Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 08-20-11, 08:50 PM   #1
jim p
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 1,024
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
replacing bar tape on aluminum bars

I have an old bike and it seems to have cloth tape on the bars. I want to see what the bars look like under the tape but the tape still looks ok. So I have some new tape which will be softer. The question is how often should I replace the tape and inspect the aluminum bars?
jim p is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-11, 08:55 PM   #2
lostarchitect 
incazzare.
 
lostarchitect's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Bikes: See sig
Posts: 6,326
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Whenever you want. The bars should be fine. They're aluminum so they're not rusting or anything.
__________________
1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson), 1973 Wes Mason, 1974 Raleigh Gran Sport, 1986 Schwinn High Sierra, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2011 Dick Chafe, 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter
lostarchitect is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-11, 10:13 PM   #3
LarDasse74
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Grid Reference, SK
Bikes: I never learned to ride a bike. It is my deepest shame.
Posts: 3,769
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
You should replace your bar tape whenever it looks really worn or ratty or torn. There are also different types of tape - foam, lightly padded plastic and cork,, and cloth. Use whatever type you like best.
LarDasse74 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-11, 10:22 PM   #4
FastJake
Constant tinkerer
 
FastJake's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Bikes:
Posts: 7,577
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
+1 Replace the tape whenever you become unsatisfied with what's on there. On most old road bikes I pickup for cheap, this usually happens immediately.

Don't expect your bars to look nice and shiny. Usually aluminum bars will be dull under there, because no one is ever meant to see them without tape. Also, be ready for the glue and other crap from your current tape to be a sticky mess all over the bars. Don't bother removing this junk, just cover it with the new tape of your choice. I prefer Bontrager Gel Tape - but NOT the cork tape. They come in very similar packaging but are not at all the same.
FastJake is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-11, 10:31 PM   #5
LarDasse74
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Grid Reference, SK
Bikes: I never learned to ride a bike. It is my deepest shame.
Posts: 3,769
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
http://sheldonbrown.com/handlebar-tape.html
This is a good article, including step-by-step instructions on wrapping the bars so they look nice and don't come unraveled.
LarDasse74 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-11, 04:54 PM   #6
jim p
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 1,024
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Would this be a mistake? The fabric tape looks pretty good but it is very thin. So I am thinking about just putting the new foam tape over the fabric. After reading Sheldon's article and him mentioning that friction tape on the bars helps the foam tape to stay in place, I am thinking that the fabric tape should help keep the foam tape in place very well.
jim p is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-11, 06:04 PM   #7
lostarchitect 
incazzare.
 
lostarchitect's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Bikes: See sig
Posts: 6,326
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Jim, that's totally fine. I actually often use cotton tape under leather tape.
__________________
1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson), 1973 Wes Mason, 1974 Raleigh Gran Sport, 1986 Schwinn High Sierra, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2011 Dick Chafe, 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter
lostarchitect is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-11, 06:27 PM   #8
Drakonchik
Senior Member
 
Drakonchik's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Pacific Northwest
Bikes:
Posts: 733
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I've torn down hundreds of 1970s bicycles with cotton bar tape. IMHO, cotton tape acts like a conduit for all manner of environment and atmospheric crud that permeates to the aluminum surface and forms corrosion. When I see an old, typically neglected 70s bike with original cotton tape, odds are 80% it has significant to severe corrosion under the cotton tape. When I see an equivalent 70s bike that has plastic or vinyl tape, the odds are 80% that it does NOT have significant corrosion.

I'm sure any minute now a bike hobbyist will jump in here and say they've been using cotton cloth tape for decades and never had a problem. However, I'm sure that the vast majority of them have not been tearing down hundreds of cotton-cloth-handlebars from decades-old neglected bikes in recent years.
Drakonchik is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-11, 07:54 PM   #9
jim p
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 1,024
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
OK the tape comes off. I am concerned about the corrosion under the tape.

I have heard that the life of a handle bar is about 2 years. All of my bars are 20 years or older. What are your thoughts on handle bar life?
jim p is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-11, 08:27 PM   #10
Drakonchik
Senior Member
 
Drakonchik's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Pacific Northwest
Bikes:
Posts: 733
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Aluminum does not get old or fatigued just sitting around, it requires stress. Surface cracks and/or corrosion PLUS stress will accelerate the decline. When I see drop handlebars that are crapped out purely by mileage, I usually see extensive fine stress lines inside the first bend. Not that it can't manifest at the clamp(s), internal cable routing holes etc etc.

I'd recommend pulling all your cotton tape off of any old bar you care about. This is sometimes very fussy because of goop and cotton deterioration. Usually works best by cutting (not into the aluminum!) an incision all along the length of the bar, and then peeling it open like a clamshell. Or like a doctor might take a cast off your leg.

Last edited by Drakonchik; 08-21-11 at 08:31 PM.
Drakonchik is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-11, 09:01 PM   #11
jim p
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 1,024
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks for all the help. I took my knife and removed a small amount of tape in the areas where you would suspect to see the most corrosion. Like right in front of the hoods and the top curve and the drops. There was zero corrosion. The old tape seems to be impregnated with something that makes it sweat proof and no salt made it to the bars. So I then just put the vinyl tape over the old tape and used some electrical tape the secure the ends since I didn't want to try to get the plugs out and then to try to get the new tape along with the old tape pushed back into the bar ends.

It is not a professional job but maybe it will be good enough for now.

Thanks again for all the help.
jim p is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-11, 09:03 PM   #12
Staylucky
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Toronto, Canada
Bikes: Cannondale ST500
Posts: 42
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I had cored tape on my handle bars for a few years and usually re-wrapped twice a year. Switched to a more expensive Fizik gel tape and have the same tape for 2 years, hasn't worn out yet. The more expensive gel tapes usually last longer and are more comfortable.

