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Bar tape for drop bars - high amount of padding?

Old 08-15-23, 04:34 AM
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Bar tape for drop bars - high amount of padding?

Do any of you have any thoughts on getting a lot of padding on drop bars?

When I got my bike in 2014 it had basic foam tape on the bars. I quickly had problems with it with my hands cramping up. So I got another batch of foam tape and double layered it. That is how I've rode the bike since and I've been OK, though I have mentioned in a lot of my posts on the subject of riding ergonomics in some way shape or fashion that I get circulation issues in my hands - more so when it is cold - that cause me some trouble. The best fix for that has been routinely moving my hands around the bars constantly.

The tape on my bars needs to be replaced. One corner/bend is cut all the way through to the metal. The question is what to replace it with? I want something thick and padded so my fingers aren't trying to wrap around a small diameter and I have a wider radius to distribute my hand pressure over.

From what I have seen so far the basic foam tape might still be the way to go, but it is thin so I'll need at least 2 layers - if not 3 this time to change it up. Or if I can salvage the stuff that is on there - maybe patch the cut area with some electric tape or something - then wrap a new layer over top? I just don't want to make the inside layers "hard" by layering electric tape there - that would counter act the whole idea of the padding and layers to get there.
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Old 08-15-23, 05:29 AM
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Not sure where you like your hands but check out the Redshift Cruise Control grip extensions. I use the upper bar extensions (and should have bought their extra long tape to go with them). Nice wide flat grip area. I also double wrap around the brifters (with old tape) to make that area bigger. I generally use the Fizik Performance 3mm tape, which is excellent, but a bit short for wrapping around these big wide grips
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Old 08-15-23, 05:38 AM
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I have limited input on this but I will say this: don't buy the Salsa bar tape if you want padding. I was led to believe it was comparable to Kona bar tape but having just rewrapped my Sutra last week, I actually miss the Kona stuff that was on it...

BT, those grip extensions are pretty neat. Think I'm gonna try that whenever I get around to rewrapping.
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Old 08-15-23, 05:47 AM
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After years of pretty much using the cheapest bar tape (since I always wear gloves) my Trek road bike came with Bontrager Double Gel Cork tape and I loved it. It is a bit more tricky to put on without it being all lumpy but very plush feel.

The Jamis Renegade I use for gravel and touring came with EVA bar tape, I think by Velo, that is a close second and about half the price of the Bontrager tape.
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Old 08-15-23, 05:50 AM
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I’m not sure where you buy it because I’ve never bought it. But I have removed strips of gel that you put on the bars under the tape. Seems like it would be very comfortable.
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Old 08-15-23, 05:57 AM
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Originally Posted by sloar
I’m not sure where you buy it because I’ve never bought it. But I have removed strips of gel that you put on the bars under the tape. Seems like it would be very comfortable.
Bontrager Isozone pads, plus many copycat mfgs.
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Old 08-15-23, 06:02 AM
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I double wrap all of my dropbars. Cinelli cork foam underneath, and whatever you want (including another layer of Cinelli) on top of that. Two layers of Cinelli is very cushy.
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Old 08-15-23, 06:04 AM
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I put those grip extensions that BTinNYC posted on my CruX. They are great, and I intend on putting them on other bikes. You do need a long roll of tape to cover them.

Also, I like to pre-tape my bars with 3M Splice Tape. It adds comfort without a lot of additional diameter (bulk). You can overlap it if you prefer thicker, or wrap it so the edges meet to keep it thin.

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Old 08-15-23, 06:11 AM
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Bar shape is paramount to hand comfort. There are many options available for h-bars that have a flat or flattish section across the tops. The bar I use comes from Dimension. It has a flattish top section and provides a very comfortable perch for my hands. A friend of mine uses the old Specialized Hover Bar. Provides a more flattish section than the Dimensions plus it elevates the tops a cm or two.
I have used the extensions as shown above as well, but find the flattish section built into the Dimension h-bar works better for my hands. I also have an Easton h-bar made from carbon that has a flattish section, but find the Dimension bar is more comfortable. As I previously noted there are lots of options out there.
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Old 08-15-23, 06:13 AM
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I use gel pads under the tape:
https://www.amazon.com/Planet-Bike-C...dp/B000QSXYHM/
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Old 08-15-23, 10:21 AM
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I discovered the best combo by accident.

I had put black foam tubes over my drop handlebars, but it was getting a tad damaged in places.

I was rummaging around in my box of bits & bobs one day and found some padded handlebar tape. Only having a few minutes to spare, I thought I'd quickly wind it on over the foam already on the handlebars.

It was superb!

If you have large hands it makes the bars perfectly sized and really comfy.

So, I recommend foam tubes first, and then padded bar tape (self-adhesive) wound over the foam.
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Old 08-15-23, 10:35 AM
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The dumb, cheap and versatile solution. Take old inner tubes and cut them down the middle with scissors. Wrap the bars as thick as you want. Put a final wrap on of whatever tape you want to look at and feel. This will give you a firm feel, not soft and squishy, but it will isolate road noise very nicely. The softer approaches don't always work because they can spread the pressure from the weight on your hands to areas that are sensitive.
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Old 08-15-23, 10:39 AM
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YMMW

But

For me thick or double wrapped bar tape or tactically placed shaping pieces used to be a crutch for coping with a bad overall bike fit.

