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  1. #1
    Senior Member MulliganAl's Avatar
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    Which cotton bar tape, Velo Orange Comfy cotton, Newbaums or other?

    I want to do a nice amber shellac on some yellow tape but I've never done this before and was wondering what most folks have used and how it turned out? Also, are there any downsides to cotton/shellac grips vs traditional leather or other types of grips? I'd like to have a more classic look so that's why I was considering the cotton grips.
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  2. #2
    iab
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    Senior Member iab's Avatar
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    I always used the Velox cotton wrap. For schnucks, I tried the Newbaums. And quite frankly, I hate the release liner on the Newbaums. Makes taping the bar a pima.

    Unless the VO has a release liner too, I would go for that over the Newbaums.

    Unless of course if someone can enlighten me on how to easily deal with the release liner.

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    Senior Member daf1009's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iab View Post
    I always used the Velox cotton wrap. For schnucks, I tried the Newbaums. And quite frankly, I hate the release liner on the Newbaums. Makes taping the bar a pima.

    Unless the VO has a release liner too, I would go for that over the Newbaums.

    Unless of course if someone can enlighten me on how to easily deal with the release liner.
    I use Newbaum's almost exclusively...and have no issue with the release liner...it peels as I lay the wrap down...and looks really good. After a bit, I tear the liner and drop it to the floor, doing this probably about 5 times per side...I have also found that the liner helps me to keep the tape from sticking to itself...

    But...just my $.02...
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  4. #4
    Senior Member AZORCH's Avatar
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    I prefer Velox over Newbaums, but will wrap either and get great results. I've never used the VO wrap, so I can't comment. The trick is to take your time, and keep tension on the tape as you wrap. Backing paper definitely gets in the way, but I simply tear it off as I'm wrapping - I just wish I had three hands when I'm doing it.

    Regarding your query about shellac: Some folks hate it, some prefer a light coat, others (me) prefer several coats. I like the look of multiple coats, and I like the feel of it on my hands. I like that the bars may not need to be wrapped again for years - when the shellac wears thin I simply add another coat or two.

    Here's my Velo-Routier with red Velox and eight coats of clear shellac.


    And my 1946 Hobbs of Barbican with a set of 60's era bars and levers, wrapped in whatever dusty old cloth was on there BITD - more recently coated with six layers of clear shellac. Just for comparison.
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    Why cotton tape? Cork or Gel tape is much more comfortable for long rides.

    What is this obsession with how bikes look, rather than how they ride. Sure a Rivendell looks beautiful, but an awful lot of them seem to get sold immediately in nearly pristine condition. Bikes aren't art.

    All that being said: Newbaums, silly rabbit. If you need a Nitto Grand Randonneur 135 bar hit me up. They are much too narrow for me.

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    Senior Member AZORCH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbke View Post
    Why cotton tape? Cork or Gel tape is much more comfortable for long rides.

    What is this obsession with how bikes look, rather than how they ride. Sure a Rivendell looks beautiful, but an awful lot of them seem to get sold immediately in nearly pristine condition. Bikes aren't art.

    All that being said: Newbaums, silly rabbit. If you need a Nitto Grand Randonneur 135 bar hit me up. They are much too narrow for me.
    Seriously, not to be contrary or to debate the point but personally, but for me it's not about the "look" - I far prefer the feel of coated cotton wrap. I like the way shellac wrap feels on my bare palms and I like the way my gloves "stick" to the bars when I'm wearing them. This may be because I prefer a narrower diameter grip, and others definitely feel differently. I don't have huge hands or long fingers and the overly padded-ness of rubbery modern "cork" wrap results in a bar I don't care to hang on to for a hundred miles. I also appreciate the purely practical aspect of a bar wrap that will last beyond a single season. I've never had cork that lasted more than a thousand miles or so. As with anything related to fit, others experience may differ from my own.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Velocivixen's Avatar
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    I have used amber shellac on both Neubaum's yellow cloth as well as Velox, and preferred the richer look of the Velox. Neubaum's yellow is more "lemon" yellow, whereas the Velox yellow has a touch of gold or orange in it - almost more "goldenrod". So with the amber shellac, the Velox matched the Honey B17 I had.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member MulliganAl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velocivixen View Post
    I have used amber shellac on both Neubaum's yellow cloth as well as Velox, and preferred the richer look of the Velox. Neubaum's yellow is more "lemon" yellow, whereas the Velox yellow has a touch of gold or orange in it - almost more "goldenrod". So with the amber shellac, the Velox matched the Honey B17 I had.
    Thanks everyone for the help, and thanks Velocivixen for this bit of information. I was wondering how the amber shellac would look on the yellow tape and the color you've mentioned is the nice honey color I was thinking about.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member MulliganAl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbke View Post
    Why cotton tape? Cork or Gel tape is much more comfortable for long rides.

