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Bar Tape Thoughts

Old 08-18-19, 06:52 PM
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garryg
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Bar Tape Thoughts

I have been messing around with vintage bikes for about a year,mostly entry level bikes. I do have a nice Raleigh International and a vintage Olmo that are close to being restored.
I was thinking of using cotton bar tape on these bikes. Am i crazy? What are your thoughts on bar tape for these higher end bikes? Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-18-19, 07:05 PM
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I love cotton tape , Newbaum's is what I have been using . Here are two I did . First my ex Centurion Comp TA .











IMG_0189 by mark westi, on Flickr

My Bianchi Alloro .


IMG_0406 by mark westi, on Flickr

My Centurion Ironman , with Cinelli Cork tape . See the difference ? Cinelli bulky .


IMG_0191 by mark westi, on Flickr
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Old 08-18-19, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by garryg View Post
Am i crazy?
Absolutely, but it's a prerequisite in this game.

Originally Posted by garryg View Post
What are your thoughts on bar tape for these higher end bikes?
Harelquin or GTFO.

​​​​​​​

Last edited by P!N20; 08-18-19 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 08-18-19, 07:19 PM
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I like cotton tape - run it on two bikes.

While it doesn't offer much padding, with padded gloves it's fine for me.

Some people shellac their cotton tape. I prefer not to.

Why not give it a try?
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Old 08-18-19, 07:26 PM
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How far do you ride? I can handle up to 20 miles on thin cotton or cello tape, or even a bare handlebar. Beyond that I need thicker padded tape.

I use black "cork" foam wrap (maybe Arundel, I don't remember) on the Ironman. And on the Trek 5900, Arundel Synth Gecko over a double wrap of cheap Eclypse foam tape. Only way I can handle 50+ mile rides, especially on rural chipseal.

I tried 70 and 60 mile rides this weekend with just a single wrap of Synth Gecko on a new FSA Omega compact drop and still need an extra layer -- my hands were numb and elbows and neck were aching by the end.

The thicker foam wrap looks bulky, and the Synth Gecko is chunky like weird sausage. But after a long ride I don't care if my body feels better.
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Old 08-18-19, 07:31 PM
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I’ve got 7 vintage bikes, as for tape I’ve got Newbalms, Benotto, Fiziks, Charge, and Lizard Skins, I like them all. Experiment, tape is cheap!
Tim
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Old 08-18-19, 10:18 PM
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The best deals I've found have been by searching ebay for "newbaums 2" or "newbaums 4."
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Old 08-18-19, 10:38 PM
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Thanks guys. I like the look of the cotton tape. I will post pics when i finish the two bikes.Might be awhile,just had a new knee installed.
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Old 08-18-19, 10:45 PM
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There's a tape/wrap for every era, though my Gen Y self likes a decently padded tape/wrap no matter what as I greatly prefer to ride without padded gloves (I don't own any). That being said, a 1985 Specialized Allez SE is looking, more and more, to be outfitted with Benotto cello tape, and I couldn't be happier to try it out (because it will look just like the catalog bike!).

Best wishes on your new knee. I hope it has the 100,000 mile warranty.
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Old 08-19-19, 01:55 AM
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You really need to start obsessing about what color bar tape to use, along with the color. What you ultimately decide isn’t nearly as important as having spent way too much time thinking about it. At least that’s been my policy.

The only bike on which I’ve used cotton tape is my ‘73 De Rosa, which has white tape that looks great for this bike. It literally started showing dirt from the first time I pushed it across the garage immediately after wrapping it, but I think that’s OK. Clean white cotton tape screams, “This bike doesn’t get ridden.” Other colors of cotton probably don’t show dirt quite that badly, but I suspect they aren’t far off if you don’t use lacquer.
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Old 08-19-19, 05:30 AM
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A compromise might be 2mm thick tape. It is a bit thinner than the typical cork but thicker than Benotto. Some use two layers of Benotto which might be close to 2mm. Then there is the issue of texture......
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Old 08-19-19, 11:29 AM
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Cotton tape was the standard tape everyone used. Not crazy at all. Probably both those bikes would have been wrapped with cotton when they were new.

You can certainly do long rides with cotton tape. Depends on you. It doesn't last that long, but at one time the shredded cotton tape look was considered cool.

Bike Ribbon was the first padded tape I remember. It's very similar to Fizik 2mm, but without the holes. There was a 'racing' version of Grab-ons. I used them for a couple months once. Didn't like it.
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Old 08-19-19, 11:43 AM
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Generally, I always use cloth tape on my older machines mainly because the cloth tape is period correct. I do find it more difficult to wrap the bars and I offset the minimal padding by always riding with my padded cycle gloves...


