If you are a bit precious about your frame’s paint work then it’s time to consider buying a protector for your top tube. For general commuting they will stop your bike being scratched when you lock up, while for people who are into more adventurous biking they will protect against damage when you jack-knife or crash.
Full disclosure: I didn’t pay for my top tube pad – I won it at the Melbourne Bike Polo Spring Tournament.
The Skingrowsback top tube pad comes in 15 different colours, so it is pretty much guaranteed that you can get a colour to suit you. You can also choose from ten different colours and two different patterns for the stitching, although choosing a custom stitch pattern will set you back $7.
The pad consists of a piece of protective foam that you wrap around your top tube, and a nylon outer in the colour of your choice that wraps around the foam and is secured with velcro. You have the option of adding a tab which you can use to thread through your D-Lock, to minimise the risk of the pad itself being stolen, this tab comes in ten different colours.
I use my Skingrowsback top tube pad on my polo bike – the yellow pad matches my paint job perfectly. I have been using it for around three months and so far it has kept my top tube in perfect condition. It also reduces the chance that I am going to hurt myself when I stack.
Jamie from Skingrowsback makes all his stuff in his Ulladulla workshop on the NSW south coast and is known for his friendly and customised service. For $33 (+$5 postage) this made-to-order pad is a cheap way to extend the life of your frame, and as a bonus you are supporting a great local Australian manufacturer.