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Velo Orange Elkhide or Cloth Tape + Shellac ?

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Velo Orange Elkhide or Cloth Tape + Shellac ?

Old 06-15-09, 11:55 PM
  #1  
KevRC4130
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Velo Orange Elkhide or Cloth Tape + Shellac ?

Hey guys,
I'm trying to find bartape to match a Brooks Honey saddle. I [think] I have narrowed my options down to two different approaches:

1) Velo-Orange Elkhide Sewn-On bar covers (total cost: $34)
2) Velox Tressostar Cloth Tape + Shellac (total cost $15-20)

While cost is not a huge issue, obviously cheaper is better. My other concern with the Elkhide is that I'm not terribly confident with the installation. I think the stitching seems easy enough, but I do not like the idea of having to cut my own holes for the brake levers. The fact that I'm using Campagnolo brifters with cables-under-the-tape adds to this discomfort.

I've also read some mixed reviews of the Elkhide, and leather tape in general. Will the elkhide twist, or even separate from the stitching?

Truthfully, I think I really want the cloth + shellac. It looks better to me, and is cheaper. I just am worried that the tape will be very hard and slick... I don't ever wear gloves. I'm not 100% sold on the looks of the Elkhide, but I do have a weird fantasy of beautifully worn leather looking like a well-loved baseball glove (does the Elkhide ever actually look like this, or am I being delusional?). The Elkhide is just so pimp and classy.

This is not a bike I'm going to baby. It's going to get wet and abused. Will the Elkhide look better with this abuse, or shabby in just a few months?

Right now, I'm running Cinelli cork tape. I like it quite a lot. If I was going to go the cloth tape route, I think I would keep the current tape on underneith. The cloth would be only for looks. Would I lose much comfort of the cork?

So, considering my circumstances: brifters, gloveless riding, somewhat on a budget, not super confident about installation, matching a Brooks honey saddle... What do you think?

Thanks!
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Old 06-16-09, 04:39 AM
  #2  
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Given proper maintenance I'd venture to say that the VO stuff will last longer. Largely because if you have to do any cable or shifter maintenance you'll have to cut the shellac'd tape off and redo it. While the VO tape you could just unstitch and restitch when done.
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Old 06-16-09, 06:19 AM
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Try sending VO a PM and ask if they have any "seconds" left. I purchased two packages of "seconds" from them at le Cirque a couple weekends ago for $10.00 a package. I saw nothing that concerned me when I opened the packages. Haven't installed yet though.
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Old 06-16-09, 06:45 AM
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I've tried to match a honey Brooks with "natural" cork tape (I've bought some from Nashbar and from RivBike) and three or four coats of amber shellac. The bars are close and will hopefully darken over time.



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Old 06-16-09, 07:04 AM
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I've used VO elkhide twice now and I've been impressed both times. I hear there can be twisting, but I installed a roll of cloth tape underneath (spiraled it, not a full wrap) and the elkhide is rock solid and won't be moving anywhere. I tried to twist it as hard as I could and it's a no go.

VO Elkhide also matches up pretty closely with honey saddles after some proofide.
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Old 06-16-09, 08:45 AM
  #6  
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I've done both. The elk skin is very nice. The cloth tape is hard when coated with shellac but not slippery. Both look great. To match my Brooks Honey saddle I took a third approach. I installed natural color cork, stained it to match, then used shellac. It looks great but isn't very durable.
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Old 08-16-09, 06:23 PM
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I'm curious, what did you end up choosing? I'm also deciding between the 2. Although I have a brown B17N I'm trying to match.

Originally Posted by Tigerprawn View Post
I've used VO elkhide twice now and I've been impressed both times. I hear there can be twisting, but I installed a roll of cloth tape underneath (spiraled it, not a full wrap) and the elkhide is rock solid and won't be moving anywhere. I tried to twist it as hard as I could and it's a no go.

VO Elkhide also matches up pretty closely with honey saddles after some proofide.
By spiraled do you mean leaving gaps or just not overlapping? How many rolls of cloth did you use? How is the thickness/softness of the elkhide? I'm also considering just leather wrap but the elkhide may look nicer for the vintage look I'm going for.
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Old 08-18-09, 08:40 AM
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Yup, I just spiraled it leaving gaps. I made both sides symmetrical. However, this does leave markings/fades in those areas after use. I'll take a few pictures later on today to show the bars after months of use.

