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Old 07-21-16, 02:11 PM   #1
Inara220
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Wear and Tear... bike bar tape

So... now that I'm starting to get some miles on my bike. I have tipped it over a few times and it's starting to look... uh... USED.

I feel like the next step is to figure out some more maintenance basics. Like Chain cleaning and lubricating? Is there a super awesome link I should go look at?

Also, my bar tape got a chunk taken out of it on one of the falls, I put some electrical tape to temporarily keep it together but now I'm looking at bar tape... I want some nice RED to go with the red accents on my bike. I started looking and I didn't even realize how many choices there are for bike tape! What the heck? Any suggestions/recommendations?

My LBS has some lizardskin tape that they recommend. Not sure if the red is the right color but I would bring in my bike to match it up before I actually purchase.

And last... I have disc brakes... I'm not 100% sure I can tell if the brakes are slightly rubbing or not. My boyfriends' bike, the front wheel seems to spin more easily and faster and for longer than mine but we have completely different bikes. Any tips on making sure the brakes are not rubbing at all? (Maybe I'm just paranoid)
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Old 07-21-16, 02:23 PM   #2
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5,000 listings...

bicycle handlebar tape | eBay
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Old 07-21-16, 02:24 PM   #3
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I found that Silver tape goes well with most bikes.
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Old 07-21-16, 02:25 PM   #4
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Bar tape is all subjective to the person. I just use whatever cheap cork tape is available when I replace it, it usually costs under $10 a pack locally or $5-6 online. My fiancee had me put much nicer Salsa brand tape on her bike (it was what she found in the shade of pink she liked), I personally didn't see much of a difference between it and the cheaper stuff I always use.
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Old 07-21-16, 02:32 PM   #5
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Lizardskin and other name-brand tapes are premium, and cost I would guess $15-20 and up. They are nicer than generic, so if you think it's worth it, get it.

I'm used to seeing generic bar tape for maybe $8-10 at bike shops, but I buy the cheapest possible for like $3-4 off eBay, shipping from China is surprisingly quick (1-2 weeks typically?) and shockingly cheap (usually "free" i.e. included)

Most people wrap 'bottom-up', i.e. start at the bottom of the drops and wind towards the top, finish with tape, but I do top-down, so it holds itself together with no tape at the top. I also give myself some extra cush by first wrapping the tops with an underlayer of used inner-tube. Once I took the trouble to 'circus-stripe' with innertube and bartape (you can see it here), but I haven't made the effort since.

Chain lube (frequency/product/method) is like a religion, I recommend you start with Sheldon's take, and then just buy some Chain-L and be done with it. (Others of course would have different recommendations)

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Old 07-21-16, 02:35 PM   #6
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the fizik tape is really nice and still fairly cheap, otherwise I buy the cheapest black cork stuff I can find (it doesn't show dirt and damage)
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Old 07-21-16, 02:36 PM   #7
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I'm not a fan of Lizardskin bar tape. It's too tacky for me.

For comfort, I like Cinelli gel cork tape but it doesn't come in many colors. However, black goes with just about any bike.

For style, I like Fizik bar tape, which comes in a range of colors. I generally can find a Fizik tape that very closely matches the colors of my saddles, which I try to coordinate. Fizik tape is also very long-lasting and easy to clean.
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Old 07-21-16, 02:39 PM   #8
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I use the $2 stuff from eBay with a little bit of double sided cellophane tape loosely wrapped around the bar with wider spacing than the bar tape itself. It has no super sticky backing, which will teach you to wrap it tight, and it's easy to redo if you mess up the spacing. They also cost very little if you manage to mess up.
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Old 07-21-16, 02:40 PM   #9
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There are many types and thicknesses of bar tape. Thicker bar tape is good if you have hand pain when you're riding. (This is ignoring any other fit issues what would cause this pain...)

Fake "Cork" (feels like foam) is probably the most often seen now-a-day. They also have gel tape that is similar to cork, or even cork+gel. So many different types. Go to the LBS and touch all of them and see which you like the most. Actual cork is... tough to wrap as you can't stretch it IIRC.

