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Old 01-31-13, 12:56 AM   #1
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Tape wrapping a commuter

So, I'm not quite sure where to post this one, but I figured I'd start here.

I'm riding a pretty nice roadie as kind of an all-purpose fitness/commuter right now. I had this idea that, given the unforgiving NYC environment, I should wrap my frame in a layer of thick tape. I see this in Midtown manhattan all the time (usually bike messengers/delivery guys), but I'm not sure where to start. I called a bunch of shops and I always got the same response...they're vaguely familiar with what I'm talking about, but they don't do it there. I had one shop tell me that they can't order the tape, but they know what I'm talking about and they'd be willing to give it a shot (if I provide the tape).

So...does anyone know where I would acquire this kind of tape? Does one specifically for bikes exist...if not, what kind of tape should I use? I'm guessing it would have to be thick, slightly elastic and durable, with finish-friendly adhesive...any ideas? Also, does anyone in the NY metro area know of a place in Brooklyn or Manhattan that has experience with this kind of thing?

Any help is appreciated...Thanks!
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Old 01-31-13, 01:45 AM   #2
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I believe it's most traditionally done with electrical tape. In theory you might also use handlebar tape, though that won't be cheap, or maybe even hockey tape. But electrical tape is the most common choice.

I'm not vouching for the safety of this, of course, or commenting on whether it will destroy your finish. (Electrical tape usually comes off pretty clean, but I'm not making any promises.) But I'm pretty sure that's the most common choice.
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Old 01-31-13, 03:16 AM   #3
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Why not just use hockey tape? That is pretty cheap - wet it before you apply it. You shouldn't need adhesive backed tape for this purpose - just use electrical tape to finish off. I'm not saying this out of bike specific knowledge though, so someone can correct me - but I wrapped (non-ice) hockey sticks and cricket bats when I was small, and didn't always have adhesive backed tape.
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Old 01-31-13, 01:05 PM   #4
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I use 2 layers , to fatten up the grip. the regular fat foam tape.

but this is not about hand comfort on rough streets..

Last edited by fietsbob; 02-01-13 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 01-31-13, 01:37 PM   #5
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If you have the time, the cheapest approach would be to hit your LBS for old inner tubes, cut them into strips and then - go to town (so to speak). Lots of people use this on chain stays, using electrical tape to terminate the wrap - no reason it couldn't be applied to the whole bike.

Last edited by Burton; 01-31-13 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 01-31-13, 11:43 PM   #6
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Wait...the point is to disguise the bike, right? The more nondescript, the better. Just go to Home Depot or somewhere and buy what they have and wrap the bike. No thinking required. I like the inner tube idea, and I've used it for chainstays, but it's sort of awkward and time-consuming to do.
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Old 02-01-13, 07:16 AM   #7
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Spray paint. in multiple colors overlapping. leave all the components in place when you do it - dont mask anything off. No one will want to steal the bike. Probably faster and cheaper than tape too.
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Old 02-01-13, 12:43 PM   #8
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Yea you may be keeping the paint under the old inner tube, wrap, in better shape,
as you constantly lock and unlock the bike
to not have it disappear and you are back to walking to the Subway.
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Old 02-01-13, 03:09 PM   #9
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Yeah, usually done with electrical tape.

It would likely be easier and cheaper to just buy a bike less likely to be stolen and less of a heartbreak if it is... a 'beater' bike... then instead of painstakingly applying a temporary uglificating layer, do a permanent uglification by scraping the frame against a sign post or concrete wall.

I know the NYC bike theives are among the best in the biz, but if you have a $100 Kryptonite Fahgettaboutit lock on a beat-to-hell $30 10-speed, I would bet most of them will look elsewhere.
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Old 02-01-13, 05:32 PM   #10
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You could get funky and get some of this. Then maybe the thieves won't be able to find your bike.

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Old 02-01-13, 10:28 PM   #11
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