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Old 12-13-09, 01:45 AM   #1
c_mingus
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clean, white bar tape

I've seen plenty of blokes with pristine white bar tape on their bikes. I have one bike with white tape which has quicly become dirty grey/brown bar tape. So to keep their tape clean, do these blokes:

1. have some method of cleaning which i haven't found
2. use a particular kind of tape which somehow repels dirt
3. simply keep their hands clean throughout every ride
4. change their tape every few rides
5. ride so little that dirt isn't a problem
6. something else that i haven't considered

Anyone have white tape and a reasonable way to keep it clean?
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Old 12-13-09, 04:27 AM   #2
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A bit over a year back someone had a great product suggestion for cleaning white bar tape. I used it on a bike with white tape I had at the time and it worked as well as they said it did. Unfortunetly I sold the bike shortly after that and I don't remember what the trick product was. The best part was that it was a regular house hold or hardware store sort of thing and was very inexpensive. Perhaps someone with a better memory will remember and post it or a forum search will turn it up.
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Old 12-13-09, 04:42 AM   #3
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...Let me know when you figure it out! I use white hockey stick tape and it is long-wearing and looks good, but gets pretty dirty like other tape.
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Old 12-13-09, 04:53 AM   #4
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Now I remember, it was GoJo hand cleaner. If you can find the version without pumice it works best because it won't embed the grit into the tape. Just rub it in, let sit for a half minute and then hose and scrub away. The bar tape looked like new. If you can't find GoJo then any similar cream type industrial hand cleaner should do the job.
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Old 12-13-09, 05:09 AM   #5
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I recommend the Fizik Microtex bar tape! Just use some water and some regular dish soap and it will be back to shining white again.
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Old 12-13-09, 06:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
Now I remember, it was GoJo hand cleaner. If you can find the version without pumice it works best because it won't embed the grit into the tape. Just rub it in, let sit for a half minute and then hose and scrub away. The bar tape looked like new. If you can't find GoJo then any similar cream type industrial hand cleaner should do the job.
Yup. That might even have been me that made the original recommendation. Rub it on, hose it off. Takes about as long as typing this reply.
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Old 12-13-09, 07:24 AM   #7
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I recommend the Fizik Microtex bar tape! Just use some water and some regular dish soap and it will be back to shining white again.
This. Stays clean for a long time, and is easy to clean later. You get what you pay for.
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Old 12-13-09, 08:21 AM   #8
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NOS Benotto translucent white tape over white cork tape. Looks clean forever, no washing necessary. Someone once left a note on one of my bikes with Benotto-taped bars saying that the tape looked terrific.

The only downside is that Benotto tape always runs slightly shorter than the ideal length, especially when wrapping over cork. Using three rolls per bar would be easiest; just cut the third roll in half and overlap or melt the two halves on to extend the other rolls.
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Old 12-13-09, 08:33 AM   #9
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My tape never looks dirty. I buy black tape and it looks the same for years

Seriously, mild household cleanser like Bon-Ami applied just damp and rubbed well will clean up light colored tape with out damage. Rinse well afterward. Repeat frequently as white tape is a real dirt magnet.
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Old 12-13-09, 08:50 AM   #10
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Use black bar tape unless someone is paying you to ride his bike.
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Old 12-13-09, 11:11 AM   #11
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My tape never looks dirty. I buy black tape and it looks the same for years

Seriously, mild household cleanser like Bon-Ami applied just damp and rubbed well will clean up light colored tape with out damage. Rinse well afterward. Repeat frequently as white tape is a real dirt magnet.
I use dark blue for the same reason. I just can't imajine a nice white tape staying clean outside of a showroom. My bike is for riding - not for show so this just work for me.
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Old 12-13-09, 11:58 AM   #12
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I use white Cinelli Gel Cork Tape. It has grey marks where my hands rest, I view that as a badge of honour to how hard I ride :-D. Lately it has been cold here (<30 in CA, we consider that cold :-~~~) so I've been wearing my kids gloves, one of which has a pink Transformer logo and pattern on the palm. Now I have one gray patch and one pink patch. Thankfully Amazon finally had a sale on Gore Bike Wear Tool IV gloves (man, those things *never* go on sale) and so for $36 my kids got their transformer gloves back. The Tool IV gloves are black so I'll be interested to see how much they mark the tape.
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Old 12-13-09, 12:36 PM   #13
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4ByTa7yPJc

Works well for me, my tape doesn't look new but it also isn't grey.
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Old 12-13-09, 01:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c_mingus View Post
4. change their tape every few rides...
When I raced USCF, I changed my white bar tape every Friday before the weekend's races. My sponsor expected his bike to look top notch and this was the only way to have clean white bar tape.
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Old 12-13-09, 02:23 PM   #15
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Use a clean pair of full-fingered gloves every time you ride. It helps to keep white bar tape clean. When it gets dirty, the aforementioned cleaning methods work well but that's assuming one washes one's bike frequently enough.
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Old 12-13-09, 04:49 PM   #16
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Wow, thanks for all the replies. I'll have a look for that GoJo stuff, i haven't seen it in Aus but i'm sure there'll be something similar.