I like the lizardskin DSP 2.5. It has a different texture than cork, more "rubbery" That's personal preference obviously.

I'd suggest buying cheap stuff off of amazon for your first re-wrap. Then you'll start to figure out what you like and don't like.
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Old 07-21-16, 02:43 PM   #10
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Newbaum's cloth tape is a classic: Cotton Bar Tape from Newbaum's So is Tressostar: Tressostar Cotton Handlebar Tape
I recommend the use of self-fusing silicone tape to finish off the wrap, it doesn't creep or bleed adhesive like vinyl tape and comes in lots of colors including clear so you can match or contrast our bar tape or bike color scheme. Only sticks to itself so it comes of clean and it is useful for lots of other uses.
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Old 07-21-16, 02:43 PM   #11
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Bar tape comes in so many colors and materials that it's hard to recommend anything. Poke around on eBay or Amazon, and find something you like. I use the thicker, softer products, mostly because it feels good, but also because it "hides" the cables, better. Some bar tape has adhesive on the back to help hold it in place, and this can vary, as well. Plenty of discussions about bar tape on the forums; just do a search, or watch some videos. A little time and focus can result in very good tape jobs, especially if you have that dexterity that some people seem to have with "crafty" things, like painting and sewing.

Chain cleaning and lubricating may be the most-often discussed subject on BF. I use motor oil diluted with mineral spirits, at home, but I use commercial products, if I'm not at home and need it. Lots of ways to clean. Some use the "machines" that have brushes and tanks for solvent. They look like they will work, but I just break the chain at the master link, and soak and scrub in mineral spirits. I oil the chain when it's back on the bike, and wipe it with paper towels until they come away pretty clean, and there is no more dripping. I clean the RD, cassette/cogs, and chain rings while the chain is soaking in a Mason jar.

One way to be sure your disc brakes aren't dragging is to remove the caliper and spin the wheel. If it spins more easily, then the brakes probably are dragging, and need to be adjusted. Some brakes have mounting holes that allow for some play when the caliper is installed. Lots of discussions about that process, and YouTube videos to show you good ways to center the caliper on your brake disc. It's not hard, and you can do it with just a couple of tools. Make sure your disc isn't warped, and that it's solidly attached to the wheel.

YouTube and the Park Tool web site can practically turn you into a master bike mechanic, if you have the motivation, a little time, and a little money to spend on tools.
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Old 07-21-16, 02:54 PM   #12
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I mostly ride flat bar now so I am more concerned with grips, but what I remember most about bar tape is the best thing is change.

If I was riding a thick, cushy type it felt great to switch to a simple cloth for that lean, connected feel (and vise versa).

Nothing spruces up a bike like new bar tape...
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Old 07-21-16, 02:57 PM   #13
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Silver on a Red Bike

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Old 07-21-16, 02:59 PM   #14
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If you use a cloth tape or another thin tape and normal bar plugs, you can skip the tape and start from the middle of the bars and wrap to the bar ends, stuff the loose end in the bar and plug it up. Wrapping bars this way fell out of fashion with thicker cork/foam because they just feel better and stay on better starting from the ends and wrapping to the middle.
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Old 07-21-16, 03:04 PM   #15
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Fizik Microtex tape...wears like iron, washes up nicely.

Chain-L lube.

you can thank me later.
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Old 07-21-16, 03:06 PM   #16
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Old 07-21-16, 03:08 PM   #17
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10Wheels, I like your flashlight mounts. Are they silicone bracelets?
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Old 07-21-16, 03:21 PM   #18
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If your disc brakes are rubbing they are probably making a little noise. Spin the wheel while holding your ear near to the caliper to see if you can hear anything. One of the discs on my new Catrike was making a little noise intermittantly. I was able to tighten one of the six disc mounting screws about 1/8 turn and that fixed it.

