Classic & Vintage - Schwinn Continental Grip Tape
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08-18-12, 09:21 AM
New here and new to bikes in general.
I'm fixing up a 1973 Schwinn Continental that was given to me. Just about everything is done except for the handlebars. Can anyone recommend a good grip tape to use? I would like to find something that is fairly durable and also nonadhesive - I've never wrapped handlebars before and would like to be able to unwind and rewrap if I mess some parts up. It would be great if I could find something that also looks period appropriate, but that doesn't matter too much to me.
Thanks for your suggestions!
08-18-12, 12:42 PM
I would recommend the original Schwinn (http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=schwinn+tape) or Hunt-Wilde (http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=hunt+wilde+tape) tape (they made the tape for Schwinn). Hunt-Wilde called this "Flexon" tape, which was a semi-flexible plastic tape with no adhesive that came in black, white as well as in colors specifically matching the paint on the bikes. Color matching "Flexon" tape was what came originally on your Continental.
Schwinn/Hunt-Wilde originally sold handlebar tape in 5-yard rolls, which you cut in half and used each 2.5-yard half to wrap one side of a drop handlebar from the top down starting 2" from the stem clamp. In other words, a single 5-yard roll covered an entire handlebar (both sides). Here is an example: http://www.ebay.com/itm/360466628329
Later Schwinn also sold the tape in pre-cut sets of two 2.5-yard rolls, with chrome end caps included. Here is an example: http://www.ebay.com/itm/330757376953
For a short time Schwinn also offered longer 7-yard rolls in a limited number of colors specifically for wrapping Ram's Horn handlebars on Stingrays (http://waterfordbikes.com/SchwinnCat/flschwinn_1961_1970/1967_18.html). Where possible I do like to use the longer 7-yard rolls since that gives 3.5-yards per side, which when used on drop bars allows for much more overlap than when using the standard 2.5-yards per side. Unfortunately the 7-yard rolls were only available in a few colors so that is usually not an option. Here is an example: http://www.ebay.com/itm/120944311988
This type of tape has not been made for many years, making some colors plentiful while others have become difficult or impossible to find. For example the Continental came in 3 colors for 1973 (http://bikecatalogs.org/SCHWINN/1973/Catalog/FULL/1973_13.jpg) including Kool Lemon, Sunset Orange and Opaque Blue. Of those, Kool Lemon is the easiest to find, and is also the only one of those colors that can also be found in 7-yard rolls. Opaque Blue is more difficult (but not impossible) to find. Unfortunately Sunset Orange has become nearly impossible to find. There is a lighter Kool Orange that is very plentiful, but it looks out of place on a darker Sunset Orange bike. When color matching tape is not available many use black or white instead.
One trick for full coverage using the least amount of tape is to cut a 2" piece off the end of each 2.5-yard half roll to use as a filler for covering the brake clamp. Here is an example showing that technique to fully wrap a set of drop bars with a single 5-yard roll of tape (http://www.schwinnbikeforum.com/index.php?topic=9082.msg60841#msg60841), including fully covering the brake clamp and hood base (http://www.schwinnbikeforum.com/index.php?topic=7651.0).
08-20-12, 10:32 PM
Wow thanks so much for all the great info. Thankfully my bike is Kool Lemon; looks like there is plenty of the Hunt-Wilde and Schwinn tape for sale on ebay. Going to order some this week!
08-20-12, 11:30 PM
Glad I could help. Having a Kool Lemon bike is great as that tape is plentiful and available in the longer 7-yard rolls. If you can, please post pics of the outcome.
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