CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — An Australian mountain biker keen to protect an expensive new purchase is converting the two-wheel world to his polyurethane product.
Alan Vogt, owner-director of Canberra-based Frameskin Pty. Ltd., has developed a clear PU film kit that completely covers the bike frame.
Frameskin paint protection film is custom-made to fit specific models of mountain or road bikes. It can also be bought in sheet form to cover forks and other bike component parts.
Vogt has also developed tougher PU film for cranks and “crank boots” made from a durable proprietary plastic blend to protect cranks from rock strikes. A self-fusing Frameskin wrap protects the delicate chainstay and cuts chain chatter.
Vogt's raw materials are supplied by 3M Co. of St. Paul, Minn., and Avery Dennison Corp., headquartered in Pasadena, Calif.
Five years ago, after buying an expensive mountain bike, Vogt experimented with PU film in a bid to protect the machine from paint chips, salt water sea spray, sunlight and brushes with Australian flora and fauna.
He cut strips and covered the bike as best he could. A second, more expensive bike purchase saw him hand trace the frame and computer-cut film for a more accurate fit.
“My work in the design, graphics and signage industry had me well placed to work on a solution, so I researched high-performance protective films, adhesives and application techniques,” Vogt said. “After considerable testing, I found a base material with excellent characteristics for frame protection.
“I also made shapes to cover cranks and other parts and started to see the possibilities for a niche business,” he said. “I invested in manufacturing equipment and perfected the techniques for custom-shaping protective film kits for bikes.”
The first Frameskin kit was created for the Ibis Mojo bike and after Vogt posted images on Mountain Bike Review forum, his inbox “started to swell with inquiries.”
“Since then, I have sent kits around the world for Mojos and other bike brands,” he said. “The range of bikes with custom-shaped Frameskin kits is growing steadily.”
Vogt is already a legend in the mountain bike world. He organizes Australia's largest 24-hour race, the Kowalski Classic in Canberra, and has been building bike tracks for 20 years.
His Frameskin business has taken off quicker than a two-wheel downhill racer. At least 25 percent of orders are from international customers via the Internet.
“I had several emails asking if I would do the Frameskin in different colors. But I'm not trying to change the look and artwork of already well-designed bikes. My intention was always to develop a product that could not be seen,” Vogt said.
He produces only clear matte, gloss and textured film, but has tested a black plastic crank cover.
“It started as something very personal but, when people started asking if they could have one, I had this light bulb moment when I thought: this could be a good business,” he said.
“I don't do any international advertising, but [the business] has grown. Everything I do, from event organizing, to trail building to Frameskin is influenced by the other. It is giving me a lifestyle in an industry I really like,” Vogt said.