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Old 03-19-21, 07:36 AM
bike whisperer
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Location: Melbourne, Oz
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The best bar tape is tough enough to survive a small crash, isn't too grippy or slippy, resists edge curling, is strong enough not to break if you need to wrap it tight (stitching is good for that), but not too stiff to conform nicely, and is almost certainly black, or at least the same colour as the hoods. A continuous coating (rather than a stripe in the middle) of that tacky stuff they use these days is the best form of adhesive by far. A pattern of perforations or stitching helps a lot to get an even wrap, particularly if you haven't done it dozens of times.

Budget up to three hours for perfection, depending on difficulty. The second half takes twice as long as the first, if you want it to match.

I like to disconnect the cables and coil them up in a single coil around the stern, which I pull off the steerer. Now you can really get into it properly. While you have the bars off, before taping,might as well check your levers are level with aid of a pane of glass. Also ensure cable housings are nicely seated and securely taped in place while you're here. Most modern tape can resist edge curling pretty well if you wrap top down, the trick is to make it tight. Heaps neater without finishing tape.

Selle Italia Smootape, the 5mm stuff equivalent to a double wrap, gave me the flattest-looking wrap I've ever seen; it looked awesome. Was a total bastard to get it to conform though, it has a rather stiff core, despite being really light (the thinner version is probably much easier, and even lighter). Pretty impressive toughness for a tape with a foam/cork texture too.

I've used other good tapes that were better in other regards or maybe even other aspects of aesthetics, but nothing was such a standout in one regard while also being so good all-round. Bit pricey, but tough and rewrappable.

Last edited by Kimmo; 03-19-21 at 07:49 AM.
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