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Brooks leather bar tape...

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Brooks leather bar tape...

Old 07-21-07, 10:31 PM
  #1  
Jacobi
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Brooks leather bar tape...

Has anyone ever used the Brooks leather bar tape? I'm seriously considering it after getting the Brooks B17 champion special (honey) and the challenge bag (also honey). I don't want to get it if it doesn't feel comfortable, but if it feels great and lasts awhile, then I'm all over it.

-Barry-
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Old 07-22-07, 12:06 AM
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I tried it & I like it, see pic. It doesn't have as much cushion as cork tape but is softer than cotton tape. It has ridges where the tape overlaps that makes it fit your fingers.

Somebody in another thread suggested buying a thrift store leather coat for cheap & cutting it up into strips to make your own leather bar wrap. Might work, but I haven't seen any examples. There is also the elk hide wrap available from Velo Orange, looks super but has to be sewn on. Don
https://www.velo-orange.com/hacoandta.html
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Old 07-22-07, 12:12 AM
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I tried it, and it faded almost to white nearly immediately. Then it went towards black where my hands hit it. All in all, I was not impressed. It was about 24 hours before I proofhided it, but within 3 days the color was gone.

Obviously from ollo ollo's pics, your results might vary. With how expensive the stuff is, it's not a gamble that I'm willing to take again. Especially since I know of a few other people that have had the same results I did.
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Old 07-22-07, 12:42 AM
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Fujitoshi leather bar tape (comes in brown/honey colored or black) for $45.00USD.



Do a google search...plenty of people have tried both (Brooks or Fujitoshi) and have their personal experiences with them in rain, sun, sweat, etc. Steering wheel wrap isn't too bad (synthetic or leather) and some of those can be stitched like old school.
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Old 07-22-07, 04:24 AM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by HereNT View Post
I tried it, and it faded almost to white nearly immediately. Then it went towards black where my hands hit it. All in all, I was not impressed. It was about 24 hours before I proofhided it, but within 3 days the color was gone. . . .
I didn't have this problem, but I use cycling gloves. ollo_ollo is right-it's not quite as cushy as gel tape, but it still feels good.

As to cost, I got mine as a gift, but after nearly a year's use (including rain, snow and ice), the tape still looks and feels new. I would have had to replace cork tape by now. So it could end up lasting long enough to make it cost efficient.

ollo_ollo also has a good point about trying to make your own leather tape. I'm sure you could do it a lot cheaper if you bought the raw materials and cut it in strips. The tricky part would be connecting the strips to get one long enough for the job.
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Old 07-22-07, 06:29 AM
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What a great luxury! If you can afford leather bar tape, go for it! I wouldn't worry too much about the color changes - that's all part of using a natural material like leather. I have heard of some folks spraying clearcoat on their bar tape to keep it clean if that is important to you.

I read with interest the comment by Ollo_Ollo that leather bar tape isn't as spongy as cork/foam tape. You can add softness to your bar wrapping by laying down a layer or two of old cork/foam tape on top of the bars and then wrapping your leather tape over that.

I say if you can buy leather tape without wincing at the price or crying when you scuff it, then do it. How cool!
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Old 07-22-07, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Daily Commute View Post
The tricky part would be connecting the strips to get one long enough for the job.
You could probably use two strips per side. one for below the hoods, one above.
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Old 07-22-07, 08:50 AM
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I put the Velo Orange on my old Schwinn Super Sport. I have rode it to work a few times. It feels good. Not as soft as the synthetic cork, But man, it looks classy!
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Old 07-22-07, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Daily Commute View Post

ollo_ollo also has a good point about trying to make your own leather tape. I'm sure you could do it a lot cheaper if you bought the raw materials and cut it in strips. The tricky part would be connecting the strips to get one long enough for the job.
Problem solved: just cut the strips like they do when they make leather shoelaces. Cut the flat piece of leather in a spiral to get a single long piece of leather.
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Old 07-22-07, 01:25 PM
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Even with Proofide, would Brooks tape hold up to a Seattle winter of commuting? For the $60 price tag, that's not an experiment I'm willing to try. I love my B-17, and I'll put another one on my PDG when it's here, but both my barends on my commuter and my bars on the PDG are getting Nashbar house-brand foam tape.
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Old 07-22-07, 03:20 PM
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Hi there...
I got the honey colored bar tape and DO NOT recommend. yes it's plush and yes it looks good out of the box...but after a few days it will look like dead zombie flesh...maybe the black and the antique brown wear differently, but the light brown colored tape does not age well...if you want the nice honey colored look, i strongly suggest getting natural colored cinelli tape and shellacing it with amber shellac and a finish with hemp twine....