Regarding darker tape, i usually use black but i recently bought an FG which came with white tape. It seems a shame to have a gelaming white frame and dirty grey tape, my bikes are definitely for riding but it's nice if they look schmick too
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Old 12-13-09, 10:55 PM   #17
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Permatex Fast Orange Smooth Hand Cleaner should work also if you can't find GoJo. Look in an auto parts store for it.
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Old 12-14-09, 01:16 AM   #18
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Wow, thanks for all the replies. I'll have a look for that GoJo stuff, i haven't seen it in Aus but i'm sure there'll be something similar.

...
Let us know if you find anything that works well in .au, I have this problem as well.
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Old 12-14-09, 11:10 AM   #19
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Some have recommended shellacing the tape, but I've never tried that. It would certainly make it cleanable and pretty, but there may be undesirable side effects...


Btw, please put your location in your Profile.
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Last edited by DMF; 12-14-09 at 01:35 PM. Reason: shellac not varnish
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Old 12-14-09, 12:00 PM   #20
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Some have recommended varnishing the tape, but I've never tried that. It would certainly make it cleanable and pretty, but there may be undesirable side effects....
What riders used to do was shellac cotton cloth bar tape to keep it from both fraying and rotting. After a bit of air and light exposure, the shellac would turn yellow or tan in color.

I've never heard of using varnish but Ii expect it would also impart a light yellow color and be very slippery.
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Old 12-14-09, 01:12 PM   #21
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a pair of gardening gloves or latex gloves in your repair kit may help. I find bar tape usually gets dirtiest after a roadside repair with no gloves or means to wash your hands afterwards...
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Old 12-14-09, 01:27 PM   #22
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I use mainly cinelli cork. It's impossible to wash because it just absorbs everything, even when you use GoJo. GoJo does work for hoods and such, but usually makes them softer and the grip twists easier on the levers. It turns white cinelli into a Eastern Bloc grey.

However, the glove thing works. Use white or light colored palm gloves, don't touch anything else with it. That means when you fix a flat or put your wheels on before your ride you have to be careful or wear other gloves or something. Wear the light colored palm gloves whenever you ride. Don't use dark gloves since they'll hide grease blobs. The old pro gloves, when pros use white cinelli tape, were white or off white in the palms (I'm thinking mid 80s until recently). This helped reduce the amount of grey transferred to the tape.

Another tip - use sunscreen oil on your legs. Not only does it help deal with UV rays, it also allows you to wipe grease spots off pretty quickly. If you get greasy finger tips, wipe it in the oil, then wipe off. Cleans your fingers, therefore no grease on the tape, just suntan oil. This helps reduce the amount of grease stuff getting to your bars.

I'll be building my new bike with white cinelli. With white cinelli, figure new tape every bad weather day or every two weeks, minimum. I used to buy tape in packs of 10 or 20 (I never tried the bulk umpteen meter roll of cinelli cork), and I still have 6 or so white left. I figure that'll get me to March (I get the frame last week of Jan). Then I may change to a black saddle and tape. lol.

cdr
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Old 12-14-09, 11:29 PM   #23
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Re: Gloves, I don't really wear gloves when i'm ridine as i find it too hot, i'll give it a try when i next have clean tape and see how it goes but i've never had a flat on the FG with white tape (1100km and counting, touch wood!) and don't think i've done any repairs on the road. I guess most of the crud is from wet weather etc so gloves may not help with that.

Re: Sunscreen/suntain oil, do you mean sunscreen for preventing sunburn, or suntan oil for promoting a "healthy" tan? Tanning oil is a no-no in Aus due to our lack of ozone in the atmosphere, i've always thought that sunscreen would be worse for trapping dirt etc than not using anything.
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Old 12-14-09, 11:55 PM   #24
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Wow, thanks for all the replies. I'll have a look for that GoJo stuff, i haven't seen it in Aus but i'm sure there'll be something similar....
GoJo is a brand name. It is a waterless hand cleaner used by automobile mechanics to remove grease and dirt from hands. I think it's lanolin based with some sort of solvent.
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Old 12-15-09, 02:47 AM   #25
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New bike on the way has white tape.. thanks for the tips.
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