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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 06-04-10, 05:55 PM   #1
coma061
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Handle Bar Wrap Opinions

After reading in the grip vs wrap thread I tried hockey tape. I am currently up to 4 layers per side (as I bought 2 full rolls) and am unhappy with it. It gives grip, but without gloves, it offers absolutely no padding. I'm reluctant to try leather because of the cost ($50 +). I'm considering cork, but would like some other opinions.
That said,
What kind of bar wrap would you suggest?
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Old 06-04-10, 06:05 PM   #2
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You shouldnt need padded tape or gloves to be comfortable. That said, I found cork to add more padding to the bar than I like, so it may be right for you. Fizik Microtex is what I prefer the most so far.
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Old 06-04-10, 06:39 PM   #3
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4 layers?

bend your elbows and slide your saddle back.
alternatively, do push ups and work on your core muscles.
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Old 06-04-10, 06:49 PM   #4
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These guys are correct. If, like me, you have a tarcked bike with a lot of saddle to bar drop it will be an issue for you. That said, I use Brooks leather wrap. It's as comfy as the fizik stuff that everyone likes, and doesn't fall apart. I hit a patch of gravel while cornering the other night and scuffed and gashed it, which is a huge bummer considering how much it costs. The gash is only cosmetic, but still. If it holds up for another year, I'd probably buy it again; as two years of use seems reasonable for the cost.
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Old 06-04-10, 06:51 PM   #5
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If you have drops then get some cork tape and maybe some gel inserts if you're still uncomfortable. Core strength will also make a big difference.

If you are riding risers, just get some standard bmx or MTB grips.
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Old 06-04-10, 06:56 PM   #6
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I use cinelli cork tape. Got it because of the look, not totally thrilled with the feel compared with a rubbery one that I used before, but its ok.
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Old 06-04-10, 07:02 PM   #7
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i wrap old innertubes first followed by athletic tape. i like the bar ends to be ultra thick and use an older quillstem so don't have tho option of buying those massive bars.
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Old 06-04-10, 07:13 PM   #8
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hairnet :
I agree, this is the only time I have ever needed to wear my gloves!
AEO and LoRoK :
I think my core is doing ok and my seat to bar height isn't too extreme. I'll put up a pic or two later.

The cloth tape I used is only cloth with a bit of adhesive, maybe that's the problem. Absolutely no cush. Even with the 4 layers it's like riding with bare bars that have a bit of grip.
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Old 06-04-10, 07:19 PM   #9
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if you have a lot of weight on your arms, it would be better to slide the saddle back and get a slightly shorter stem, as this reduces weight on the arms.
more padding isn't the solution, bar tape is really only there so you can get a good grip on your bars.
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Old 06-04-10, 07:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoRoK View Post
These guys are correct. If, like me, you have a tarcked bike with a lot of saddle to bar drop it will be an issue for you.

How much do you have? For a while my road bike was at 17cm, but I raised it because I need to work on my back flexibility/strength.
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Old 06-04-10, 07:30 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone! I really do appreciate the help. I have been slowly raising and moving my saddle back, maybe that will help.
In the mean time here is a (crappy) pic of my first self-done tape job

I fully get what you're saying about the weight on my arms, maybe I just need seat post with more set back. I have always just thought that bar wrap, or grips for that matter, should offer some padding as well, even if not much. My gloves are really not that padded at all, but in addition to the wrap, it seems prefect.
Again, thank you all for the timely responses, I really do appreciate it. And I'm looking into some new wrap asap to go with my new saddle when it comes!
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Old 06-04-10, 07:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hairnet View Post
How much do you have? For a while my road bike was at 17cm, but I raised it because I need to work on my back flexibility/strength.
Saw your post after my last one - I'll measure it when I get back home tonight. But I swear, it's nothing compared to a lot of bikes I have seen around this forum.
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Old 06-04-10, 07:48 PM   #13
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I used to ride horns with a single layer of cloth tape. It wasn't "comfortable" but not also not so uncomfortable that I hated my short commute. However once I bought some Cinelli cork tape I was much happier. Definitely try moving your saddle back a little too. Moves your center back more over your seat and should relieve some of the weight on your hands, though this works best if you add a shorter stem at the same time...
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Old 06-04-10, 09:45 PM   #14
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You could try to adjust the seat angle slightly too. I love my cotton bar tape. Has anyone shellacked cloth tape? It looks like it could be a fun project, but I don't really know anything about it.
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Old 06-04-10, 10:41 PM   #15
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Pretty sure my seat angle is ok. It's just about perfectly horizontal, if not slightly nose up to keep from sliding forward. I will still put up a pic or two, I just haven't gotten home yet. Hang with me a bit longer folks!
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Old 06-04-10, 10:50 PM   #16
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why hockey tape? I use it on my lacrosse stick for grip, and it is super rough on your hands if you're not wearing glove. and if you are wearing gloves it will tear them up pretty quick.
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Old 06-05-10, 12:32 AM   #17
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I use a layer of old bar tape across the top of the bar as an "insert." It is basically free. Then I wrap as normal over the old tape.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharneK View Post
If you have drops then get some cork tape and maybe some gel inserts if you're still uncomfortable. Core strength will also make a big difference.