If you do go cloth, and I suggest that you do for appropriate machines, take the time to find and then use the old school Velox end caps. They look the vintage part and will not fall out...
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Old 08-19-19, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by P!N20 View Post
Harelquin or GTFO.

Whoa... I REALLY didn't need to see this.

Now another relatively useless skill to learn. Searched harlequin bar wrap.. plenty of "how to" posts.. haven't found one like this though, 3 colors in a close to square pattern. Can you tell me where to look?

Thx,
Dan
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Old 08-19-19, 11:59 AM
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I try to set up bikes as they would have been when they were new or, in the case of stuff sold as a frameset, in a way that makes sense for the time period. Since most are from the cotton era they have cotton. The rest are from the Benotto era and the Bike Ribbon era so that's what they get.
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Old 08-19-19, 12:11 PM
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I use cloth for all my bikes. It's just what feels and looks right to me. On the bikes that get ridden a lot I add a few coats of shellac. It makes the wrap much more durable and more attractive.

As for comfort, I guess that's a personal thing like saddles. Some people like padded saddles, some don't. I tend to like firm saddles and firm handlebar wrap for long distances. I've ridden 1200 km brevets with a single layer of cloth tape and no gloves. For me, if the bike fit is dialed, then padding isn't necessary.

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Old 08-19-19, 12:41 PM
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I have cotton on everything except the '82 Mercian Colorado - that gets Benotto because that's what they used in the team photo. I started experimenting with shellac on cotton bar tape a long time ago. In late 2002, I wrapped orange Tressostar and used Bullseye shellac to match a Brooks B17 in honey -



- as seen in this 2003 photo about 6 months in. The nose of the saddle darkened, but there's always more shellac. Just for fun, I kept the same shellacked bar tape going to see how long it could last. This included when I swapped out the stem, requiring me to unwrap one side and re-wrap and re-shellac it - and then unwrap and re-wrap BOTH sides when I had to replace a bent handlebar. Here's a pic from 5 years ago or about 12 years into the experiment -



It looks pretty much the same today, and this on a bike that has been ridden lots and in all sorts of weather.

I also like dyeing cotton bar tape, just for fun, like this formerly blue Tressostar on this Gitane that I tinted with leftover Easter egg dye and then shellacked -



This bar tape has worked nicely since 2013, btw. Back when I used the modern cork stuff I did well to get it to last 6 months. It always got grubby and nasty in no time at all.
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Old 08-19-19, 12:49 PM
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RJ the bike guy has a YouTube video on wrapping bars with Cloth tape the Trek way. Might be worth a watch.
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Old 08-19-19, 03:33 PM
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thanks Randy,just ordered some
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Old 08-19-19, 03:52 PM
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Velox/tressostar

I've always liked white cloth as the way to go! Whether you're "supposed to" or not, I always wrap from the top down; I just don't like the way those finishing-strips look. The down side is it does seem to unravel a little without the downward "shingling" effect. Looks like it's about time to re-tape!
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Old 08-19-19, 04:05 PM
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I like the super bulky foamy stuff. Its like a 1989 cadillac fleetwood. For my hands.

I also like top down. It wears the edges quicker but who cares.
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Old 08-19-19, 04:49 PM
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Top down was how we did it in the 70s - and it always turned down and frayed but that was normal, along with the fading in the sun.
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Old 08-19-19, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Danny S View Post
Whoa... I REALLY didn't need to see this.

Now another relatively useless skill to learn. Searched harlequin bar wrap.. plenty of "how to" posts.. haven't found one like this though, 3 colors in a close to square pattern. Can you tell me where to look?

Thx,
Dan
Three (or four) colours is basically the same as two, you just have four strands to worry about! (Actually, I found doing the four strands easier than the two, but YMMV.)
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Old 08-20-19, 10:48 AM
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Top down the frayed edges gives you an excuse to get some nice fresh tape on there.. by that point the color is toast anyway.

My first road bike was a univega with super bulky foam grips.. maybe 1st bikes have something to do with our preferences?

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Old 08-20-19, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by ryansu View Post
RJ the bike guy has a YouTube video on wrapping bars with Cloth tape the Trek way. Might be worth a watch.
Glad I watched that at 1.75x. (whew.)

It's sort of a catch-22 with RJ. I usually appreciate it. There are some nuggets of good content. But ... he often comes across as a scatterbrained hack.
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