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Old 01-01-12, 07:40 PM   #1
silvercreek
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Best quality handlebar tape

What's the best quality handlebar tape for my '78 Paramount?

Is doing your own handlebars tape an art or just practice?
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Old 01-01-12, 07:44 PM   #2
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Newbaum's cotton, if you want to be as period-correct as possible (and avoid the headaches of installing Velox cotton, which does not stretch around corners).

-Kurt
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Old 01-01-12, 07:46 PM   #3
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Cotton cloth is "correct" for that bike, and, IMO, "best" in general. You'll find opinions vary to an extreme, though. Someone out there would probably wrap it with psychedelic padded vinyl.

And wrapping your own bars is only "art" if you're doing some fancy multi-color weave with a dozen rolls of tape. Otherwise it's just a matter of care and attention.
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Old 01-01-12, 07:59 PM   #4
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Newbaum's cotton, if you want to be as period-correct as possible (and avoid the headaches of installing Velox cotton, which does not stretch around corners).

-Kurt
I find that Newbaum's is a real bear to wrap tightly around corners, whereas Velox allows an ultra-tight wrap when you wet it out.
Newbaum's can look really great if you struggle with it, but you can't wet it, and I would never attempt wrapping with bars-on.
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Old 01-01-12, 08:01 PM   #5
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And I don't like either, actually finding cheap old Cateye to be the easiest to work with. Which just goes to illustrate my previous opinion about finding consensus re. handlebar tape.
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Old 01-01-12, 08:05 PM   #6
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Yes, there are as many opinions about the relative merits and demerits of tapes as there are tapes. I like the Newbaum stuff too and get good results with it. I just whisper to it nicely while wrapping. Or curse. Sometimes both.
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Old 01-01-12, 08:18 PM   #7
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Taping your own bars is relatively easy. Takes a little practice.
I like the comfort of cork (or synthetic cork) tape. I am trying out some PRO Smart Silicone bar tape right now and so far, I am liking it.
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Old 01-01-12, 08:18 PM   #8
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For cloth I like Viva and Cateye, never tried Newbaum though.

Wrapping bars is definitely NOT art or an art. It's not even craft. Maybe a procedure, or a discipline at best.
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Old 01-01-12, 08:23 PM   #9
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Wrapping bars is definitely NOT art or an art. It's not even craft. Maybe a procedure, or a discipline at best.
I've seen some pretty fancy wrapping styles that would qualify as "art". But usually, I'll agree, it's a procedure you need to perform. Like cleaning a chain.
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Old 01-01-12, 09:19 PM   #10
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Wrapping bars is not art, or even skill, but attention to detail and patience.
Bar wrap is one of those things that can really nasty up a bike if done poorly.

Bar wrap decisions are often made with the type of bike in mind, and the type of build.
For that reason, some of the top "performing" types just aren't right for a lot of situations.

But, as if with saddle choices, you have to consider this: your hands are on the bars.
You have to decide what you want to feel, or see, or both.
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Old 01-01-12, 09:27 PM   #11
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Might be art: http://www.wastedlife.org/bike/harlequin/index.html

Probably not art: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chelseastrate/3560798875/
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Old 01-01-12, 09:34 PM   #12
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Wrapping bars is not art, or even skill, but attention to detail and patience.
Bar wrap is one of those things that can really nasty up a bike if done poorly.
+1

Wrong tape color and/or application and an incorrect saddle position are the two main ways to ruin a bike's looks.

Don't forget to level out that saddle, Dane

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Old 01-02-12, 01:04 AM   #13
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If youíre looking for cloth; Iíve tried these, and they both look good and are easy to wrap with their sticky-back; PLUS, they are all that envro-sensitive compliant.
http://greengrips.wordpress.com/
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Old 01-02-12, 01:26 AM   #14
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Wrapping handlebars is a pretty simple task. Make sure you have everything the way you want it before wrapping... ie, your bars, stem and brake lever. Once you wrap those bars, you are set with what you have... unless you waste the new tape.