    What is this obsession with how bikes look, rather than how they ride. Sure a Rivendell looks beautiful, but an awful lot of them seem to get sold immediately in nearly pristine condition. Bikes aren't art.

    All that being said: Newbaums, silly rabbit. If you need a Nitto Grand Randonneur 135 bar hit me up. They are much too narrow for me.
    The two don't have to be mutually exclusive. People can enjoy the ride and also enjoy making their bikes look really nice. I enjoy the ride of my Triumph Bonneville T100 but I also enjoy making it look stunning and retro.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Lascauxcaveman's Avatar
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    If you're going to be shellacking it, it really doesn't matter which brand of tape you use; just what color. And you're not going to really know what the color is going to look like until you've applied your particular shellac to your particular bar tape. Kind of a crap shot, until you have some experience at it. Have fun experimenting.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member trailangel's Avatar
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    I prefer the bare cotton and I like Velox over Neubaums because it's wider. The shellac starts to get 'groady' fast and doesn't look good.

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    Senior Member daf1009's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbke View Post
    Why cotton tape? Cork or Gel tape is much more comfortable for long rides.

    What is this obsession with how bikes look, rather than how they ride. Sure a Rivendell looks beautiful, but an awful lot of them seem to get sold immediately in nearly pristine condition. Bikes aren't art.

    All that being said: Newbaums, silly rabbit. If you need a Nitto Grand Randonneur 135 bar hit me up. They are much too narrow for me.
    I believe that bikes ARE rolling art...there is a machine aesthetic to them that, to me is quite rare. When done well, they are stunning to look at! I also believe that they should be ridden, not just hung on the wall...while they may be displayed as art...they are working art...

    A lugged bike with beautiful chrome lugs, in a nice color (or fade)...and then dressed up right with period correct components (including the wheels)...and finally, finished off with matching/contrasting bar tape and cable housings...can be quite nice to look at...and that, in NO WAY, precludes it from being great to ride! The ones that are NOT great to ride (at least for me) have NOTHING to do with what they look like! It is more about the geometry...so...again...not mutually exclusive...

    And...why would I NOT want my bike (or in my case, bikes!) to look good?
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    Senior Member rootboy's Avatar
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    "Bikes aren't art". That may be the one thing from this poster I agree with. Bikes are not art. But, there are many inanimate objects that can be appreciated for their aesthetic appeal. Some here, including me, believe vintage bicycles fall into that category.

    As for shellac, I tend to prefer a lighter coating. Just a couple of thinned down coats to seal the tape rather than the heavy, glossy and slickness of several coats. Shellac as found in cans can be thinned down with denatured alcohol.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Last ride 76's Avatar
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    cloth yellow

    Quote Originally Posted by Velocivixen View Post
    I have used amber shellac on both Neubaum's yellow cloth as well as Velox, and preferred the richer look of the Velox. Neubaum's yellow is more "lemon" yellow, whereas the Velox yellow has a touch of gold or orange in it - almost more "goldenrod". So with the amber shellac, the Velox matched the Honey B17 I had.
    Thanks, VV,
    I was whining about the richness of the velox yellow, too gold for my purposes. Someone suggested Nuebaums, and sending their color chart. Looked the same to me, so I didn't pursue it. Now I will.


    BTW... Al, I have two rolls of velox if you are looking. Got them off eBay.

    I do like the width of the velox.

    Cheers, Eric

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    Senior Member MulliganAl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
    "Bikes aren't art". That may be the one thing from this poster I agree with. Bikes are not art. But, there are many inanimate objects that can be appreciated for their aesthetic appeal. Some here, including me, believe vintage bicycles fall into that category.

    As for shellac, I tend to prefer a lighter coating. Just a couple of thinned down coats to seal the tape rather than the heavy, glossy and slickness of several coats. Shellac as found in cans can be thinned down with denatured alcohol.
    As the the old saying goes 'art is in the eye of the beholder'. Like bicycles, some may not consider motorcycles art either, but fortunately in 2001 the Guggenheim Museum felt differently.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Art_of_the_Motorcycle

    And if you look far enough back in time, motorcycles and bicycles were pretty much one in the same.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/rkimbe...7594265114219/
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    Senior Member rootboy's Avatar
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    Well, I think the old saying is actually "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". Or used to be. But whether something is or isn't "art" is an old and mostly meaningless debate.
    As an artist myself, I believe there are many, many beautiful things that don't qualify as art. Which doesn't make them any less beautiful, or valuable, to my eye. Beautifully designed or made things can certainly be done artfully. FWIW, my main attraction to my old bicycles is based mostly on aesthetics. Are they functional art? I don't happen to think so, but they sure are beautiful. 2 cents.
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    Senior Member rootboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Last ride 76 View Post

    I do like the width of the velox.