I have aluminum bars and they don't show a spec of wear after 5 years.

Aluminum is very hard to wear out and gel tape is better for sure, unless you prefer the feel of cork or leather.
Staylucky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-11, 09:56 PM   #13
FastJake
Constant tinkerer
 
FastJake's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Bikes:
Posts: 7,577
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by jim p View Post
I have heard that the life of a handle bar is about 2 years. All of my bars are 20 years or older. What are your thoughts on handle bar life?
They'll last forever if not damaged. I have plenty of bikes/bars that are 30+ years old and perfectly fine. Metal doesn't just "go bad" on it's own.
FastJake is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-11, 11:23 PM   #14
catonec 
Senior Member
 
catonec's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: burlington VT.
Bikes:
Posts: 2,472
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I like the fizik dual tape
__________________
2010 Kestrel RT900SL, 800k carbon, chorus/record, speedplay, zonda
1997 Trek ZX6000, 6061w/manitou spyder, xt/xtr, time atac
catonec is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-11, 10:47 AM   #15
jim p
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 1,024
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks for the comment about bar life. The bars on this bike look perfect. So maybe I can quit worrying about them breaking. When I was a kid I had an old J.C. Higgins bike and after about 4 years of popping wheelies with it the steel handle bar on the right side slowly pulled apart as I was doing one of my great wheelies. Since it went slowly, I didn't wreck but I still remember what happened and where it happened. It is strange that this would leave such a lasting memory.

The other bad thing with the old bike was that the internal 3 speed began to slip in low gear and if it slipped in one of my wheelies the horizontal bar usually got in the way. If you know what I mean.
jim p is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-11, 11:14 AM   #16
Chombi 
Senior Member
 
Chombi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Bikes: 1986 Alan Record Carbonio, 1985 Vitus Plus Carbone 7, 1984 Peugeot PSV, 1972 Line Seeker, 1986(est.) Medici Aerodynamic (Project), 1985(est.) Peugeot PY10FC
Posts: 10,941
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 50 Post(s)
I have seen bars that got damaged very badly because of corrosion under the bar tape. but that seems to be unusual. Unless you regularly ride in wet conditions with corrosive/salty environments (near the ocean), or reglarly drench the bars with sweat like on an indoor trainer, you should not really have a problem and do not have to inspect your bars regularly. I would think it is good enough to wait between every bar tape change to inspect/clean them. Many riders wait till their bar tape is really worn out and and even ratty before they change them without any problems.

Chombi
Chombi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-11, 07:01 PM   #17
LarDasse74
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Grid Reference, SK
Bikes: I never learned to ride a bike. It is my deepest shame.
Posts: 3,769
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by jim p View Post
OK the tape comes off. I am concerned about the corrosion under the tape.

I have heard that the life of a handle bar is about 2 years. All of my bars are 20 years or older. What are your thoughts on handle bar life?
There was an article in Mountain Bike Action a few months ago that gave estimated life spans for major bike components, and me and some riding buddies laughed and laughed and laughed... I think they might have said handlebars should be replaced every ONE year, not two... Saddles, forks and hubs, I think, could safely be used for two years, if you are lucky . Anyhoo, the reason we were laughing was because there is no 'shelf life' on bicycle components - a part wears out when you wear it out, not at the end of some arbitrary length of time that can be pinpointed. FWIW, for years we have been referring to the magazine as 'Mountain Bike Advertising' due to their obvious bias towards grossly praising all products like it is their job to pry our wallets open for the manufacturers. That seemed to be the point of that article - convince everyone to go out and buy a new handlebar and saddle and new wheels for no other reason then the fact that you hadn't done it for a while.

The moral of the story is: use your own best judgement. If the bike shows signs of heavy use or abuse, or you are planning to put it through heavy use or abuse of your own, then you should question the strength of a handlebar or other critical components. If the bike and handlebar look fine... they probably are.
LarDasse74 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-11, 07:58 PM   #18
Chombi 
Senior Member
 
Chombi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Bikes: 1986 Alan Record Carbonio, 1985 Vitus Plus Carbone 7, 1984 Peugeot PSV, 1972 Line Seeker, 1986(est.) Medici Aerodynamic (Project), 1985(est.) Peugeot PY10FC
Posts: 10,941
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 50 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
There was an article in Mountain Bike Action a few months ago that gave estimated life spans for major bike components, and me and some riding buddies laughed and laughed and laughed... I think they might have said handlebars should be replaced every ONE year, not two... Saddles, forks and hubs, I think, could safely be used for two years, if you are lucky . Anyhoo, the reason we were laughing was because there is no 'shelf life' on bicycle components - a part wears out when you wear it out, not at the end of some arbitrary length of time that can be pinpointed. FWIW, for years we have been referring to the magazine as 'Mountain Bike Advertising' due to their obvious bias towards grossly praising all products like it is their job to pry our wallets open for the manufacturers. That seemed to be the point of that article - convince everyone to go out and buy a new handlebar and saddle and new wheels for no other reason then the fact that you hadn't done it for a while.

The moral of the story is: use your own best judgement. If the bike shows signs of heavy use or abuse, or you are planning to put it through heavy use or abuse of your own, then you should question the strength of a handlebar or other critical components. If the bike and handlebar look fine... they probably are.
Kinda reminds me of the car dealer recommended 3500 mile interval oil changes. Many of them and the oil companies made a lot of money by scaring customers that their cars could break down if you do not halve the manufacturer's recommended service intervals. That kept their service departments really happy!

Chombi
Chombi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-11, 08:21 PM   #19
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Bikes: 7
Posts: 22,093
Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1113 Post(s)
I've had softer alloy bars droop after some years, of riding ,
holding the lever hoods, most of the time
fietsbob is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:23 PM.