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Leather Bar Tape: Good or Bad?

Old 09-27-10, 10:52 AM
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Leather Bar Tape: Good or Bad?

Do any of you use the leather bar tape? Is it comfortable and functional or is this mainly an aesthetics item? I think it looks great, but I'd be more concerned with it's comfort on longer rides.

Thanks
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Old 09-27-10, 11:13 AM
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never used it but yeah it does look fantastic especially if you have a matching saddle.
but does it get slippy when wet and how do you protect it from the rain.
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Old 09-27-10, 11:35 AM
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I used to have some Brooks honey tape, but it faded quite badly. I was pretty disappointed with the fading, but it was comfy.
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Old 09-27-10, 03:05 PM
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Pigskin is better than cowhide .. for wet/dry repeat situations ..
I glued some Glove thin leather over the rubber brake hoods .
some are pigskin , some I used Chamois leather.

Never used leather for the bar wrap, though..
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Old 09-27-10, 04:05 PM
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The Brooks leather tape has zero padding. My hands would go numb pretty quickly when I used it. It was still grippy when wet. Some people put on a layer of cork tape under the leather tape for added comfort.
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Old 09-27-10, 05:15 PM
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I was told the trick to using leather is to wrap a cheaper cork/cork gel layer first, then the leather. I did this recently and its much much better than leather tape alone or cork gel alone. I used Brooks and since its just a recent move I can't speak to its fading properties but I did coat the wrap with Tanner's leather conditioner.
My motorcycle seats are leather and I typically ride my motorcycle's wearing leather gloves, boots, and coats and I have logged days of rain riding. You have to treat the leather and it works fine in the rain. Rain won't hurt leather per se, it just helps dry out some of the natural oils as the sun does so it should be treated periodically anyway. Any good conditioner works, neatsfoot oil works and the silicon-based sprays for boats works but that stuff does smell. I was thinking of trying some sno-seal on the wrap since that conditions and waterproofs but haven't gotten to that yet.
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Old 09-27-10, 05:46 PM
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Velo Orange Elk hide bar wrap is very nice. Its a bit more painstaking to install but is really nice even with no padding its pretty cushy. Its also cheaper than than the Brooks leather.
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Old 09-27-10, 07:30 PM
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+1 on the elk hide.
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Old 09-28-10, 09:47 AM
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I have VO Elkhide on one bike and perforated leather wrap on the other. I used Specialize gel capsules under the perfed leather wrap. Very comfy. Proofided both when they were brand new and then forgot about them. The oils and sweat from my hands seem to do the rest of the "treatment" I've had one for over two years and the other for 18 months. Both look grand and are very comfy. Rather than gel capsules, I'd opt for cork/gel tape underneath, but my wrapped bars are 46 cm, and the leather tape was barely long enough with just the capsules underneath.
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Old 09-29-10, 07:23 AM
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I've had good results with the Fiz'ik bar tape... Comfy, durable, and adds a little color/bling to the bike.
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Old 09-29-10, 09:27 AM
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i grew up on benotto cellotape, so mebbe that shapes my opinion... but my randonneur has nothing but brooks leather on the bars, and i can't but suggest it enough-- and i don't use gloves. i'd suspect poor fit or bad circulation if your hands are going numb.

i love the heck out of the stuff-- feels fantastic, never had it seem tacky or grippy, and it's the nicest stuff i've ever had on my bars without question-- wish i'd discovered it sooner! sadly expensive.. but it lasts a long time... so can't much complain there..
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Old 09-29-10, 06:38 PM
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I've got Brooks Honey leather bar tape on mine, 2500 miles and still going strong. I proofide it just like my saddle and it looks just the same. Very durable, don't notice it being slippery when wet (that's what she said) but then again I don't wear gloves because the leather feels great without them!

-Barry-
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Old 09-29-10, 11:13 PM
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Obviously not my touring bike, but I bought some leather scraps from a leather shop ($10), and stitched them up with some waxed line. The leather is nice and thick, and they are more comfortable than any other bar tape I've used. I think they look decent as well.
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