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Lurking under the 4 layers of handlebar tape...

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Lurking under the 4 layers of handlebar tape...

Old 12-02-22, 05:42 PM
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Lurking under the 4 layers of handlebar tape...

Getting started on refurbishing a circa mid 1980s Tom Teesdale tandem. The captain's handlebars (Specialized made by Nitto) had some grotty cork tape that was pretty thick, so I started removing it. Turns out there were two layers of cork tape over two layers of cloth tape... I'm pretty sure that the bottom layer was the original. The bike as a whole does not have much in the way of corrosion, but these bars did not like having sweat and moisture locked in by all that tape for all of those years. Here are two spots where the bar is corroded at least halfway through. There's another as well. These bars are now going in the recycling bin -- I'm glad I did not stop at the cloth tape (the top layer of cloth looks pretty good and I briefly considered stopping there). I told the stoker and she made me promise I would check everything very carefully -- a promise I gladly made (I intended to do so anyway, but now she's blessed my spending hours in the basement "safety checking" this winter!).

Last edited by JulesCW; 12-02-22 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 12-02-22, 07:37 PM
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Could'ave been briefly exciting
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Old 12-02-22, 07:58 PM
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hmmm.... that reminds me that I've had the same tape on my Olmo for 20 years.

it's a good argument for using cloth tape that wears out after a handful of years of use.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 12-02-22, 08:10 PM
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Had a similar situation with a Cinelli bar that had stitched-on leather covers.

Check those bars, folks. Many believe that aluminum = corrosion/oxidation proof.
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Old 12-02-22, 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted by BFisher View Post

Check those bars, folks. Many believe that aluminum = corrosion/oxidation proof.
Maybe on a planet in la la land.
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Old 12-02-22, 11:59 PM
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Yep, seen this before, fairly frequently too.

Bars of unknown past? Unwrap them and check before use whenever possible.

Also examine stems with a FINE TOOTH comb. Seems as if every mildly exotic stem that isn't a basic SR ends up cracking, and it doesn't have to be AVA or French to do so either.

Cinelli 1E:

3TTT, unknown model (to me, anyway. Too lazy to Velobase it right now):


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Old 12-03-22, 03:15 AM
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Yea, I use cloth tape and so it gets replaced now and then. I just did my Mondia and wiped them down with brake cleaner to get the goo off. After 50 years, the 3ttt bars were still pretty good. I think some bars are anodized to start with and that helps. I have ridden the heck out of this bike, never in the rain and I donít have sweaty hands. Still good to check. I never even thought about stuff like that until I saw a couple of threads on this forum of stuff like this, it happens. Better to catch it before it actually fails, that would ruin a ride! Better to have a bad day on the stand than a bad day on a ride.
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Old 12-03-22, 12:36 PM
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That rusted Cinelli 1E socket-head nut looks like the type meant for use with a reflector bracket, so without such bracket in place the bolt's taper gets pressed too far into the hole and essentially wedges it to the point of splitting/failure. Seen this on a few such stems (the tell is that the head of the nut won't quite bottom against the clamp casting).

Those entire stems should have been recalled, due to their un-intuitive need for the reflector bracket to remain in place on the (usually) race bikes that they were fitted to. But it was entirely the nut's knurl taper size that created the problem.

I had a creak develop on my 1981 Bianchi's TTT stem/bar some months ago, so thought that I would loosen the clamp bolt and apply installation compound (grit grease) to the bar before sliding it back on center and tightening the clamp bolt.
The clamp bolt literally broke as I loosened it(!), and with not much torque required! That bolt had already partially fractured and was well on it's way to complete failure.
Whew(!), I ride this bike at well over 40mph on some of our local descents.

I EZ-outed the remains of the bolt's stud after drilling a tiny 5/64ths hole, and extracted the bit of stud with, again, little torque required.
The headed bolt end shows the crack had progressed about half way across the cross-section of the threaded stud of the bolt, and showed effects of lengthy exposure to the air. Photo isn't very good at showing this but the grain and color told the story. The stud end also isn't actually cupped as the photo suggests, and shows scratches from trying to get the drill bit to center:

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Old 12-03-22, 12:44 PM
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Rats!!! Little things like this just scare the hell outta me...
No matter where your at... There you are... Δf:=f(1/2)-f(-1/2)
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Old 12-03-22, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by zandoval View Post
Rats!!! Little things like this just scare the hell outta me...
I often start to think about these things when I'm flying downhill at 40+ mph...
If someone tells you that you have enough bicycles and you don't need any more, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
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Old 12-03-22, 01:11 PM
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I had a Cinelli stem ( I want to say 1A) that had a notch in it and a tab on the bolt, so the bolt didn't spin when tightening. The pervious owner put the bolt in but didn't get the tab to match up with the notch. Yep, that stem cracked.

Those bars are scary.

I have a friend who was riding his '50s Frejus with original steel bars. He stops for a call of nature and when he was getting back on the bike, the bars just snapped. No warning, no tell-tale signs.
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Old 12-03-22, 01:16 PM
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The is the best argument for stripping any old bike you acquire down as far as possible before building it back up, regardless of how good it looks. And it's FUN!!!!
"Don't take life so serious-it ain't nohow permanent."

"Everybody's gotta be somewhere." - Eccles
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