How can I protect my bike frame from chips and scrapes?


Chris has nearly 2 decades of experience in the bike trade, working in bike shops, for bike suppliers and now running Cycleworld UK, his own bike shop.

Chris, from Cycleworld UK, answers a question about keeping your frame in mint condition while you’re on tour.

And he’s got a far better idea than the nail polish we used to touch up our bikes. Never again will you have to worry about chips and scratches on the frame, after a nasty tumble.

The Question: “What’s the best way to protect the frame, when the paint gets scratched on tour? I’ve had a few times where the bike falls over or scrapes up against something and the paint is chipped away. I don’t want my frame to rust but I when I’m on tour I can’t usually find a good framebuilder with paint to fix the damage either.”

helicopter tapeThe Answer: “The best bet is to get the frame painted and sorted at home. Then, cover the frame in helicopter tape or other similar products. It’s a very strong see through plastic tape that will protect any frame from chips and scrapes. We fit it to all our demo bikes including the downhill bike and it leaves them looking fresh.

The best touch-up paint I’ve come across comes from Halfords. That would be better than nail varnish. Then apply a lacquer over the top to offer some more protection.” – Chris of Cycleworld UK

*A little extra research reveals there are many grades of helicopter tape. Try to get an ‘outdoor grade’ tape that won’t yellow with sun exposure.

Thanks to Chris for answering the question. Get in touch to submit a question of your own to Ask A Mechanic.


  1. Grace Johnson
    25th February 2010 at 9:04 am #

    Since I had never heard about protecting your bike with helicopter tape before, I was curious to see how the tape looked on a bicycle. On this site you can read instructions on how to apply the tape to a bike plus see a photo of the final result.

    • friedel
      25th February 2010 at 1:52 pm #

      This is really interesting Grace. Thanks for finding and sharing it with us.

  2. hotshot bald cop
    25th April 2022 at 5:54 pm #

    I didn’t know that.

  3. hotshot bald cop
    7th May 2022 at 1:12 pm #

    I was just telling my friend about that.

  4. hot shot bald cop
    8th May 2022 at 2:52 am #

    I was just telling my friend about that.

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