There has been a lot of buzz in the bike community recently about using helicopter tape for bikes. While this highly durable and versatile tape was originally intended to be used on helicopter blades, many cyclists are wondering if this sturdy, rigid material can serve as an effective way to protect their bike frames from damage and wear.
The answer seems to be yes. Helicopter tape is known for being extremely durable and resistant to scratches and dents, making it an ideal material for use on bike frames.
In addition, since this tape is fairly lightweight and flexible, it can easily conform to the curves of your frame without causing any significant changes in weight distribution or handling.
And with its high-adhesion properties and resistance to rain and moisture, helicopter tape forms a strong protective barrier against common hazards like road salt, dirt, oils, and grime buildup.
So if you’re looking for a smart way to protect your bike from damage while still maintaining its sleek, stylish appearance, look no further than helicopter tape. Whether you ride on urban city streets or mountain trails, this material will help keep your bike resilient season after season.
Continue reading to learn more about helicopter tape, what it is, what’s the best helicopter tape, why it’s so expensive, where to buy it, as well as some cheap helicopter tape alternatives to purchase to use on your bike, and more.
What Is Helicopter Tape?
Helicopter tape, also known as heli-tape, is the highest-grade and strongest polyurethane tape that has developed over time for its use on commercial and military helicopter rotor blades.
Because of its superior performance, UV resistant, fully transparent, and resistant to fading, helicopter tape has become a popular choice for other applications that need an incredibly strong, abrasion-resistant tape. This includes uses like snowmobile skis, racing boats, and of course, bicycles.
What Is 3M™ Helicopter Tape?
3M Helicopter Tapes were originally designed to help prevent structural damage to helicopter rotor blades while having minimal impact on blade track and balance.
As a result of their improved performance over alternative materials previously utilized, 3M Helicopter Tapes have been tailored throughout the years for commercial and military helicopter OEMs.
This tape’s strength and rigidity make it ideal for various other applications, including bike repairs and maintenance. Since the 3M™ Helicopter Tape has a transparent film finish, it is virtually undetectable, making it the perfect tape to use whether you need to protect your bike’s frame from the chain or reattach a handlebar grip.
What Are the Benefits of Using Helicopter Tape on Your Bike?
- Helicopter tape is extremely durable, making it great for protecting sensitive parts on your bike frame.
- Helicopter tape is also UV-resistant, so it will not yellow or discolor over time like other types of bike protective tape.
- Helicopter tape is simple to use and remove. It can also be trimmed to size and shaped to fit curved areas on your frame.
- Helicopter tape has a great reputation for not peeling or lifting with age.
- When used appropriately, helicopter tape appears transparent. As a result, it can be applied over painted bikes while still allowing you to enjoy the entire detail and color of your bike.
Why Is 3M™ Helicopter Tape So Expensive?
Create a Tough, Long-Lasting Barrier Regardless of the Task
The 3M™ polyurethane protective tape has been subjected to a variety of UV, fluid, and performance testing conditions. As a result, this tape also offers a one-of-a-kind mix of high strength, abrasion resistance, and conformability, making them ideal for any application.
Provide Excellent Structure Adhesion
The 3M™ polyurethane protective tape produces a continuous barrier by adhering to surface structures, sealants, and elevated features that they have been stuck to.
As a result, these helicopter tapes offer a solution to more intense problems, regardless of whether you’re dealing with a military helicopter or a mountain bike.
Considered a Military Grade Tape
Over the years, 3M™ polyurethane protective tape has been upgraded and developed to suit the needs of the military, making it military-grade tape. As a result, this quality makes the tape more expensive to purchase for regular, everyday use.
Where to Buy 3M™ Polyurethane Protective Tapes?
Auto Detailing Shops
Your local auto detailing shops are a great place to start looking for 3M™ Helicopter protective tape. They always have little strips leftover that get tossed in the trash, and the sizes are perfect for protecting your bike from all kinds of hazards out on the trails.
Sometimes they even give you the stuff for free. Just buy a coffee and be nice!
