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Reminiscing... Benotto Bar Tape

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Reminiscing... Benotto Bar Tape

Old 06-11-20, 09:49 AM
  #1  
PoorInRichfield
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Reminiscing... Benotto Bar Tape

Looking at some of the bikes on this forum, it reminded me that when I got my first road bike back in the '80s, Benotto bar tape was pretty much the standard, of which I'm assuming some of you still use it on your retro builds?

Thinking back about that, I find it almost comical that I used that tape as it was barely better than riding without any tape! It was slippery, it wasn't remotely comfortable, about all it did was add color to the handlebars. I almost have to wonder if Benotto tape came out of the same factory as where they make ribbon for decorating Christmas and birthday presents

On the plus side, it was super easy to wrap, was easy to clean (heck, was hard to get dirty!), and if one was ambitious enough one could wrap spiffy a spiffy "diamond" pattern into your bars.

Ah, the good 'ol days...

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Old 06-11-20, 10:11 AM
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Yup. have a couple of rolls in the bin. Used it on two bikes.
One older
1983 Colnago Superissimo, on Flickr

One almost 30 years newer
P1030374, on Flickr
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Old 06-11-20, 11:35 AM
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I've used some of my precious hoard of white Benotto tape to wrap over new white cork tape. Someone once left a note on my bike saying that my tape looked beautiful. Which it does.
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Old 06-11-20, 11:50 AM
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I wouldn't say it was the standard. It was more like a fashion trend the got huge for a year or two, and then sputtered out. Best I can recollect 1981 was the peak. The tape had been around since the 70s, but virtually nobody noticed it or used it, then suddenly, everyone had to put it on their bike. It was the shiny iridescence that people found fascinating -- very cutting edge. I think it's no coincidence that this is almost exactly the same time people start wearing lycra/spandex shorts instead of wool, and those at first were shiny and almost iridescent too.

I thought it was fine. It's not as slippery as you would think, even with no gloves. Obviously the padding level is zero.

I dutifully put Benotto tape on my Masi like everyone else in 1981... By 84 or 85, we had boxes full of the stuff at my LBS, but people had stopped buying it. I'm sure it varied by region.
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Old 06-11-20, 01:08 PM
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It wrapped beautifully, you could double and triple wrap designs quickly and cheaply. There were colors for everyone. You needed AWESOME gloves... or Spenco gel so your hands could survive 10 miles. It was maybe the 2nd or 3rd most common job at the shop when I started back in the day.
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Old 06-11-20, 01:25 PM
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I still love it. When I search on ebay I can sometimes find the original stuff. The facsimiles are decent though not perfect. I don't find it to be slippery, so maybe it depends on how you grip or maybe the texture of your skin? I don't know.

I was working in a bike shop in NYC when this stuff was fashionable. Man, did we sell a lot. The funniest story was that we sold it for $2.50 a set but a high end shop in the city sold it for $4.50. A customer said he was going to buy it from the other shop because with the higher price over there, it must be better somehow.
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Old 06-11-20, 03:53 PM
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Benotto tape thread

I still like it, but it’s only on one bike. I like other tapes too.
In terms of padding, I don’t feel a world of difference between Benotto and a single cloth layer.
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Old 06-11-20, 08:33 PM
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I have about 5-6 packs of that tape. I used it on a Miyata and folks here posted to get it off as it was garbage and wrecked the look of the bike. Was going to post it here but the Covid came along and its a low priority.....
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Old 06-11-20, 08:48 PM
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I love that stuff, easy to use, lasts forever. I put 3 layers on my Trek TX900, blue then silver, then light blue. Top down of course!
Tim



Last edited by tkamd73; 06-11-20 at 09:04 PM.
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Old 06-12-20, 01:08 AM
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My trek 560 that I bought new in '82 or thereabouts, still has its bars wrapped with it, but the tape is a little ratty looking after all these years. I like the stuff. It feels fast and looks fast. The staff person that sold me the bike, recommended it, and wrapped the bars for me himself. Benotto is thin, and the minimal to insufficient cushion apparently was widely acknowledged even back then, so the word of mouth solution he'd heard about, which I went for, was to first wrap the bars with this white cushiony tape, and then wrap the pink benotto over it. For the life of me, I can't remember the name of the cushiony white tape, but it intensified the pink tone, which contrasts great with the 560's black imron paint. I gather that Benotto celo tape still is out of production. I have a blue allez that would like some blue benotto.
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Old 06-12-20, 01:44 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
...The funniest story was that we sold it for $2.50 a set but a high end shop in the city sold it for $4.50. A customer said he was going to buy it from the other shop because with the higher price over there, it must be better somehow.
Sounds like my wife.

