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Any tricks to keep white cloth bar tape clean?

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Any tricks to keep white cloth bar tape clean?

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Old 01-10-18, 11:02 AM
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polymorphself
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Any tricks to keep white cloth bar tape clean?

Are there any coatings, sprays etc. that you can use on white cloth tape to help repel some of the discoloration that occurs over time? How effective is this?
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Old 01-10-18, 11:05 AM
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Cover it in Saran Wrap, and don't ride the bike.

Seriously, that's the only way. If you ride it'll get dirty so just accept that as part of the deal if you want white tape.
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Old 01-10-18, 11:09 AM
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You could shellac it, but it won't be white anymore.
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Old 01-10-18, 11:10 AM
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I sort of like the dirty white look. Reminds me of the way the handlebars looked when Eddy and Felice were racing.

Shellac maybe? Or simple green?
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Old 01-10-18, 11:13 AM
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White cloth tape???.... Just assume you really bought grey tape......
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Old 01-10-18, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Cover it in Saran Wrap, and don't ride the bike.

Seriously, that's the only way. If you ride it'll get dirty so just accept that as part of the deal if you want white tape.
Clean white bar tape is a big red flag that you don't ride enough; expect to be snubbed.

But the cork stuff gets dirty the fastest.
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Old 01-10-18, 11:14 AM
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Haha come on guys, of course it's going to get dirty! Was just wondering if anybody does anything to make it last a little bit longer. Shellac is such an example, but there isn't a clear shellac, so it will color your white tape.

And I agree, the slightly dirtied white tape does have a nice effect.

Last edited by polymorphself; 01-10-18 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 01-10-18, 11:37 AM
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White Zipp Service Course bar tape does a really good job of rejecting stains from riding, but you wouldn't be able to advertise that you use cloth tape anymore.

I think back in the days of Eddy and Felice, white bar tape got replaced often.
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Old 01-10-18, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
I think back in the days of Eddy and Felice, white bar tape got replaced often.
True that. They had people for that sort of thing. Most of us don't.
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Old 01-10-18, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
Clean white bar tape is a big red flag that you don't ride enough; expect to be snubbed.

.
or that you're a top tier rider with a team mechanic who retapes your bars daily. In that case, you surely won't be snubbed.
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Old 01-10-18, 01:03 PM
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a buddy has white cloth tape on his Raleigh Team. He doesn't ride it much, but it's definitely showing some use. Seems like a suitable shade of non-white to me.




A more practical approach is to not use cloth tape (which I know isn't what you asked, but this is the internet, so some drift is expected).
My Raleigh International has the original plastic white tape on it, and it looks great! Kinda slippery on hot, sweaty days, but that's the price of looking good, right??




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Old 01-10-18, 01:25 PM
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Actually there is clear shellac available as opposed to the amber. I tried it on some yellow cork tape I put on a Zeus I gave to my son, to try to preserve it. This is what it looked like 10 years ago . There was some darkening after application, but not much. It's still in place, easy to clean so isn't dirty. Might be some yellowing with age but wouldn't show on yellow tape. My son is a Summertime rider, and not too much then. Could be worth a test on some white. Maybe better on cork than cloth but don't really know. Don
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Old 01-10-18, 01:40 PM
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WHAT? you guys don't appreciate "Patina" on a C&V forum!!!???

Fresh white tape doesn't fit with a well used bike!
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Old 01-10-18, 01:51 PM
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Dirty and beat up white tape was considered very cool BITD. It was sort of like beat up blue jeans. Racers would still retape about once a month on average, some being much more slack than others.

Anyway, there's really nothing you can do. If you ride with clean gloves every time, it will last a bit longer. If you like pristine tape, stick with plastic.

There is such a thing as bleached water white shellac, but it's expensive and still has a hint of tint to it. Strictly speaking, shellacking cotton tape isn't period authentic, if that matters to you at all -- unless you are French.
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Old 01-10-18, 01:57 PM
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I've found the Fizik perforated tape (Classic I think, maybe Performance) doesn't gray up that badly a cleans OK with Simple Green or similar. One trick is to keep your gloves clean, rinse out with water frequently and wash regularly.
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Old 01-10-18, 02:18 PM
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I suppose there is some room for experimentation with coating for white cotton tape. The nice thing about shellac is that it remains fairly grippy for a glossy coating, and it's organic I guess.

That said there are plenty of absolutely clear coatings that could also be tried. Perhaps a silicone type waterproofing spray would help a bit. Acrylic and polyester clears can be absolutely transparent. Would they make the bars slippery? I don't know.

As an aside that may be of some interest: I clearly remember when I first saw a Singer in real life, about 1989 IIRC. The first thing that stood out was the strange shiny cotton tape. At the time it was totally exotic and crazy!!! My fellow LBS workers had a vigorous debate about what the coating was. It took a couple months to figure it out. This was in spite of the unhelpful answer of 'vernis' directly from Ernest at Singer...
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Old 01-10-18, 02:20 PM
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my white bar tape on my black Giant TCR is now grey .... looks good and shows that my bike is well ridden
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Old 01-10-18, 02:26 PM
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For cloth tape, I favor black, for the reasons given above. I might try a shade of maroon to match my Brooks saddle.
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Old 01-10-18, 02:46 PM
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No. First ride with new white tape. Rain and a rear tire change meant it wasn't white for long:



It does sort of get better as time passes, though. This was a three months later:

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Old 01-10-18, 03:04 PM
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At the risk of exposing myself as a heretic (though I think that's pretty well known), I don't use cloth bar tape. I do, however, have a bike with white cork tape. My strategy has mostly been to avoid looking at it or photographing it in good lighting. For instance, it's pretty filthy in this picture, but the shadows help to disguise that fact.



Cork tape sometimes cleans up well with Simple Green and a good scrubbing. I'm probably just scraping off the dirty layer, but I don't do it often so I'm OK with that.
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Old 01-10-18, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Cover it in Saran Wrap, and don't ride the bike.
As a huge fan of white tape (and saddles) I'll say yeah, that's about it. Embrace the "dirty white" look, or plan on replacing tape every couple of weeks.

Hoods too.

OR....
I remember some time back a bird shat on my grimy white (Cinelli cork, not cloth) tape. When I discovered it and wiped it off a few hours later the tape underneath was flawless white again. Haven't yet determined how to get from there to any kind of practical application.
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Old 01-10-18, 03:35 PM
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start with black tape
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Old 01-10-18, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by J.Oxley View Post
(...)
I remember some time back a bird shat on my grimy white (Cinelli cork, not cloth) tape. When I discovered it and wiped it off a few hours later the tape underneath was flawless white again. Haven't yet determined how to get from there to any kind of practical application.
Keep trying. Might work with other species too ...
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Old 01-10-18, 06:06 PM
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I sprayed 2 coats of “Sneaker Saver” on my white cloth tape, and while not invulnerable it certainly helped.
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Old 01-10-18, 06:34 PM
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Those little dirty words... 'white cloth tape'

Top wrap with thin white hockey or medical tape.

----

I've never tried the following on white cloth tape but have sprayed Minwax urethane on top of red cloth bar tape. Seems to have kept a tidy look. When first applying, the fibers lift and give a fuzzy appearance. Let it tack and then wipe over with your hand, re-apply the spray.
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