If you are riding risers, just get some standard bmx or MTB grips.
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Old 06-05-10, 01:55 AM   #18
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OK - I'm back home so here's the picture I promised:

From the ground my saddle is 94cm-95cm and my bars are 90cm - only a 4-5cm (depending on the angle you look at the measuring tape) drop which is less than 2 inches no matter how you look at it. And no, I'm not expecting a whole s--t ton of padding. Like I said - this wrap plus my (thinish) gloves is perfection as far as feel. I just don't think I should have to wear them just to ride more than 5-10 miles of city streets.
Thank you all again for your previous and continuing help!
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Old 06-05-10, 02:01 AM   #19
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you could try tennis grips. nice leather tennis grip can be had for about 10 each, and will definitely cover the bottom portion of a track drop. I tried it out recently, theyre holding up a lot better than the previous cinelli cork tape i was using
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Old 06-05-10, 02:38 AM   #20
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try shortening your brake cable. I hear it does wonders for grip and road vibration.
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Old 06-05-10, 02:46 AM   #21
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normally i would say "if you get hand pain (actually, any pain from the body), it's an issue of fit and getting thicker bar tape is like putting bandages on a gunshot wound". however, seeing how you have a converted MTB, i will just mention that MTBs usually have a longer top tube and older MTBs have a more aggressive rider position. your reach and saddle/bar drop look okay but MTBs and road bikes have different geometry and this pain you're experience could be due to those differences.
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Old 06-05-10, 02:55 AM   #22
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I am a fan of cloth and shellac and usually put down 3 layers of cloth and at least 3 coats of shellac as this builds up the bar diameter, and offers a little more dampening than a single layer of wrap and in the old days when cloth was king folks would often tape over their old wrap regularly and ride on multiple layers.

Shellac eliminates the need to re-wrap as it is a very long wearing finish that can be easily refinished.

If I am using amber shellac I may apply more coats to get a desired shade and this also darkens over time.

The shellac is pretty bulletproof and makes repairs to scuffed bars pretty easy as a fresh application of shellac will dissolve the old a little bit and things blend together nicely.

Clear shellac also protects and extends the life of cork wrap which does not have a great lifespan and a single layer of cloth tape over cork is another way to extend the cork's life to near infinite levels.
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Old 06-05-10, 03:11 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erichsia View Post
try shortening your brake cable. I hear it does wonders for grip and road vibration.
Thanks for the insight, but this is about as short as I was willing to go while keeping my lever on the right hand side - too used to the motorcycle I suppose.


tFUnK : there is no pain, it just seems to be a bit of a rough ride.

Sixty Fiver : Thanks for the advise! I was considering cork, but now that you say it's lifespan is short, cloth on top of it sounds kind of nice.
Maybe I'll just wait it out and pony up for some leather wrap. Seems like it should be durable and comfy enough.
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Old 06-05-10, 03:51 AM   #24
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Actually, 65'ers suggestion is what I was thinking of suggesting as well. I did this to 2 sets of bars, & I love the look & feel of it. Be warned though, without gloves this type of wrap can get very slippery if you're prone to sweaty palms.

also, the brake cable remark was veiled sarcasm.

Last edited by erichsia; 06-05-10 at 04:59 AM. Reason: clarity
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Old 06-05-10, 04:16 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erichsia View Post
Actually, 65'ers suggestion is what I was thinking of suggesting as well. I did this to 2 sets of bars, & I love the look & feel of it. Be warned though, without gloves this type of wrap can get very slippery if you're prone to sweaty palms.
Thanks for the confirmation. I do like the look of shellac covered cloth. While I'm not sure it would matter too much aesthetically over black wrap, I'm sure it would feel nice.
Thanks again, everyone.
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