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There is certainly a range of paint quality but bikes I've ridden recently from Santa Cruz and Yeti have had very durable paint. I think the trend toward armouring and protecting frames may have begun in the early years of carbon, when it wasn't uncommon to see downtube damage from rock strikes. Frames generally seem to be much tougher now but the advantages of cosmetic and structural protection and peace of mind that come from protecting your frame may have allowed this practice to retain traction.
I have always been the sort of person who likes to take care of things. It probably came from my parents, who were born during the depression to parents who struggled like most people to make ends meet. For them, keeping things in good condition was an economic necessity, not a fashion show, and I find great satisfaction in repairing and maintaining things over the long term rather than replacing them, particularly in these disposable times.
Protecting your investment is certainly part of it was well, even more so after the era of rapid changes to standards has made early adopters turn over bikes faster than ever. A well kept bike turns over faster and for more money. And now the geometry evolution is making two year old bikes feel old for those same people.
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