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To re-tape handlebar or to leave?

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To re-tape handlebar or to leave?

Old 12-25-21, 08:42 AM
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To re-tape handlebar or to leave?

Iím not sure, I have a 1970 French tourer that has the original tape. Is re-taping going to drag the look down?


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Old 12-25-21, 08:49 AM
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If the tape is still in decent shape I would consider cleaning it first, and see how I like it. That tape has a certain charm, IMHO.
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Old 12-25-21, 08:57 AM
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Certainly clean it best you can and see how you like it. Light colored tape is hard to keep clean but looks great. I have a bike that came with white cloth tape and it looked nice as it got some mild off color to it. When it got real dirty , I cleaned it with Dawn dish liquid and warm water and the set it out to dry. It looks great again but not like new tape.
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Old 12-25-21, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by non-fixie View Post
If the tape is still in decent shape I would consider cleaning it first, and see how I like it. That tape has a certain charm, IMHO.
i agree that the vintage look does have an appealing charm.

Originally Posted by Kabuki12 View Post
Certainly clean it best you can and see how you like it. Light colored tape is hard to keep clean but looks great. I have a bike that came with white cloth tape and it looked nice as it got some mild off color to it. When it got real dirty , I cleaned it with Dawn dish liquid and warm water and the set it out to dry. It looks great again but not like new tape.
Iíll give the Dawn dish liquid approach a bash and see how it looks, thx.
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Old 12-25-21, 10:15 AM
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Gaps at brake hoods make me think this wasn’t a factory tape job. Or is my recollection clouded by Nostalgia? Cloth Velox Tressostar, etc. would look real nice. I am not sure 45 + year old plastic tape is a truly appreciated as an indicator of undisturbed vintage-ness.
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Old 12-25-21, 10:24 AM
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Tape, chains and tires are consumables. If you're into period correctness, consider cotton tape with shellac on top for a 70's french tourer.
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Old 12-25-21, 10:30 AM
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That tape looks like it's still good, but I don't know if it was that creme color from the factory, or is just blanched. I'd clean it up and ride with it and see how it feels. Otherwise, you should be able to find something similar from Benotto, Hunt-Wylde or OGK.
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Old 12-25-21, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by elcraft View Post
Gaps at brake hoods make me think this wasnít a factory tape job. Or is my recollection clouded by Nostalgia? Cloth Velox Tressostar, etc. would look real nice. I am not sure 45 + year old plastic tape is a truly appreciated as an indicator of undisturbed vintage-ness.
in the 70ís plastic tape was a one go, no sissy strips at the levers.
cloth tape might have had extra attention
with half hood Mafac levers - the only was to control things was to tape with the lever bodies off. Quite a bit of work as the 9mm retaining nut really wants the room, the cable has to be removed or really loose.
in a bike shop setting way too much time save for Herse or Singer.

as to leaving the tape, fresh tape will make the rest of the bike appear shabby. Depends on your clean and polish goal.
noting also that French bars of the era were really narrow. Like 36 cm ctc often.
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Old 12-25-21, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
in the 70ís plastic tape was a one go, no sissy strips at the levers.
cloth tape might have had extra attention
with half hood Mafac levers - the only was to control things was to tape with the lever bodies off. Quite a bit of work as the 9mm retaining nut really wants the room, the cable has to be removed or really loose.
in a bike shop setting way too much time save for Herse or Singer.

as to leaving the tape, fresh tape will make the rest of the bike appear shabby. Depends on your clean and polish goal.
noting also that French bars of the era were really narrow. Like 36 cm ctc often.
Thats a good point about fresh tape and the accent of the bike. The frame has a metallic blue paint that looks a bit shabby also the foil decals on the front forks are either peeling off or insofar as the Reynolds decal, missing completely. The campy accoutrements, hubs, pedals, chainring etc have polished up incredibly well and make the frame look even more of a bad state. So I may try as suggested, clean the tape and see how it looks.



