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Handlebar padding

Old 04-11-11, 11:05 AM
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oldacura
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Handlebar padding

Has anyone tried some of that handlebar padding that goes underneath the bar tape on drop bars? I don't recall the brands I've seen at this time.

If you've tried it - how do you like it?
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Old 04-11-11, 03:10 PM
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Funny you should ask...

I just replaced my tried and true Cinelli cork tape with the Fi'zik Microtex and Gel kit yesterday afternoon, but haven't ridden with it yet. I also replaced Debbie's bar tape with just the fizik tape... no padding (she wears gloves, I dont'). From the standpoint of working with the tape and gel, the gel strips need to be carefully trimmed to conform to your bars, brake hoods and any under bar cables and wrapping the tape takes a little more care than Cinelli cork tape. It's a stronger material that doesn't seem to lay down as smoothly as the cork and the adhesive strip is more or less tacky, not adhesive. It will be interesting to see if the edges curl and/or if any "smilies" open up around the bends.

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Old 04-11-11, 05:25 PM
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I have it on all three of my bikes and have used it for a few years and don't remember a handlebar without it. The padding has not been a problem slipping or with the tape. My stoker/wife used the padding with two rolls of tape. This provides more cushioning and makes the bar larger in diameter. An orthopedic doc told said a larger diameter handlebar would be better for her tennis elbow.
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Old 04-11-11, 08:35 PM
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I don't have the foam padding, but discovered that if I wrap a couple layers of tape on my bars, it works wonders! I like a big fat handlebar since I spend so many hours on the bike so I have something like five layers! After 2, it takes two sets of tape to make one layer.
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Old 04-12-11, 07:26 AM
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I think there is a brand sold by Performance called Aztec (?). Was wondering if anyone has tried that.
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Old 04-12-11, 09:39 AM
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I have use "Bar Phat" from Specialized on both tandem and single. Love it.
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Old 04-14-11, 10:22 PM
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We are confortable with tape and gloves . . .
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Old 04-15-11, 06:23 AM
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Have tried a couple of kinds, and since I'm an old timer have tried a lot of other things too.
Like making my own padding out of:
- Another roll of padded h'bar tape, cut to fit in the necessary places
- Old inner tubes, cut into strips and wrapped like a second layer
- Old tires- cut the bead off, cut and fit in the necessary places
- Leather from the craft shop, mostly surrounding the bar and held with tape.

For me, nothing, (and I do mean nothing!), has worked as well as the change to wing bars.
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Old 04-18-11, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Onegun View Post
Have tried a couple of kinds, and since I'm an old timer have tried a lot of other things too.
Like making my own padding out of:
- Another roll of padded h'bar tape, cut to fit in the necessary places
- Old inner tubes, cut into strips and wrapped like a second layer
- Old tires- cut the bead off, cut and fit in the necessary places
- Leather from the craft shop, mostly surrounding the bar and held with tape.

For me, nothing, (and I do mean nothing!), has worked as well as the change to wing bars.
I've been wondering about those bars with a flattened top. Are those what you mean by "wing bars"? Are they drop bars or bull-horns? Alum or CF?
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Old 04-18-11, 10:47 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by wheelspeed View Post
I've been wondering about those bars with a flattened top. Are those what you mean by "wing bars"? Are they drop bars or bull-horns? Alum or CF?
Yes, the flat top bars, and for me, drop bars in aluminum. (Don't want to get that argument started though ... aluminum vs carbon appears to be a theological debate.)

Brand doesn't seem to matter much, as I've used several now. However, if you're a bigger rider and/or need more width for a tandem, (as I do), IRD is the only one I know who sells wing bars in 46cm.

They, (and my ever-present gloves, any flavor), have been the answer for me. YMMV
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2005 Trek T2000 tandem, Giant TCR, Eddie Merckx Majestic Ti, Fuji Team, Giant Revel 29er, Windsor Clockwork (Orange) fixie, and a BikTrix Juggernaut Ultra 1000 fat tire eBike
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Old 04-18-11, 11:32 AM
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I like thin tape so love Fizik tape with no padding. With padded tape I have a tendency to grip harder on the bars. I think it is some sort of instinctive reflex. With no tape I feel the firm bar and can maintain a gentle grip on long rides.

We run a little wider tires at a little lower pressure and that seems to handle cushioning my hands as well as everything else much better.

I have had no problem with gaps opening with Fizik tape.

