ISC RacersTape – Bike Protection Tape

by Brian Mullin on November 21, 2008

Reviewed by Brian Mullin aka Gram and Pastajet

Does your mountain bike get scratched or dinged up from rocks and dirt or do cables rub on the frame causing wear spots? “It’s such a fine line between stupid, and clever.”

I stumbled upon this product to protect my Ibis Mojo which is a gorgeous clear coated carbon fiber frame that is very susceptible to scratches. With the usual rocks, trees, bushes, gravel, sand, dirt and cable rubbing, we all deal with on our everyday rides it is easy for any bike frame to get scratched and dinged up.I have had many bikes that look like a bead blaster has been used on the rear triangle right in front of the rear tire. Junk gets flung up from the tire and removes paint and pretty much makes small ding marks anywhere the debris tends to get deposited.Places on the frame such as the bottom of the downtube, the outside edges of the rear triangle and the forks all take a good beating. In addition, anywhere that cables will rub can wreck havoc overtime, since they just keep rubbing in the same spot again and again. “Do you ever have deja vu Mrs. Lancaster? I don’t think so, but I could check with the kitchen.”

Therefore, how do you protect your investment? I know that it’s a mountain bike and abuse is a known entity but our bikes are our little babies which we covet and are proud of. I can’t afford a race car so a bike as is close as I can get to an exotic vehicle! I think a lot us would feel bummed if our bike got to be chewed up? Keeping the bike in good shape also helps it’s resale value.

Most of us use a chainstay protector to protect the frame from the chain but the rest of the bike tends to get abused. Sometimes with a new bike or some part kits you get those little clear stick-on button sized protectors to prevent cable rubbing damage, but that is usually all we have for protection. Minds which just went to the gutter, this is not a form of birth control. Don’t be a fool, vulcanize your tool.

ISC Racers Tape started out in the early 80’s making colored duct tape for auto racing and has since expanded to an entire line of tape for multiple uses. The parent company ISC was founded by Paul Northrop in the early 70’s making tape and industrial packaging products and the business has expanded in the years since and his 4 sons now manage the business. Dan and Dave Northrop who run the sales for ISC Racers Tape compete in drag racing, actually the whole clan pitches in to help out. Thanks Dan for the tape to test!

Their Surface Guard Tape product is the perfect candidate for protecting a mountain bike. The Surface Guard Tape is an extremely tough conformable polyurethane tape which was formerly referred to as helicopter/leading edge tape. Helicopter tape was originally developed by helicopter technicians to protect helicopter rotors and to cover and protect exposed areas from flying debris. Most of the early use of the Surface Guard Tape was for drag racing and other auto sports and has been supplied to NASCAR, F1 and WRC racing teams. It has many applications such as protection for motorcycles, trucks, autos, trailers, bicycles, boats, households and anything you could think of. The tape is an outdoor grade which means it has excellent ultra violet protection, and will not yellow over time. Surface Guard will protect any surface that is prone to scratching, chipping, and weathering.


Using the tape is fairly simple and requires either razor knife or a pair of sharp scissors for cutting the material. Just unroll the tape and cut it off to the required length. Further shapes can then be cut as needed for wherever you will be placing the tape. A multitude of shapes can be created to fit any sort of frame or placement that might be required. Some pretty exotic patterns can be designed.

Once the tape is cut to the length and shape that’s required, separate the backing from the tape and then place the tape in it’s designated spots. Don’t press it down hard

yet until you have it where you want it, that makes it easier to pull the tape back up and maneuver it around. If you pull up the tape to many times you will need to start with a new piece.

Once you have it in the proper spot, press hard and smooth the tape onto the surface, making sure to get out any air bubbles. It conforms to undulations fairly well so just roll it into those spots, and it will stay. When doing long or large pieces start at one end and slowly lay down the tape, re-lift it as needed to maneuver it around while you press the tape along it’s length? The tape also has a good resiliency and stretches when needed for bends and undulations.

The tape comes in a variety of lengths and widths in either 8mil or 14mil thickness. I prefer the 8mil in the 2 inch width for most bike applications. The 14mil was the original helicopter tape format, and it is for extreme conditions, it’s very tough but a bit harder to use and not as conformable.

When the tape gets old or gouged up, simply replace that piece. I suggest that you should make sure the bike and tape are in a fairly warm place before you do any removal. If the bike has been cold for a period the tape adhesive can pull up the clear coat or paint. This is a rare occurrence, but it can happen. A simple hair dryer to warm everything up will do the trick.

In high usage area that get a lot of dirt such as the inside of the rear triangle, dust and dirt will creep in behind the tape, and it will need more frequent replacement.

Bottom Line:
This is a great product for a mountain bike, it’s simple. It protects your bike. You can buy all sorts of lengths and widths of this tape, which will allow you to create a multitude of shapes and sizes to protect your bike. All it takes are a bit of scissor skill, and you can create any sort of pattern. When you buy of roll of this tape it will last you a long time. I have used those little packages of tape like this that will barely cover one portion of a bike. Any size of these rolls will make it through a lot of bike coverage and/or multiple bikes. It is not inexpensive tape when you think of a roll of tape, but it is an incredibility cheap investment to protect your bike. I highly recommend this product, and I will be using it on many bikes for years to come.

-It protects your precious bike!
-Variety of sizes.
-A roll goes a long way.
-Helps retain the bikes resale value.

-Expensive for a roll of tape, but it can last you through a few bikes.
-Under certain conditions the adhesive can pull up the clear coat or paint, this is rare.

Value Rating: 5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

Overall Rating: 5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

Tape specifications:

Color: clear
Grade: Outdoor (UV resistant)
Adhesive: polyurethane rubber
Carrier/Backing: polyurethane film
Release Liner: 92 lb. polycoated liner
Adhesion: 40 ounces per inch (to stainless steel)
Tensile Strength: 48 pounds per inch (longitudinal)
Thickness: 8mil and 14mil
Sizes available: 8mil – rolls of 1″,2″,3″ 4″ width x 30′ long, blister pack 2″ or 4″ x 12′
14 mil – rolls of 1″,2″,3″,4″,6″,8″ width x 30′ or 60′ long
Price: 2×12 $15, 2×30 $32, 4×12 $58 (approx. Prices)

ISC Racers Tape website:
can be ordered directly by calling them at 800-220-TAPE X113 or get your LBS to carry the tape!

Also, available at:

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