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Old 12-25-21, 11:13 AM
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Wipe, Clean and Now Refreshed....Good fo another 20.
Best, Ben
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Old 12-25-21, 11:15 AM
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Of course new tape and wet sand the frame with a very fine paper. Old tape is disgusting and can be completely unsafe if there's corrosion on the bars.
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Old 12-25-21, 11:44 AM
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Clean the tape. As much as I disliked that plastic tape at the time, ( the tape that came stock on my 74 PX10 ended up wrapping the handle of our lawn mover and proved Impervious to gas , oil, sweat, etc) if yours is holding up, keep it. It speaks to the origins of the bike and its time. Even if you replace it with modern plastic, it wonít be the same. You might duplicate the texture but you canít duplicate the wrapping technique, probably done by some long gone Frenchman with a Galoise hanging from his lips. Itís the one piece of the bike that you can touch and know that some other human ran it though his hands to make sure the job was done.
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Old 12-25-21, 11:51 AM
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Unless the bicycle's cosmetics are really challenged, new tape will not necessarily drag the look down. Also, I have little like or respect for smooth slippery handle bar tape, such as that presented on the OP's bike.

With both of those thoughts in mind, I would not hesitate to install new handle bar tape. I would go with cloth tape, just to retain the vintage look and appeal. I will also offer a bit of advice, should the OP choose to install cloth tape.

Remove the bars and steering stem, if possible. Remove the old tape. Position the brake levers exactly where he or she wants them to be and then secure the clamps in place with tape. Then remove the handles, leaving the clamps in place. Now, it will be easy to wrap the bars and avoid the unpleasant wrinkling of the tape around the levers. Have a look at the pictures and know that, in my opinion, there is no easier way to tape bars and get really good results...

Position the levers...


Secure clamps in place. I also use silicone seal to prevent the female portion of the clamp from moving...


Now, wrap the handlebar and then install the lever body/hood assembly...


The results usually turn out pretty good (I do NOT recommend using white cloth tape - it dirties up pretty fast)...


If you have or choose to use the Gaslo style of end plug, put one wrap of cloth tape underneath before slipping the end plug into place. Doing so will greatly ensure that the plug stays where it belongs during tape installation and afterwards, during use...


I have been wrapping bars like this for years and have yet to have the job turn out poorly...
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Old 12-25-21, 01:10 PM
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Hey, at least itís top down with no electrical tape to finish it off, Iíd leave it.
Tim
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Old 12-25-21, 01:19 PM
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Old 12-25-21, 02:33 PM
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Bleh...all the grubby people that've touched it.
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Old 12-25-21, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Spadoni View Post
Clean the tape. As much as I disliked that plastic tape at the time, ( the tape that came stock on my 74 PX10 ended up wrapping the handle of our lawn mover and proved Impervious to gas , oil, sweat, etc) if yours is holding up, keep it. It speaks to the origins of the bike and its time. Even if you replace it with modern plastic, it won’t be the same. You might duplicate the texture but you can’t duplicate the wrapping technique, probably done by some long gone Frenchman with a Galoise hanging from his lips. It’s the one piece of the bike that you can touch and know that some other human ran it though his hands to make sure the job was done.
I was faced with the same question as the OP and all set to re-tape a bike with some extra nice Handlebra leather tape that I special ordered but I just could not bring myself to removing the old Benotto tape that “some other human” had wrapped so perfectly so long ago. Way nicer than I would’ve done. I’ll save the leather for another bike.

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Old 12-25-21, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Of course new tape and wet sand the frame with a very fine paper. Old tape is disgusting and can be completely unsafe if there's corrosion on the bars.
+1. Just knowing that my sweat is enough to start corroding the bars after a few years, it's a good idea to take off the old tape so you can completely know the state of yours.
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Old 12-25-21, 09:56 PM
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Leave the tape until the paint looks too good for it. Right now, it doesn't.
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Old 12-25-21, 10:36 PM
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Still in two minds about this myself .
do I or dont I


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Old 12-25-21, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
Unless the bicycle's cosmetics are really challenged, new tape will not necessarily drag the look down. Also, I have little like or respect for smooth slippery handle bar tape, such as that presented on the OP's bike.