you can control how dark you want it and how smooth you want the finish by the number of coats...it also keeps the tape looking clean...i have a post about it on my blog here:

https://russroca.blogspot.com/2007/06...-dead-cow.html
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Old 07-23-07, 07:24 AM
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Suggestion -- natural colored cork tape. Easy to find for about $10 a set, very cushiony, long lasting, and easy to keep clean. Matches Brooks honey saddle reasonably well, that is, close enough. Soma Fabrications also makes a mocha-colored bar tape.
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Old 07-23-07, 07:46 AM
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I paid $40 & ordered "Brown", which is how box was labeled but it looked more like Cordovan & matched the Maroon Brooks well. It stands up to our NW maritime climate & I haven't put Proofide on mine, just a few coats of a leather care product I got from a Saddlery shop. It is heavy in Beeswax & the rain beads up without discoloring the leather. Don
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Old 07-23-07, 09:56 AM
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Brooks tape is <$50 at Lickbike.com
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Old 07-23-07, 10:12 AM
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Overpriced.....I wouldn't bother.
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Old 07-23-07, 10:37 AM
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Brown:


Honey:


I like it better than any of the cork tape I've had before. The tape on the Bianchi has about 1000 miles on it, the Fuji tape about 500+. I haven't applied any proofide and I often ride gloveless as well.
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Old 07-23-07, 02:02 PM
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There is a site called www.velo-orange.com that has elkhide bar wrap that looks really cool for much cheaper than the Brooks. I am going to try some once I make a final decision on wich handlebars I'm going to run.
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Old 07-23-07, 06:18 PM
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Boy, I have to say that the leather bar tape sure looks smart!

I don't have the budget to spend $40.00 on bar tape, so I am tempted to use some automobile leatherette steering wheel wrap on one of my old machines to see how she looks.
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Old 07-23-07, 08:01 PM
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Just coat yellow cotton tape with amber shellac. It looks similar (a bit better if you ax me), you can get it to match a Brooks, and it's way more durable and cheaper. And it won't turn into rotten zombie flesh.




I use shellaced yellow hockey tape on my bike. Alone hockey tape is terrible, but with shellac over top it's beautiful and it has a mindboggling functionality to cheapness ratio. It's literally 70 times cheaper than brooks tape.

Last edited by mander; 07-23-07 at 08:07 PM.
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Old 07-27-07, 09:03 PM
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Well, I just ordered my Brooks Honey bar tape from lickbike.com, we'll see how it looks later next week. I've never put tape on myself, should I just take it to my LBS and have them do this one, or give it a shot myself?
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Old 07-27-07, 11:10 PM
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^^^^
Do it yourself. Not that leather bar tape can't be unrolled, but you may want to go down to the LBS and pick up a roll of the cheapest bar tape they've got and have a practice run.
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Old 07-28-07, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Jacobi View Post
Well, I just ordered my Brooks Honey bar tape from lickbike.com, we'll see how it looks later next week. I've never put tape on myself, should I just take it to my LBS and have them do this one, or give it a shot myself?
You can hardly goof up wrapping bar tape. Go online for instructions or private message me on the forums and I will scan some instructions for you.

If you goof, you can rewrap. It's not a big deal. In fact, you might find that your first wrap job is a little loose and requires you to re-wrap several months later. Again, no big deal.

There are a couple of variations of wrapping out there. I would suggest that you start at the end of the bars and work toward the middle. It requires some kind of tape at the middle which isn't very cool. Maybe with leather, you can use contact cement OR make your own leather tape with some spare leather and contact cement.

good luck.
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Old 07-28-07, 09:23 AM
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I've been using the antique brown tape for four or five months now. It is not as cushy as cork tape, but I find it more comfortable on longer rides and I don't wear gloves. It definitely fades, so if that bothers you then this is probably not something you should spend $60 on. I took a few pictures a minute ago, and in a couple of them you can really see the difference in the top part of the bar (which I use constantly) and the drops (which I almost never use). In most light it really doesn't look as faded as it does in these pictures, but here it is in the most revealing light:





Sometimes it also has a weird sticky feel to it. It's not actually sticky, and I'm not even sure how to describe it. It's strange. Overall I like it. But it's not for everyone, that's for sure.
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Old 07-28-07, 03:46 PM
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Pretty snappy, Lamplight!
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Old 07-29-07, 10:29 AM
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I've been thinking I may experiment a bit... my parents run a historical costuming business and do a lot of leatherwork. I can probably get my hands on a variety of leather scraps, including moosehide. Will report back...

(I'm trying to convince Mom to branch out into bike bags and such. She makes beautiful canvas and leather bags for the re-enactors).
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