made sure it was still lined up properly. Then I pulled back the adhesive and pressed it down in the center until it I reached the end. I had to stop for a minute when I reached the areas that were cut out, as the backing ripped a bit. (it was also slightly more complicated given that I was also photographing the process for this review.)
Then I pressed from the center outward, and used a tire lever to push it down firmly. Done.
On the trail
I’m a fan of the Lizard Skins frame guard. (size large, I’m not sure about the small yet) Not only does it extend the protected area of the downtube from rock strikes, but it adds additional protection for when the bike is sitting in the back of a truck on a tailgate pad. It’s thicker than my usual go-to 3M style tape and the carbon skin holds up better than the 3M tape as well. The thickness of the material also helps dissipate damage from impacts.
The downside? It can’t protect what it isn’t covering. I’ve had the new Specialized EVO for a few weeks and I’ve already got a sizable scratch gouge from a rock that flew up on the trail. It certainly isn’t a knock against the Lizard Skin product, but with the damage to the frame comes the realization that it’s more of a starting point for frame protection than a be-all solution. I’m planning to order up additional frame wrap to cover the rest of the exposed downtube, as I don’t want to see that scratch anymore. I also want to continue to ride the bike without a care; being worried about crap on the trail flying up is a buzzkill, and I just want to ride. Still, I’m happy with the Lizard Skins Frame Protector and would add it to other carbon frames I own in the future. I like the aesthetic, the protection, and the price is reasonable.
I can’t say the same for the small size version; unless you are finding your chainstay is getting slapped pretty hard, it’s a bit over kill for use on the stay, especially considering its too small to be useful anywhere else. It’s clearly intended for smaller metal tubes vs carbon frames.
The Lizard Skins Carbon leather frame protector (size large) sells for $21.99. Shop for Lizard Skins Frame Protection at Amazon.com and a portion of your purchase will help out the site.