Protecting a carbon fat bike fork with heli tape?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Protecting a carbon fat bike fork with heli tape?

    Has anyone wrapped their carbon fat bike fork with heli tape? I have been wanting to do this, but it's a pretty massive piece of kit; seems like it will need to be done in sections. I don't have any experience or really any idea on how to get started besides just buying some strips and applying them, but here's gotta be a good way to do it so that the edges and seams don't look like crap. Any tips, advice, or pics?

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    Crazy on this ship of fools...

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    I've done it on the crown of carbon forks (Travers Prongs - probably rebranded Taiwanese/Chinese) for use with a bikepacking front harness.

    Basically clean everything. Then clean it again. Now do it properly. Get everything, especially the tape, warm. If there's an awkward curved area then think about cutting a paper template first. If the tape's warm then it's reasonably easy to bend in to curves, a hair dryer on its lowest setting and not allowed to stay on one spot for too long will help with those areas. You don't need to have each segment precisely butted up against its neighbour - a mm or two gap is all but unnoticeable.

    Have to ask: why do all the fork? If you are worried about stones chipping it then really you only need to do the rear face of each leg since nothing of note will be coming from the front . The other area to consider might be under the foot.

    Edit: My carbon forks have been on the bike for four years and something like 9,000km of riding in that time and don't have a mark. Obviously your area and riding style will be different to mine but you may be looking for a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.

  4. #4
    Thingamejigger
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    Spray the fork and the tape with water, keep everthing wet and then heat with a hairdryer to warm up allowing manipulation of the tape and get it to stick....

  5. #5
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    My lbs sells it by the foot. I cover likely rock impact areas, crash impact areas, cable rub spots, tire flingage areas, frame bag strap locations, etc. Take your time and practice. I also round corners as corners can catch things and start a peel point.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob_w View Post
    Have to ask: why do all the fork? If you are worried about stones chipping it then really you only need to do the rear face of each leg since nothing of note will be coming from the front . The other area to consider might be under the foot.
    I'm mostly worried about side scrapes and rock chips in the crown area and of course between the legs

    great tips in here keep em coming

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    Quote Originally Posted by frantik! View Post
    I'm mostly worried about side scrapes and rock chips in the crown area and of course between the legs

    great tips in here keep em coming
    Fair enough - I've not had any of that but I suppose my "rocky" riding probably only amounts to 10% of my riding and may have been lucky.

  8. #8
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    Not sure the composition of "Helicopter" tape, but I have always used UHMW tape. Ultra High Molecular Weight is a poly material with extremely high density and wear resistance properties. It will wear through metal before metal wears through it.

    Used to machine bushings from block of this material for industrial food grade bread mixers and the shaft would wear before the bushing material.

    I don't use it for rock chip protection. I typically on use on headtube to protect from cable wear and downtube where it makes contact with my tailgate pad. Tailgate pad material will wear a hole straight through carbon frame over time.

    Carbon has terrible abrasion resistance. They need to develop paintable films that can protect carbon from abrasion.
    Hunt Hard, Kill Swiftly, Waste Nothing, Offer No Apologies...

  9. #9
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    I custom wrap all my bikes with 3M rock guard film that tint shops wrap bumpers with. Make templates for every part so there easy to duplicate. Should be able to wrap a whole bike for less than $20. Its definetly an art or you'll end up with wrinkles seams and sharp edges everywhere

    I hand cut everything with an exact and scissors. 10x the coverage as those shitty pre made kits. Must wipe entire bike with alchohol before application

    If you don't have good hands get applications fluid for repositioning them like rapid tac

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shamis View Post
    Not sure the composition of "Helicopter" tape, ...
    • "Helicopter" tape, or more properly Leading Edge tape, is a sacrificial tape that is used on the leading edge of helicopter blades, propellers and sometimes wings, to take what it can of the abrasion/impact wear & tear that the underlying surface would otherwise have been subjected to.
    • It is a tough abrasion resistant polyurethane elastomer tape with high elongation (500%), high puncture/tear/impact resistance, an acrylic adhesive with a high solvent resistance, it is a good fluid barrier and has a wide operational temperature range. Usually transparent.
    • Example thicknesses in my tape table include: 8 mil, 14.5 mil, and 18 mil, with tensile between 40 and 117 lbs and adhesion between 43 and 110 lbs.
    • Typically good adhering and conforming to curves, compound curves and irregular surfaces ("aggressive" adhesive with high elongation).
    • Is also popular on race cars to protect their leading edges.
    • Often available in 2", 3", 4" and 6" widths (some custom to 48"), some MTB riders like for DIY tubeless tire setups.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying_Scotsman View Post
    Spray the fork and the tape with water, keep everthing wet and then heat with a hairdryer to warm up allowing manipulation of the tape and get it to stick....
    Neat Trick. I don't remember hearing of that before.
    Crazy on this ship of fools...

  12. #12
    Thingamejigger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canoe View Post
    Neat Trick. I don't remember hearing of that before.
    NP.... Watch any foootage of the guys installing Paint Protection film (helitape to cars) and they have soapy water everywhere to allow them to slide the tape around.... same when people are tinting car windows.

  13. #13
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    I had some Frost King weatherseal tape from another project and it seems to work well. Cheap, available locally and goes on easy. Havenít had reason to remove yet, so donít know how that will go.

  14. #14
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    also clear gorilla brand tape works well..
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirt diggler View Post
    also clear gorilla brand tape works well..
    i read elsewhere that clear gorilla tape can leave a residue which is really hard to remove

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