These days I use only one wrap of fizik microtex or deda mistral bar tape, both of which are practically unpadded. And my gloves are unpadded. I do have a pretty strong preference for certain hood shapes, but that's more of a wrist thing.
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Old 08-15-23, 12:36 PM
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I got Wolf Tooth Supple tape a couple months ago and absolutely love it. 5mm thick.

https://www.wolftoothcomponents.com/...upple-bar-tape
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Old 08-15-23, 12:48 PM
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I add padding to increase the diameter of the handlebar between the brake levers and the stem before adding bicycle bar tape to this section but on the drops I only have the bar tape as I only need to grip the drop sections when riding up hills. With a greater bar diameter there is more contact area for my hands when they are resting on this top section. Having a less solid grip of the drops is disadvantageous for me.
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Old 08-15-23, 09:34 PM
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I have used some foam padding designed or the purpose.

I have also put one layer of tape along the bar on the top, but only on the top, why waste tape on the bottom was my thinking.

I use the thicker type tape.
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Old 08-15-23, 11:12 PM
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Wear gloves. If you want lots of padding, wear lifting gloves, they come with a big chunk of palm padding.
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Old 08-17-23, 10:33 AM
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I've got one bike with bad bars -- they're just shaped poorly for my riding/gripping habits.

The smart thing would be for me to get new bars with rounded corners instead of "ergo" corners. But that would cost money, and I'm surrounded by engineers (aka the biggest cheapskates in the world!), so I've been able to survive the last 15 years or so by using gel pads under the bar tape.

But I saw some interesting bar tape, Lizard Skins, available in a couple thicknesses. It's tempting, since my old tape is wearing out and the gel pads aren't staying put any longer.
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Old 08-18-23, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
....

But I saw some interesting bar tape, Lizard Skins, available in a couple thicknesses. It's tempting, since my old tape is wearing out and the gel pads aren't staying put any longer.
Lizard Skins do not hold up. I them it on 3 different bikes and none of them lasted more than one season before they started peeling.
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Old 08-22-23, 04:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Xavier65
I discovered the best combo by accident.

I had put black foam tubes over my drop handlebars, but it was getting a tad damaged in places.

I was rummaging around in my box of bits & bobs one day and found some padded handlebar tape. Only having a few minutes to spare, I thought I'd quickly wind it on over the foam already on the handlebars.

It was superb!

If you have large hands it makes the bars perfectly sized and really comfy.

So, I recommend foam tubes first, and then padded bar tape (self-adhesive) wound over the foam.
Thanks for the suggestion. That seems to align with my thoughts on building up the diameter a bit.

Are the tubes in the link similar to what you are referring to?
https://www.amazon.com/Bicycle-Handl...%2C119&sr=8-35

The question I have on them is how to get the tube past the brake levers. I suppose since I am wrapping with tape I can slice open the length of the tube that goes between the stem and brake levers.

Thoughts?
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Old 08-22-23, 04:59 AM
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO
Are the tubes in the link similar to what you are referring to?
https://www.amazon.com/Bicycle-Handl...%2C119&sr=8-35

The question I have on them is how to get the tube past the brake levers. I suppose since I am wrapping with tape I can slice open the length of the tube that goes between the stem and brake levers.
Yup, that's the stuff.

Although you could slice & wrap, it may not end up as good as a proper 4 piece kit: https://a.co/d/8D9qXlM (which requires removing brake levers).
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Old 08-22-23, 08:04 PM
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You may wish to move you saddle rearward a bit. It will move weight off your hands, possibly a bigger help than thick bar tape.
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Old 08-23-23, 04:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Yan
You may wish to move you saddle rearward a bit. It will move weight off your hands, possibly a bigger help than thick bar tape.
I spent a while with fitment when I got my bike several years ago. The main tweaks I've made are namely bar height. When I got my bike I had them leave the fork tube/stem tall and add a bunch of spacers. The bike shop really tried to get me not to do that for a variety of reasons but I was pretty firm on it. I'm glad I was.

See picture from around town yesterday. You can see the bar position - it is quite a bit higher than most people's in this type of set up I'd say. It allows for the 2nd dummy bar underneath (that the bar bag is on) and it brings my posture up. That is where I like it. No moving of the saddle necessary.


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Old 08-23-23, 06:02 AM
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I’ve used Aztec Road Wrap for years. I like it a lot better than gel pads. I would suggest pre-wrapping the bars with electrical tape, however. The adhesive is very aggressive which makes removing it difficult.
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Old 08-30-23, 03:37 AM
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Originally Posted by a_d_a_m
I have limited input on this but I will say this: don't buy the Salsa bar tape if you want padding. I was led to believe it was comparable to Kona bar tape but having just rewrapped my Sutra last week, I actually miss the Kona stuff that was on it...
As a follow-up to this, I just went on a short tour last week with the new Salsa tape.
Not only did it shift almost immediately, but my palms are still a bit tender.
(I know how to wrap bars and I wear padded gloves, so I attribute this to the tape and nothing else)
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