As for the thickness/softness I find the VO stuff to be amazingly comfortable. Not overly thick and just the right softness.
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Old 08-18-09, 10:06 AM
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i say it comes down to weather and whether: if you think you might ever get caught in the rain, I'd avoid the elkhide and go with cotton and shellac. Elkhide is very long-wearing and both soft AND strong, but not if you soak it. Both can be dyed, but there's more available for cotton than leather dyes, not really too much concern if you're trying to match a brown color, but dying elkhide say, violet, might be hard.
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Old 08-18-09, 10:32 AM
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The elkhide has never been a problem for me I will tell you that it will get a lot darker as it gets older and especially where you place your hands the most. I like it cause its pretty cushy. I originally used Proofide on it and it matched my Brooks Honey B-17 perfectly, now they don't match as well as each has aged a bit differently but its natural wear and aging and thats what I was after
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Old 08-18-09, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
Elkhide is very long-wearing and both soft AND strong, but not if you soak it.
That would rule it out for me. I think it rains every second time I'm on the bike.
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Old 08-18-09, 06:10 PM
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I did cloth and shellac for durability. I ride with gloves so it has been good but it is way way different than the cork on my other bike. Even in the way the bar feels very skinny.

It has held up very well and darkened a bit from dirt and such. Here is a photo from when I did it, white tape and clear 3 coats of clear shellac.


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Old 08-18-09, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Tigerprawn View Post
Yup, I just spiraled it leaving gaps. I made both sides symmetrical. However, this does leave markings/fades in those areas after use. I'll take a few pictures later on today to show the bars after months of use.

As for the thickness/softness I find the VO stuff to be amazingly comfortable. Not overly thick and just the right softness.
Does leaving gaps cause unevenness after you wrap the elkhide over the cloth? Looks like I'm leaning towards elkhide now since it doesn't really rain in socal and from all the good things people are saying about it.
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Old 08-18-09, 09:44 PM
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hi,dont have a closeup of these one piece stitched wraps but thay take up much less material than spiral wrapping and are easy to stitch once the holes are done.I bought a nice piece of leather fron Tandy leather for about $10 from their cutoff bin.there is enough leather for about 5 bikes.you just need strips about 18 inches long plus the outside width going around the bar.I then layed out holes 1/4 in apart on the edge of each strip and drilled small holes with a dremmel tool.pulled them snug and laced them with a wax coated type string.Could send you closeups if you need.
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Old 08-18-09, 09:54 PM
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I personally like the VO Elkhide. Mine's been on about 8 months, and has aged nicely. It's never been wet other than from sweat, but I can say there's no need to worry about twisting.
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Old 08-18-09, 09:58 PM
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I love my VO elkhide, wish they still had white for a bike i'm putting together now. Mine's gotten wet quite a bit and I don't have any twisting or stretching problems. It's like a baseball glove - it can get wet, just treat it with care. I use neatsfoot oil (for both).
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Old 08-18-09, 11:15 PM
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Did you guys also use any cloth under or just straight elkhide? The only thing I'm worried about is twisting since I tend to twist/grip hard on occasion.
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Old 08-19-09, 07:20 AM
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I'll try to take some pictures today. I was worried about the twisting too, but I think the cloth helps a lot with this. I've tried twisting as hard as I possibly could and it's not going anywhere.
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Old 08-19-09, 07:31 AM
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I didn't have any problems with twisting with the Elkhide, the adhesive strip on the inside of it was good enough.

I've had mine on since April or May and I am very happy with the way its aged. I'll post a pic shortly
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Old 08-19-09, 02:11 PM
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I've never tried the shellac method, but think it looks good. What is the tactile feel? Is it sticky, soft, etc? Also, I need to get over the fact that shellac is basically beetle sh*t.
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Old 08-19-09, 02:26 PM
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Caveat - I have no personal experience with Elkhide aside from seeing pictures.

Aesthetically (especially for vintage bikes), I usually favor shellac and cloth due to the classy period-correct look and durability. That said, for a bike with Campy Ergo, the durability is negated due to unwrapping for cable swaps, and period-correctness is also not a concern, so to me it's a bit of a wash.

The clinching factor would be, how does the elkhide hold up to unlacing and re-lacing for cable swaps? It would seem to be a waste to me if you end having to replace it more often, because the best reason for using leather products in my opinion (for resource-use/waste reasons) is their durability.
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Old 08-19-09, 02:34 PM
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Sounds like if you have a shiny seat, then you want shiny handlebar tape to match. Don't think cloth tape would fall apart unless your taking sandpaper to it. I'd like to know which bikes came with shellac originally.
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Old 08-19-09, 03:56 PM
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I have heard only positive reviews from this new tape:

http://www.handlebra.com/

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Old 08-19-09, 04:20 PM
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I was just down at the bike shop and they had a Raleigh sojourn with the brooks leather bar tape. It was hard as a rock. Maybe it need proofide like their seats.
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Old 08-20-09, 01:42 AM
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Yeah, I wanted brooks tape to match my seat but I prefer cushy wrap.
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