Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cotton Bar Tape...

For the longest time I have been wishing to walk into my LBS and find something different, something apparently hard to find. For years I have searched for a bar tape without the sticky backing. At some point in time, foam/cork-type tape with the sticky backing became the industry standard, and good luck finding anything else. Let me step back into the past for a second: There was a period of time in my life when I was heavily into tennis - high school team, and local tournaments - and frequently had to wrap my rackets with new tape. That tape never had any stickum, and I like to think I did a quality wrapping job. Funny how these things stick with you; later, after my son was born, my official job was "burper and wrapper".

Anyway, I have always considered that sticky stuff to be a form of cheating. Anyone worth their salt should be able to securely wrap a set of handlebars without resorting to any of that trick. After all, bar tape wasn't always backed with the stuff. Admittedly I thought that first roll of stickum-backed bar tape I purchased was a pretty neat advancement. Over time, though, I have come to regard it more as a curse, an all-too-convenient shortcut requiring extra effort to remove at the end of its lifespan. So it was with great satisfaction that I noticed at my LBS - in a simple plastic bag, no fancy packaging - the rolls of cotton Cinelli bar tape you see wrapped around the bars of the old yellow Basso above. It is cool, it is classic, and I should have bought the other rolls of it they had in stock. Now I need a secure and classic way to end the wrap; the cotton bar wrap came with the typical cheap strip of tape to finish off with, the stuff that begins to fail before you have finished one ride, and it just will not do.


  1. Use electrical tape works really good. It will hold even in 100 plus degree weather. Keeps the bar wrap secure. I agree with the worthless comment reference the little piece of tape bar tape comes with.

  2. Whipping,use thin hemp cord. On my vintage steel bike I finish my bars this way. visit rivendell bike works

  3. Thanks for the tip. I have some imitation sinew which I think might work well. It is very durable.


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