    Cheers, Eric
    I always did too, Eric. But I like the length of Newbaum's much more. Sure comes in handy.
    Plus, it seems thicker and more "cushy" than Velox.
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  18. #18
    Señor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    I actually prefer the slight give of leather to both shellac-finished cloth and the circulation-blocking, short-life of cork. If I can figure out a viable technique to add a bit of give to the shellac, I would try it and re-evaluate.
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    Senior Member Last ride 76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbke View Post
    Why cotton tape? Cork or Gel tape is much more comfortable for long rides.

    What is this obsession with how bikes look, rather than how they ride. Sure a Rivendell looks beautiful, but an awful lot of them seem to get sold immediately in nearly pristine condition. Bikes aren't art.

    All that being said: Newbaums, silly rabbit. If you need a Nitto Grand Randonneur 135 bar hit me up. They are much too narrow for me.
    Art is in the eye of the beholder...
    I usually use cotton tape. For most of my bikes it's period correct. It lasts well, and I'm comfortable with it. I do have a newer bike, a Gios Professional that I use as my hop on-hop off bike, (no daily tire pumping, tough Mavic GP4 wheels, black leather turbo saddle, etc). That bike came with white (!?) padded tape that I have not changed. I'm not a Luddite. Really.

    Cheers, Eric

    You have foam on your Paramount and Raleigh? Each to their own.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbke View Post
    Why cotton tape? Cork or Gel tape is much more comfortable for long rides.
    I know I'm getting a bit off-topic here, however... I find that fit of my body to the bike has much more to do with comfort than whether I have cotton, cork, gel, or nothing under my hands. I usually commute on a Trek with Cinelli cork tape set up as fixed gear to work with saddle bags (no weight of a backpack on my back). I've determined by trial-and-error (and having a bunch of other bikes of slightly varying geometry) that it doesn't quite fit right, and I wind up with more weight on my hands than I'd like. OTOH, the Atala I just built up is quite comfortable. I rode it in the Dairyland Dare without problem. All it's got for tape is some used stuff from one of John Pergolizzi's surprise boxes. I don't know what it is, but because it was previously on a track bike it doesn't quite reach the tops of the bars. Still, no problem. If I ride the Atala (or any of my other road bikes) to work, I wear a backpack with my clothes and lunch. Then I feel it in my hands.

  21. #21
    Señor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smontanaro View Post
    I know I'm getting a bit off-topic here, however... I find that fit of my body to the bike has much more to do with comfort than whether I have cotton, cork, gel, or nothing under my hands. I usually commute on a Trek with Cinelli cork tape set up as fixed gear to work with saddle bags (no weight of a backpack on my back). I've determined by trial-and-error (and having a bunch of other bikes of slightly varying geometry) that it doesn't quite fit right, and I wind up with more weight on my hands than I'd like. OTOH, the Atala I just built up is quite comfortable. I rode it in the Dairyland Dare without problem. All it's got for tape is some used stuff from one of John Pergolizzi's surprise boxes. I don't know what it is, but because it was previously on a track bike it doesn't quite reach the tops of the bars. Still, no problem. If I ride the Atala (or any of my other road bikes) to work, I wear a backpack with my clothes and lunch. Then I feel it in my hands.
    Very fair point. Perhaps if we were all set up ideally, comfort would be removed from the equation, and bar tape would be solely a fashion statement. I think I just need to ride more often.
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    I grew up with cloth tape. I actually do not like the thicker diameter presented by most cushioned tape.
    I have too many bikes and only dislike cloth tape now as I don't want to retype as often. Way back, we would retype every two weeks or so, 'cause Eddy almost always had fresh tape.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Velocivixen's Avatar
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    I suspect that handlebar tape preferences could change with saddle time, just like our b*tts become acquired to saddles over time as we get used to them. Hands could get used to bars, I suspect, with many different options.


    As for art, I know I prefer to ride the bikes I have that I think are attractive.
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    This shellac chart helped me when picking out what cloth wrap to do on my recent mystery bike purchase. I ended up purchasing the maroon Newbaums and with amber shellac it's more or less what's on this Rivendell chart. I too thought I needed cork wrap for my hands, but then I learned about fitting my bikes a little better. Now if I need it, I'll wear some gloves with a little more padding in them and that seems to do the trick. Some bikes though I just can't seem to get right and prefer more padding or I don't want to ride them with gloves exclusively. Saying you know the definition of art... comical.
    Newbaums + amber shellac:

    Newbaums + clear ... no real change. I think our dirty hands add the most change =)

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