Bike Hacks: Save Your Frame’s Paint with 3M VViViD Tape


Bike Hacks: Save Your Frame’s Paint with 3M VViViD Tape

3M’s VViViD tape can offer peace of mind if you’re worried about strapping bags to your new bike’s fresh paint. We review a lot of bikes over here at The Radavist, and with each frame sent to us comes a responsibility to treat the bike as if it were our own. Many of these bikes get bags or other gear strapped to them throughout the review period. Over the past few years, John’s been using this protective tape to protect his review bikes, and it’s cheaper than you’d think…


Grab the slider and transform this pristine show bike into a dusty and sated touring bike!

Bag Wear Bummers

I remember picking up a custom bike from a showcase in 2019 and immediately taking out on an overnighter. The frame had a fancy Cerakote finish that cost a lot of money. I’d heard good things about Cerakote’s resiliency for wear and tear since it’s used primarily in firearm applications; it has to be hard and thin due to strict tolerances. So I assumed strapping bags and gear to it would be ok.

Now, when I strap a frame bag on a bike that’s not mine, I’ll protect the finish…

I finished a week’s worth of riding in the Eastern Sierra of California, only to take the bags off the bike and see the finish rubbed down to the raw metal. Volcanic dust had gotten under the bag’s straps and sanded away the finish. Had I known, I would have first covered the frame with some form of protection. I’m all for “beausage” or beauty through usage, but this was painful for me to see after spending thousands on this new frame.

Since then, when I review a bike, particularly a carbon bike, I do this to protect the frame’s finish. It’s not just the bags that cause paint or finish wear; it’s when dirt, dust, or sand gets under the straps…

3M Vivid Automotive Film

Used to protect bonnets, runners, and door edging on new cars, 3M’s VViViD clear paint protection vinyl film is perfect for wrapping around your bike’s tubes and any contact point where the bag’s straps can rub the paint raw. What makes the VViViD 3M tape so great is it’s thinner than other 3M films or even films offered by bike brands. Yet it’s incredibly durable.

Installation Tips

I’m not that picky about applying the VViViD tape. I’ll wipe down the area where the bag will go with an alcohol swab to remove any oils or grease. Then, I’ll install the bag loosely to get an idea of where and how it’ll fit. Then, I’ll hold the tape up, cut it into shape, and install it.

This blasted logo on the raw titanium frame would normally be rubbed raw after a few rides…

The thickness of VViViD means it will wrap and contour to your frame’s nooks and crannies by using a simple burnisher or squeegee. If you want to get crazy, a hair dryer or heat gun on the low setting will “shrink wrap” it to the frame’s contours. Honestly, I just wrap the tube, and there are often air bubbles, but it doesn’t bother me.

Removing the tape is a cinch, too. It peels right off in one piece without ripping, and most importantly, it won’t pull your frame’s paint or any decals above the clear coat. This is particularly helpful with raw titanium bikes with logos etched into the metal, like the image of the Vital Bikes above, or bare vinyl decals.


When I recently sold my Moots Womble, I removed a section of VViViD tape from a decal I put on the bike and was amazed at how the vinyl hadn’t discolored or degraded. Living at 7,200′ in the Southern Rockies, our UV index is high, and any sort of plastic or vinyl will degrade quickly up here. The Womble had seen a lot of UV exposure, and the VViViD tape looked like I had just put it on the bike.

Comparing to Ride Wrap or Other Products

VViViD comes in 4″ – 12″ wide rolls from 25″ all the way to 600″. Our local auto parts store carries it in 60″ rolls, or you can buy it from Amazon in a variety of lengths. It comes in a kit with a detailer edger and two black felts to aid in application. The 72″ long roll retails for $17. Compared to a Ride Wrap kit, which starts at $65, or a Lizard Skins kit for $44, this is way cheaper but you’ll have to do your own cutting and shaping. Luckily, scissors are very easy to use. You can use it on forks, cranks, or handlebars too.

To be fair, I’ve used both Ride Wrap and Lizard Skins products, and they are worth the ease of installation. However, when you have bikes that aren’t mass-produced, it’s hard to find a universal kit that works…