Wayne
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Old 04-18-11, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
Funny you should ask... I just replaced my tried and true Cinelli cork tape with the Fi'zik Microtex and Gel kit yesterday afternoon, but haven't ridden with it yet.
Nice stuff... We did two rides this past weekend and, remembering that I don't wear gloves, the Fi'zik Microtex and Gel was really quite nice but also unassuming. In other words, even with the E3 composite 'wing' bar it didn't feel like there was much difference in the girth of the bars vs. how it felt with the Cinelli cork tape. The tape felt great against my bare hands and seems to be staying put. So, at least at the first 100 mile check point, I'd give it a thumbs up for first impressions. I don't think Debbie even noticed that she had new bar tape, noting that I didn't put the gel on her bars since she uses gloves with nicely padded palms.
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Old 04-18-11, 01:24 PM
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I talked to a clerk at a local Performance Bike shop. They do have the Fizik kit. He said that his experience was that he liked the gel padding but thought that the Fizik bar tape provided was too flimsy. He found that the only way to make the tape last was to wrap it really tight and keep it clean. Somehow, this extended the life of the tape (?).

I've used Cinelli padded tape in the past and found that they really skimp on the amount they give you. If I wrap with about 1/3 overlap, I sometimes run out of tape before I get to the center of the bar. So I have to unwrap, pull tighter and try to overlap just a bit less. I would think the padding would make this worse. Some other brands seem to give you more tape. I don't know why Cinelli (for instance) skimps on the amount of tape they supply. It can't cost them much of anything. Better to have a bit more to cut off and discard than to not have enough.
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Old 04-19-11, 06:34 PM
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The best solution I have found is "bar phat". Hold the phat in place with real electrical friction tape and wrap with Bontrager gel tape. Nice! The Bontrager tape is just tacky - no double side adhesive tape, so the wrap has to be tight. Another advantage is that if you want to change the brake position the tape comes off without tearing.
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Old 11-12-11, 03:32 PM
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Well, I found some affordable Chinese no-name-brand carbon fiber handle bars that looked good on Ebay, so I picked them up. The had all the ergo, flattened top and drop, and flattened hood transition, etc., and were only about $70. Then, I used the Specialized Bar Phat system. In general, miss stoker seems to complain less about her hands falling asleep.

However, two points of interest:
- She may just be accepting some hand numbness during the beginning of the season or even throughout the season. I don't know, and am a little afraid to ask.
- Yet another note to be careful of buying these things from Chinese companies on Ebay... I wanted a "compact" bar, that had the drop horizontal to the ground when the top bend+hood was horizontal to the ground. The site had a picture that made it appear that way, but actually it's only about a 120 degree bend. So, when the top+hood is comforotable, the tail-end of the drop is at an angle compared to the ground. Just, be careful.

All in all, we're happy with the bar. The 31.8 dia. is a big improvement to the old 25.4mm Bontrager CX bar, which maintained it's thin tubing diameter throughout the bar, adding more pressure to the hand. This fatter bar spreads out the load a bit. I can't really comment on any dampening effect of the CF except that she doesn't complain any more. If she had pain there, I think I'd hear about it; at least casually.

So, to me, +1 for going from a 25.4 to a 31.8 and to a shape bar and also a non-negative 1 to CF. That is, no compaints of the CF. (Don't know if CF contributes to comfort in this case but certainly no complaints.)
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Old 11-12-11, 10:49 PM
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How long are your fingers?

My fingers are long and without extra padding they wrap around and touch my palm. To get a good tight grip I need foam padding under the tape to make the bar thicker.
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Old 11-13-11, 02:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Onegun View Post
...
- Old inner tubes, cut into strips and wrapped like a second layer
- Old tires- cut the bead off, cut and fit in the necessary places
....
HMMmmm I think I may experiment with these, not for myself so much, I have sort of MTB wide riser bars up front with bar end grips that suit me fine.... But stoker has had carpal tunnel procedure on one hand and the other under review so we like to get things super comfy back there..... She has straights with a "wavey M" bar over the top, but wants to change to something more along the lines of wings, but with ergonomic aspects (hard to describe!). Something we have experimented with is actually (mis?)using velcro suspension protector tubular covers with some padding inside to wrap and make super wide/super soft "grip zones" which can be adjusted during breaks in longer rides.... Lately stoker has been talking about having me try taping over those, which I highly doubt I could make hold, but your ideas give me further scope - thankee!

Last edited by Mainframeguy; 11-13-11 at 02:45 AM. Reason: bar descriptions and typo
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Old 11-13-11, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Mainframeguy View Post
.... Lately stoker has been talking about having me try taping over those, which I highly doubt I could make hold, but your ideas give me further scope - thankee!
Not my ideas, Mainframeguy. (Frankly, I doubt that any of us has more than one or two original ideas in our entire lives!) In this case, just stuff I learned from old touring cyclists in the early 70's. Back then, there was only thin plastic tape, or thin cloth tape. If you wanted padding, you had to come up with something yourself!
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Old 11-13-11, 11:40 AM
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FWIW I switched from Al to CF bars on the tandem and it did make a difference on chip seal. I spend most of my time on the hoods so even though I have wing bars I don't really use the flats and don't generally have a problem with hand position, but certain types of chip seal were causing my hands to go numb. The CF bars have really helped. No complaints from my stoker, something about the cushy ride of a steel tandem
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