The most likely cause for a wheel not spinning for very long is too much bearing preload. That's a pretty precise adjustment between too tight and too loose.
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Old 07-21-16, 03:28 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2lo8 View Post
If you use a cloth tape or another thin tape and normal bar plugs, you can skip the tape and start from the middle of the bars and wrap to the bar ends, stuff the loose end in the bar and plug it up. Wrapping bars this way fell out of fashion with thicker cork/foam because they just feel better and stay on better starting from the ends and wrapping to the middle.
But the disadvantage of wrapping this way is that the tape is wrapped from the top, so the exposed tape edge is on the upper side. Your hands will try to peel that edge back. Wrap from the bar ends and your hands slide down a smooth overlap hence the tape tends to hjold up considerably longer.

Ben
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Old 07-21-16, 03:32 PM   #20
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10Wheels, I like your flashlight mounts. Are they silicone bracelets?
Just some wrist bands found on the road.

They worked great
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Old 07-21-16, 03:36 PM   #21
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I agree with Retro Grouch ,when it comes to a free spinning wheel is bearing preload . The cones in the hub(s) maybe to tight and need to be loosen . Try 1/8 of a turn in backing off .
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Old 07-21-16, 04:29 PM   #22
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But the disadvantage of wrapping this way is that the tape is wrapped from the top, so the exposed tape edge is on the upper side. Your hands will try to peel that edge back. Wrap from the bar ends and your hands slide down a smooth overlap hence the tape tends to hjold up considerably longer.

Ben
Hi Ben,

Several hundred sets of drops/bullhorns/other hand held steering devices later, I can comfortably say that if the tape is pulled appropriately tight, it won't come (appreciably) loose from use. "Cork" (foam) tape is the easiest to install, in this respect, but I still tell people to expect to snap your first roll. You just don't learn how much is 'too tight' until you snap it while applying it. The Lizard Skins DSP tape is the worst in this respect, as if you stretch it too far (but not so far it snaps), the rubberized coating will begin to crack after a few days/weeks. Leather/synthetic leather is a whole 'nother beast, as neither wants to stretch, and the default state is non-conforming.

I find with my leather wrapped bars, they need to be tightened every 8-12 months. Leather stretches and takes a set, but it's nothing a good snugging every now and then can't fix. One bar is on 3 years with the same leather tape, with moderate use (several hours a week).

Cloth tape typically means you've been fit very well for the bike. Many do not like it, as it is unyielding. I find that if you are fit properly, it's not an issue.
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Old 07-21-16, 04:45 PM   #23
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But the disadvantage of wrapping this way is that the tape is wrapped from the top, so the exposed tape edge is on the upper side. Your hands will try to peel that edge back. Wrap from the bar ends and your hands slide down a smooth overlap hence the tape tends to hjold up considerably longer.

Ben
Really not an issue with thin ribbon tape or shellacked cloth tape.

Being the wrong way is only an issue with the thicker foam/cork tapes, as mentioned, which is why tapes started being wrapped with PVC tape at the end.
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Old 07-21-16, 07:40 PM   #24
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Wow... thanks everyone for all the resources and suggestions! I admit I was feeling a little lost at first overwhelmed with too many options.

You've given me a lot of choices and good advice (chain and brakes)... definitely have a little learning to do and probalby some trial and error. I'm excited! If only it would stop being 100 degrees and intermittant storming!
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Old 07-21-16, 07:56 PM   #25
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Hi Ben,

Several hundred sets of drops/bullhorns/other hand held steering devices later, I can comfortably say that if the tape is pulled appropriately tight, it won't come (appreciably) loose from use. "Cork" (foam) tape is the easiest to install, in this respect, but I still tell people to expect to snap your first roll. You just don't learn how much is 'too tight' until you snap it while applying it. The Lizard Skins DSP tape is the worst in this respect, as if you stretch it too far (but not so far it snaps), the rubberized coating will begin to crack after a few days/weeks. Leather/synthetic leather is a whole 'nother beast, as neither wants to stretch, and the default state is non-conforming.

I find with my leather wrapped bars, they need to be tightened every 8-12 months. Leather stretches and takes a set, but it's nothing a good snugging every now and then can't fix. One bar is on 3 years with the same leather tape, with moderate use (several hours a week).

Cloth tape typically means you've been fit very well for the bike. Many do not like it, as it is unyielding. I find that if you are fit properly, it's not an issue.

You are not supposed to stretch Lizard Skins tape, says so right on the box.
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