Cloth will probably look the best. I've used cloth a lot myself and I wear gloves with it. I used Fizik microtex recently and I LOVE it. IMO it might be the perfect balance comfort, durability and looks.

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Old 01-02-12, 02:03 AM   #15
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Wrapping bars is not art, or even skill, but attention to detail and patience.
+2 Wrapping bars is like gourmet cooking or being a good lay; all can be mastered with care and practice.
Start off with some unsuitably modern bartape to practice. The modern bartapes (like the Specialized Roubaix wrap) is easy to clean and it's like those fat crayons they gave us in preschool; very user-friendly.
After you've mastered the fat crayons, you can get the period-correct cloth tape.
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Old 01-02-12, 02:10 AM   #16
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I feel like if fizik microtex was available in 1978 nobody would have used cotton bar tape. It may not be the end all be all, cinelli cork is really good too.
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Old 01-02-12, 03:56 AM   #17
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Make no mistake about it, wrapping handlebars is a skill. It takes a bit of time to learn how to do it and then, with practice, you just get better and better at doing it.

This is How I Tape Handlebars. Hope it is a help.

As for your bike's appropriate bar tape - cloth for sure and I have used different kinds. I was recently told to wet the cloth tape before beginning. This is supposed to make wrapping easier and produces a better result.

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Old 01-02-12, 06:19 AM   #18
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I agree with Randy here. Definitely a skill. But a skill one can learn pretty quickly. Getting good at it requires some practice though.
Most cloth tapes are suitable. VIVA is good stuff. I like Newbaum's because it is thicker and provides a bit more cushioning. I have to put in a vote against Greengrips, I'm afraid. It is a hair wider than most tapes, but seems thinner and sort of limsy. The adhesive is a narrow, quarter inch strip down the center. When you wring and pull, to get this stuff to go around corners and lay properly, the central glued section reacts as one would hope, but the two un-glued edges, which are wider than the glued middle, twist and distort because the fabric is so thin. At least, that's my experience. Newbaums is a little tougher to wrap well because of its extra thickness, but looks and feels great when done.
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Old 01-02-12, 08:08 AM   #19
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Well cloth would be correct. Yet I like leather wrap, and the best of that is handlebra!

It's pricey but so nice!

http://handlebra.com/product-information
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Old 01-02-12, 08:21 AM   #20
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Well cloth would be correct. Yet I like leather wrap, and the best of that is handlebra!

It's pricey but so nice!

http://handlebra.com/product-information
Agreed.

I want some for my John Hollands, after riding a friend's Kvale with this last fall.

Simply an outstanding product.

I just have to figure out a match for faded/weathered honey brown.

...but for the op's nice bicycle, Newbaums is a super choice.
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Old 01-02-12, 08:36 AM   #21
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Screw cloth, don't like how it looks or feels. Give me Deda or Fizik. They are also much easier to apply. Would like to try leather, but expensive.
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Old 01-02-12, 08:47 AM   #22
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Newbaum's cotton, if you want to be as period-correct as possible (and avoid the headaches of installing Velox cotton, which does not stretch around corners).

-Kurt
By the late '70s, wouldn't it have been Cinelli?
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Old 01-02-12, 09:20 AM   #23
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I prefer Fizik for all of the reasons above. I also like leather, which can be purchased for $25 if you watch for the Nashbar tape on sale.
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Old 01-02-12, 09:38 AM   #24
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By the late '70s, wouldn't it have been Cinelli?
Once he wraps it on the bike, nobody will know - nor care.

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Old 01-02-12, 09:41 AM   #25
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I prefer Fizik for all of the reasons above. I also like leather, which can be purchased for $25 if you watch for the Nashbar tape on sale.
I generally put Fizik on just about all of my bicycles as well.

They even make a great brown Fizik for the Euro market that has worked well on the Hollands.

Certain bicycles call for variations though, and I am hankering to try Handlebra.
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