Whatever the price, I'm a fan.

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Old 06-12-20, 02:05 AM
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Oh yes! Shiny!





Had a hard time choosing

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Old 06-12-20, 02:52 AM
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Like everyone else, I love it too.
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Old 06-12-20, 03:39 AM
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I'm almost afraid to post this; red jersey, blue shorts & pink Benotto tape

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Old 06-12-20, 03:49 AM
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I remember how beautiful Benotto s white tape looked on Peugeot's pearl white painted bikes in the early 80's. My pearl white 82 PH10S came with the white Benotto tape, and it looked really classy.
Silly me though, thought that Grab On foam grips would be better on the bike and I took of the Benotto tape just a few weeks after buying the bike. Who would have thought that us C&Vers will learn to appreciate Benotto "Cello" tape again so many years after we replaced them with padded vinyl and "cork" tapes.
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Old 06-12-20, 07:47 AM
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PoorInRichfield
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Oh man, with all these cool pics I can almost smell the plastic!
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Old 06-12-20, 08:03 AM
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Just bought some of this myself, quite a few on ebay.
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Old 06-12-20, 08:37 AM
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My Holdsworth has always had pearl white tape. Wouldn’t look mine without it.
Had to eBay some NOS for my recent refirb, and it’s not cheap.

Barry
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Old 06-12-20, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by nomadmax View Post
I had pink Benotto tape on my black Puch, around '82. I had blue Nashbar bicycling shorts (with yellow insert), too. Almost everyone in my bicycling circle had replaced their stock tape with a crazy color of Benotto tape. The tape encouraged the purchase of bicycling gloves, which was another tick (Benotto tape being on there too) on the unwritten rules of being a "dedicated bicyclist".
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Old 06-12-20, 09:42 AM
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I had an all original ‘84 Trek 510. The Benotto tape was as the OP said, not exactly comfortable. But aesthetically attractive imo. For me, I guess it’s one “component” where I’m willing to choose form over function if a certain bike calls for it. And that’s why I’ll be using it on an actual Benotto build getting underway.

— — —

The Trek:



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Old 06-12-20, 03:03 PM
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Tricolour tape

A while ago I picked up some rolls of tri-colour Benotto tape - some Blue/Silver/Red, some Green/Silver/Red. Here's where the Green/Silver/Red went:




It would have been better if the Silver wasn't in the middle, but oh well.
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Old 06-12-20, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by oneclick View Post
A while ago I picked up some rolls of tri-colour Benotto tape - some Blue/Silver/Red, some Green/Silver/Red. Here's where the Green/Silver/Red went:




It would have been better if the Silver wasn't in the middle, but oh well.

OOH! I like that.

I should look for some green-white-red Benotto bar tape for my green-white-red Miele.

Cheers
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Old 06-12-20, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
OOH! I like that.

I should look for some green-white-red Benotto bar tape for my green-white-red Miele.

Cheers
I've been watching ebay for this stuff, looks like it'll take the best part of 50 dollars to get a pair of rolls. Let me know if you find it cheaper, please - there are other bikes-in-the-pipeline...
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Old 06-12-20, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by oneclick View Post
I've been watching ebay for this stuff, looks like it'll take the best part of 50 dollars to get a pair of rolls. Let me know if you find it cheaper, please - there are other bikes-in-the-pipeline...
I should have stocked up on it when that guy in Mexico had so much of it and it was quite inexpensive.

Cheers
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Old 06-13-20, 10:55 PM
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still have a roll of this somewhere in the stash
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