Chucking multiple bikes in the back of a car or van, or storing them in a garage, can lead to scuffed paint, scratched stanchions and greasy disc brakes. There are a multitude of options out there for protecting against such annoyances, and Fassa's The Separator is one such item.
The Separator features a single sheet of padding between heavy-duty material, with two long Velcro straps that loop over the top. The sheet is 1,885mm long and 920mm high, so reaches the length of all but the longest of mountain bikes, and is high enough to tuck under most handlebars.
Even if the tyres extend past the sheet, they're rubberised and therefore unlikely to cause any damage anyway.
The loops are pretty long, as is the corresponding receptive Velcro strap on the side of the sheet. In use, I usually looped one over the saddle and one around the stem.
Some bike rugs I've used have Velcro straps that go over the tyres, but these tend to get in the way if you are wheeling a bike in and out of a van. The Separator's straps don't necessitate this, making life a touch easier.
Despite a simple rectangular shape, I never found protection between bikes lacking, when mounted effectively with the Velcro straps. While it's best suited to separating just two bikes, it is just about possible to fold it length-ways over the top tube of a middle bike, to give a little frame/pedal protection for three bikes — at this point though you may find cassettes rubbing on forks.
I also found The Separator handy for placing on the floor as a changing mat. The tough material is, as yet, undamaged by rocky ground, and the slight layer of padding in the middle makes it a touch more comfortable and warmer when wearing socks.
It's not 100 percent perfect though. Over time, and with plenty of use, the sheet has lost some of its structural strength, so it is prone to flopping over itself when setting the sheet up between bikes. In an ideal world I'd like a little more structural (certainly in the vertical plane) rigidity, which would make it easier to slide alongside a bike in a low-top van, to save stooping over while wrapping the Velcro over the bike, before resting a second bike against it.
This, however, is a complaint I've had with every protector I've used thus far, and isn't exclusive to Fassa.
At £60 there will be many who say a simple rug will do a very similar job for a lot less money, and that's hard to argue. However, despite Fassa's UK production, and smart, simple design, it is competitive with other dedicated bike protectors on the market.