Here’s a weird one: When I went into the garage early Sunday morning, with an idea to get the bike ready for the club ride that I never went on, I discovered this:
For some reason unknown to me, the bar end plug had popped off overnight, unraveling the bar tape. When I put the bike away after the last ride, Friday, it was okay. When I was in the garage to get into the car Saturday, it was okay.
I haven’t any idea. I had taped the bars some time ago, probably in early fall, and hadn’t had any trouble with them since. I had even taken a scrub brush to them the last time I washed the bike, and got off most of the dirt smudges. The bar end plugs had held the tape in place much better than some of my previous tape jobs.
My next reaction was that I had to fix it, and fast, if I planned to ride that day. I’d already decided the foul weather would keep me from doing a club ride. Logically, I would have waited a few hours until the bike shops around here opened for their short Sunday hours, then picked up a new roll of tape.
But sometimes, I don’t think logically.
I removed the tape. It looked to be in reasonably good shape, so I decided to use it again.
Now, the usual advice you get when you go online for a refresher on winding bar tape is not to reuse it — get new stuff. I can understand that. But the tape wasn’t torn or otherwise damaged. I started winding it on the bar, paying close attention to the amount of tension I kept on the tape. You want it to be taut. You don’t want it to be so taut, it tears. I managed to stay on the good side of that fine line and got the tape rewound on the bar. Heck, it would look new, except that the rewind had uncovered some grungy dark areas that will have to be scrubbed clean again.
By the way, this is not high end bar tape. This is the run of the mill stuff I picked up at Performance. It’s a cork gel, and costs only about $10 for enough to do both handlebars. I like it. I like spongy tape that provides some cushioning, and this does that. Some riders say they prefer a harder tape that transmits road feel back up to the hands. I’m perfectly happy with the feel I get from this tape.
I’ve ridden the bike a couple of times since retaping the bar. It’s holding well.
Have you ever reused old bar tape? What were your results? Did it last as long as you’d hoped, or did it break down in a short period of time?
When I was in college I reused my tape all the time. In fact I had one set that lasted 3 hard montana winters.
But that was back in the days when men were men and bar tape was indestructable.
Bike Noob says
And it was cotton back then, wasn’t it? Mine was.
I don’t know what caused it, but it reminds me of those Pillsbury dough in cardboard tube things. You twist a bit to ease the pressure seal and the tube ends pop off. Maybe hands twisting the tape? Weather shift?
It could be one of those things that just happen. Our universe was created by things like that, so bike tape unraveling is nothing much ado when looking at the big picture. Reusing tape is very savvy also. Really no need to replace it if there is nothing wrong.
A year ago, five months after buying my bike, I changed out the handlebars(it was a fit thing). The LBS wanted to change out the OEM bar tape but I told them no. There was a bit of adhesive residue on the tape after the bars were changed out. I lived with it, but I notice now the adhesive has all worn away and the tape still looks/feels good as new.
For me it was a matter of principle after having to change out the bar so soon after buying the bike. Since the bike was a special order I thought they would have helped me make better choices on the components. Maybe my expectations need to be lowered.
My tape started unraveling from the bar end mid ride…I have a tendency to torque my grip when holding onto the bar ends…no big deal, I just pulled off the side of the road and quickly re-wrapped the bar using the same tape. It’s just like new.
Willow Pearce says
The bar end plugs must be really air tight to pop out when going from cool to warm. I have seen this happen once before and was cured by drilling a 1/16 inch hole unobtrusively as possible in plug.