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1950's Handlebar tapes

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1950's Handlebar tapes

Old 07-10-24, 05:56 AM
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1950's Handlebar tapes

Hi all.
Currently finishing off a rebuild of my 1951 Armstrong Moth Brithish Lightweight and considering the finer details. Im trying to put the bike back to as near original spec as possible. What would the handle bar tapes be made from? Would they have had a pre-war cloth tape, possibly with shellac or a more modern padded PVC 'type' material.
Thanks
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Old 07-10-24, 06:26 AM
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I've only found cloth recommended for vintage bars pre 1975.
https://lecycleur.com/style/the-righ...ntage-bicycle/

These days that means
.
Newbaums (American)
10' long x 3/4" (19mm) width
Velox Tressorex (French)
2.5m long (8.2') x 20mm width
Velox Tressostar 90 Cotton Handlebar Tape (French)
2.6m long x 20mm width, adhesive backing
.
I used Velox Tressosrex.
Went on really easily, getting a bit grubby after 1k miles, but that's expected and looks fine.




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Old 07-10-24, 06:30 AM
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Interesting question. I was a kid in the 50's and am not sure I remember tape showing up until the 60's. Sorta recall the very rare drop bars having rubber grips below the brakes, just like all the upright bars . I would be very surprised to see modern type tape. I doubt you could go wrong with cloth which I still use but only on short rides.
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Old 07-10-24, 07:24 AM
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You might want to google some photos. I have a '58 Claud Butler Jubilee I need to rebuild and I know I'll use tape.
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Old 07-10-24, 07:47 AM
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Does it have to be finished with a wine cork?
In my experience, wine corks are just a bit too large in diameter. Should it be made to size?
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Old 07-10-24, 08:08 AM
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In this 1950 Armstrong catalog, looks like all handlebars have half grips rather than full tape:

https://threespeedhub.com/wp-content...og-UK-1950.pdf
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Old 07-10-24, 09:06 AM
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Oh wow. What a great document not seen that before.
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Old 07-10-24, 10:02 AM
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Any chance you have a 1951 catalog?
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Old 07-10-24, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by ArmstrongW
Any chance you have a 1951 catalog?
There are a couple of catalogs at that site I linked to. I'm not quite sure what year the other one is.
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Old 07-10-24, 10:05 AM
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Yep, new to me too.
A great selection of catalogues
https://threespeedhub.com/catalogues/
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Old 07-10-24, 10:24 AM
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-----

one Brit wrap which was used extensively on a great many cycles over the years was the GEM brand textured plastic wrap - it is similar to the Yank Hunt Wilde product

know it goes back at least to the late fifties but do not know a launch date for the product

each week on ebay there are some NOS examples for sale

offered in both adhesive and non-adhesive forms



-----
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Old 07-10-24, 10:26 AM
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From the 1951 Armstrong catalog:





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Old 07-10-24, 11:13 AM
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A lot of that is actually cloth tape wrapped just up to the brake levers. That was a common practice. Rubber grips ranging from palm sized to about 7" in length were commonplace in England before and just after the war but went out of style very quickly after around 1950 on racing bikes.

This photo is from the Olympic Trials at Headsgate in 1948. These guys have machines that are top of the line and very stylish for that time, already showing off the favored half-wrap of the cloth tape.


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Old 07-10-24, 11:18 AM
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These are various grips that were available in the 1952 Brown Brothers catalogue:




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Old 07-10-24, 01:29 PM
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I used the Google looking for images from 1950 TDF. There are pictures of fully wrapped bars.
My preference is basic white Velox.
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Old 07-10-24, 01:53 PM
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Both examples are wrapped top to bottom. Interesting. That is the way I remember the direction back in the '70's. Bar plugs finished them off.
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Old 07-10-24, 02:01 PM
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You can also use heat shrink.

Velox, wrapped top to bottom, heat shrink over last half inch, then plugs.


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Old 07-10-24, 03:22 PM
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Cloth tape is always the safest default to go to for mid 70's and older bikes.
Tue cello tapes came after that and stayed around till the mid 80's when padded vinyl tape took overr....then cork took over from then on.
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Old 07-10-24, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988
A lot of that is actually cloth tape wrapped just up to the brake levers. That was a common practice. Rubber grips ranging from palm sized to about 7" in length were commonplace in England before and just after the war but went out of style very quickly after around 1950 on racing bikes.

This photo is from the Olympic Trials at Headsgate in 1948. These guys have machines that are top of the line and very stylish for that time, already showing off the favored half-wrap of the cloth tape.
Like this?
1973 Brooks Pro on the 1959 Capo. Still serviceable, plan to put on a different bike. Campag. crankset shown

I subsequently switched to full tape, but I thought the half tape looked pretty cool and "age appropriate" for the bike.

I also remember the early 1970s Peugeot AO-8 (half tape, wingnuts, full paint fork) vs UO-8 (full tape, quick release hubs, half-chrome fork).
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Old 07-10-24, 09:39 PM
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I just saw some NOS Gaslo tape on a well known auction site.
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Old 07-10-24, 09:40 PM
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When I started riding in the mid sixties plastic tape was ubiquitous, at least among the folks I knew here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our bikes were middle-of-the-line models. I don't know what the racers with nicer bikes were using at that time. My first new bike, a 1970 PX-10, came with plastic tape. Cloth tape took over here sometime a little later in the seventies.

The San Francisco Bay Area, and probably Los Angeles, was a little different than much of the rest of the country in terms of availability of a variety of European "ten-speed" bikes. Some of the bikes owned by my group of friends were Geminiani, Puch Bergmeister, Vittoria, Peugeot, Louison Bobet, Legnano, Monark, and Carlton.
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Old 07-11-24, 06:29 AM
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The 1950 UK Armstrong catalogue bears-out what Kilroy1988 has said: "A lot of that is actually cloth tape wrapped just up to the brake levers." I'd send the catalogue to you, but PDF files are too big. The depiction of Moth Magnificent, when expanded, makes it clear that it is (cotton) tape and not hand-grips. Nevertheless, the taped sections go right up to the bottom of the brake lever body and no further. I think the plastic tape like Gem and Nujem came along a little bit later.
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Old 07-11-24, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by obrentharris
Cloth tape took over here sometime a little later in the seventies.
I think there was some over-lap (that's a bar-tape joke). Cotton tape died hard.
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Old 07-11-24, 07:01 AM
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Great thread and I learned a lot. As for my old bikes, I always use Tessotar or Cat Eye, which looks OK to me (not perfect restoration but none of my street restored bikes ever are)...



Of course, every now and again, something 100% original shows up and gets got right away (my next project - probably). Even had bar tape...





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Old 07-11-24, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by DanseMacabre
Does it have to be finished with a wine cork?
In my experience, wine corks are just a bit too large in diameter. Should it be made to size?
Wine corks come in a variety of sizes. Empty enough bottles and you’ll find a few that fit. Occasionally, you may have to tap them in if you tape top to bottom and the tape is thick. If they are hard to remove just get out a corkscrew..
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