With both of those thoughts in mind, I would not hesitate to install new handle bar tape. I would go with cloth tape, just to retain the vintage look and appeal. I will also offer a bit of advice, should the OP choose to install cloth tape.

Remove the bars and steering stem, if possible. Remove the old tape. Position the brake levers exactly where he or she wants them to be and then secure the clamps in place with tape. Then remove the handles, leaving the clamps in place. Now, it will be easy to wrap the bars and avoid the unpleasant wrinkling of the tape around the levers. Have a look at the pictures and know that, in my opinion, there is no easier way to tape bars and get really good results...

Position the levers...


I have been wrapping bars like this for years and have yet to have the job turn out poorly...
I see on the black ribbon you wrapped from the top down. Is there a reason or just trying something different? I do both but some tapes wear faster with the edge on top.
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Old 12-26-21, 06:06 AM
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I'm putting in a vote for 'new' plastic tape.
My 82 Holdsworth originally had slightly silver plastic tape (I bought one new in 83 and I just about remember), I got a another one a few months back and the tape had gone a nasty yellow colour.
Found some NOS Schwinn "old school silver tinted" on Ebay and studied how the original tape was wrapped (do one side at a time).

1982 Wrapped from the top, figure of 8 round the hoods.
Cheated slightly: I did put some double sided tape at the top starting point, and I've now put one wrap of Sellotape Crystal Clear round the plug end.


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Old 12-26-21, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by curbtender View Post
I see on the black ribbon you wrapped from the top down. Is there a reason or just trying something different? I do both but some tapes wear faster with the edge on top.
The black bar tape, top down, was installed that way since I had end plugs that inserted into the handlebar, thus securing the running end of the tape...


The red bar tape did not have internal plugs. Rather, the externa Gaslo plugs made it seem more appropriate to wrap from the end of the bar to the center. There was no practical way to insert the tabs into the bars, as can be seen "as found"...


Had I gone top down, the black electrical tape would have, in my mind, looked to be miserably out of place at the bar ends and would have telegraphed the tabs on the Gaslo caps...
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Old 12-26-21, 11:59 AM
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I ran the black plastic Hunt Wilde bar tape (or, something equally "pro") that came on my late 70's Schwinn, aka "most ridden" hooptie bike" until I had to eventually replace it because it had numerous edge breaks in it, and it looked and felt like it might asplode at any moment, or on any outing. I had even rewrapped the bottom half, below the brake lever, with slightly newer, scavenged tape, tape, which meant I squeezed another year or two of riding out of the wrapping. "Is it great tape?"... "no". But there was a very satisfying self pride thing happening, knowing that I'd worn the tape "smooth" in most used hand positions. I'd say there was an equal amount of gross sloughed hand skin, dried sweat, leavings as experienced with what could be found under decade old cloth bar tape, so I think that consideration aspect is a coin toss. Whatever is found under old bar tape, no matter what the original composition of said bar tape, it's a given that it's going to be 113% grossness. So, take this as a contrarian view, based more on a personal stubbornness, wabi-sabi mindset to a fault, planet savior agenda sorta person, that is diametrically opposed to any aesthetics considerations other viewpoints have offered.
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Old 12-26-21, 03:27 PM
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I am leaning heavily towards keeping the old tape. It seems in keeping with the general patina of the frame.
Thank you to everyone for all of your differing insights, your opinions were extremely helpful.
I used T-Cut to clean the paint and it got a lot of the grime and discolouration off but I didnít want to push it through fear of reaching the primer. It looks good I think. All except for the foil decals. I think they are a terrible idea and very unsightly.


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