Regardless of whether you’re struggling to find helicopter tape in stores or whether you just want a more direct approach to make sure you purchase the right kind of tape, fortunately, 3M™ Helicopter protective tape can also be bought online through a variety of reputable sources.
You can start your online search on eBay. With multiple Helicopter tape options available to choose from, this can make your search easier and more affordable.
However, take note that while eBay is semi-regulated, sometimes sellers can attempt to scam you by sending you something other than what you purchased. As a result, you should always check the seller’s reviews and ratings before pressing “add to cart.”
How to Apply 3M™ Helicopter Tape
Cheap Helicopter Tape Alternatives for Bikes
Whether you ride a road bike, a mountain bike, a gravel bike, or a cyclocross bike, the frame will undoubtedly get pinged and dinged by pebbles or debris forced up by the front wheel.
If you’re struggling to find the true 3M™ Helicopter protective tape, or if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, fortunately, there are a number of Helicopter tape products available on the market today that can help with these damages. We’ve listed some of the best cheap helicopter tape alternatives below.
ISC Racers Tape HT2314
- ISC Helicopter-OG-HD Heavy Duty Surface Guard Tape is...
- Helicopter-OG-HD Surface Guard Tape Features and Benefits...
- Product Applications include: Body panels on race cars....
- Carrier/Backing: polyurethane film. Adhesive: acrylic....
- Adhesion: 110 ounces per inch (to stainless steel test...
ISC Racers Tape is both conformable and extremely strong. This 14-mil outdoor grade polyurethane tape can also be described as helicopter blade-edge wing tape. As a result, the thick film backing on ISC Racers Tape provides exceptional protection from punctures, tearing, erosion, and abrasion.
ISC Racers Tape is considered both nice and thick, clear, cuts well, applies easily, and adheres to even the most difficult angles where every other tape type would usually peel off. Those who purchase this tape with the intent of protecting their new bike will be pleased since, overall, ISC Racers Tape is considered excellent, resists abrasion and is considered easy to apply.
VViViD 3M Clear Vinyl Paint Protection Film
- 3M Scotchgard paint protection film is virtually invisible...
- Clear polyurethane film is 8mil thick with adhesive backing
- Product applied to reduce paint chips and bug damage
- Keeps your car's paint looking newer, longer
- Step by step installation instructions available online!...
The most efficient approach to protect your bike from damage caused by stones, sand, gravel, road debris, and insects is to apply VViViD 3M Clear Vinyl Paint Protection Film. This paint protection film is 8 millimetres thick and has a clear top-coat finish, which allows the transparent bra to shine like your bike’s paint, making the tape nearly undetectable on your bike’s painted surface.
VViViD’s 3M Clear Vinyl Paint Protection Film also has a 5-star rating on Amazon.com and comes with online installation instructions.
Effetto Mariposa Shelter Protective Tape
- Effetto Mariposa
- Shelter Off-Road Tape
- Chainstay/Frame Protection
With a 1.2mm thickness and a very adhesive backing, the Effetto Mariposa Shelter Tape provides great protection and is also considered easy to install. Essentially, this tape works excellently to protect your bike frame, however, take note that certain fluorescent paint jobs can discolour as a result of using it.
Effetto Mariposa’s tape kits come in three distinct types. Nonetheless, every tape strip in the kit is 1.2mm thick, regardless of the kit. Ultimately, this tape is incredibly flexible and mouldable. It’s also a very sticky adhesive, so make sure the size and location are correct before removing the backing tape since it’ll be difficult to remove and reuse once you’ve placed it down on your bike frame.
Overall, this is a product that goes well with any new bike purchase and is the ideal answer for anyone who is tired of unnecessarily scratching their bike’s frame.
Helicopter Tape is the easiest and most efficient way to preserve your bike’s frame and maintain its “like-new” perfect appearance over time. Since it uses the same polyurethane technology as military-grade helicopter tape, you can be confident that when applied correctly, your bike will be protected from everything Mother Nature has to throw at it.
Overall, helicopter tape is designed for usage in aerospace and can survive the hardest climatic conditions. As a result, this UV-resistant polyurethane tape will not peel, discolor, or yellow with age, allowing your bike to look new for a long time.