As my MS 150 ride fast approaches — just a week and a half away — I’m giving some thought to improving the looks of my bike. After all, I don’t want to be in the middle of thousands of other bikers on something that looks less than pristine, right?
When I bought the bike last year, it came with soft, squishy gel tape. But my crash in November ruined the tape on the left handlebar. I haven’t done anything about it, mainly because it stayed in place, and didn’t unravel like I thought it would. But now, I’m getting over the “badge of honor” look, and I’m thinking about getting some new bar tape.
I’ve been down this road before. On my old Raleigh, the cloth tape was all torn and ratty, so I replaced it — but with cheap cork tape. I figured if I made a mess of the wrap job, I wouldn’t be out much money. It looked pretty good when I finished, and then I found that I had wrapped it backward, from the middle out to the end, instead of from the end to the middle. Hey, I found these instructions online, and I just followed them, you know?
It stayed together though, but it was firm tape. I’m spoiled by the gel tape now.
I’ve noticed you can get gel inserts that glue onto the handlebar, then you wrap your tape over the inserts. That looks interesting.
My other issue is color. The bike came with blue bar tape. While I like my bike, I’ve never been crazy about the blue and black color scheme. So I’m leaning toward plain black tape.
Here’s your chance to weigh in on which way I should go. Black gel tape? Other ideas? What brand? Or, should I keep that “badge of honor” look, to remind me not to ride stupid?
Well considering the bike is black and blue, and it looks like you have some blue tires on the bike, I would almost say go with the blue again. Black would look good and so would white. The bad thing about the white bar tape, is it gets dirty quick, that is if you actually ride the bike, which you do.
You have to get what you think looks best. It is your bike, you are the one that rides it. I personally still like the white tape. Maybe you could do a white and blue combo?
The blue striped tires were original equipment, and have since been replaced.
White bar tape — requires lots of cleaning, doesn’t it?
I have the same bike, still on the blue tape, I probably will replace it with black tape. White would be stellar too though, and it would match my white saddle. Where do you find the exact brand of the Specialized gel tape though?
Go white Noob, it’s Euro, you’ll look more sophisticated (if thats possible). White’s got a bad rap. A little dishwashing soap and a wet rag back and forth like your shining your shoes and “bam” bright white again. Maybe once a month. Best thing…mighty cool in the summer. You know the whole white reflects, black absorbs thing.
Don’t forget our San Marcos 100 coming up. You meet us at Akins HS, go 25 to San Marcos, break bread w/ us and we’ll see you off on our way back.
White! Always white….
Just like in this pic..
Oh darn, Bill — that’s the weekend of the MS 150! I can’t join you.
Specialized sells their bar tape on their web site. Look under “Equipment.”
I saw a picture of a bike handlebar with contrasting strips of two differently colored bar tapes. That would be cool.
Black bar tape will look good. I think bright blue is a bit garish, and white tape is just really trendy right now. As far as brand, I like Fizik.
CR1 Rider says
Rainycamp, don’t use white. Don’t go with blue either, less is more.
I suggest black, don’t need to be to flashy and black will look clean with black handlebars. Dont use under bar padding unless you like not feeling the road or any vibration. I used to use gelbar tape, but now black with some cork. I like the feel and it sticks better.
I’ve used the Specialized Bar Phat tape for the last two years and found it be excellent. I also got it in black to match my frame.
Go for black; it looks more badass.
I can go either way on the use of the under tape gel padding. I have it on my road bike but not on my fixed gear. It does make the bar “fat” and takes a little getting use to, but for me it really damps out road vibrations and keeps my hands from getting numb on long rides (> 50 miles). I’ll be sticking with it on the Roubaix but have no intention of using it on the fixie, which I ride in cold weather with winter gloves on…so I like the feel of the “thinner” bar under the thicker gloves. I’ve had no problem with the tape staying in place over the gel.
I don’t think you can go wrong with black tape…and keep this in mind, getting new tape on the handlebar is a nice, cheap way of getting some newness back to the bike…kind of like getting a car detailed.