Tape or not?

It’s time to replace the bar tape on my road bike. It’s ratty and unraveled and flaps in the wind.

Question for you: I’m a year round cyclist. The rainy season will start soon in California. If I wrap my bars with shiny new tape, I’ll just have to replace it again after things dry out next Spring.

Should I spring for new tape?

Bicycle news, etc

Click on the photos for captions…

Goreville, Illinois: A man from Japan riding in a homemade bamboo experimental bicycle was hit by a car Friday morning. More here. The cyclist — Takashi Matsumoto — is traveling across the United States on his bamboo bike to investigate the production of bamboo bicycles by various companies and organizations in the U.S. He has a blog called Bamboo Samurai. I wish I had known about him when he visited Santa Cruz.

Striking workers from French oil giant Total ride bicycles on the express way to arrive at a demonstration over pension reform in Saint Nazaire October 28, 2010 after leaving the oil refinery of Donges. Further strikes disrupted rail and air transport in France on Thursday but the broader protest over plans to raise the retirement age appeared to be on its last legs a day after parliament adopted pension reform legislation.  REUTERS/Stephane Mahe (FRANCE - Tags: POLITICS EMPLOYMENT BUSINESS CIVIL UNREST ENERGY)

Langley: Convert a bolt on wheel to quick release.

Planetizen: Bike sharing becomes part of the transportation picture. Also: Will bike sharing programs last?

San Francisco Peninsula cyclists: Pico Boulevard gate in San Mateo County — More on this later, but for now –> Sign the petition.

Dinosaur rides a bicycle.

Spanish beef industry says “Who? Me?”.

A vendor rides an electric bicycle carrying gourd handicrafts for sale in Nanchang, Jiangxi province, October 29, 2010. REUTERS/Jason Lee (CHINA - Tags: SOCIETY)

Easton seatpost recall.

Donations funds Harrisburg bike patrol.

Enjoy your weekend!


  1. Golly, if you tape your bars next spring, they’ll get dirty without that rain to clean them off. Maybe you ought to never put bar tape on again. So get some nonshiny, water-resistant bar tape!

  2. I’d stick with what you’ve got for now and see if it becomes necessary to replace it. If it happens, then replace it at that time. Funny…generally I’m much more proactive than that, but that’s the feeling I have on this one.


  3. step one: wrap your bars in old inner tubes.
    step two: add a layer of cloth bar tape to the outside of the inner tubes
    step three: shellac cloth tape.

    They’ll be waterproof for years, and as long as you reapply a layer of shellac every year or so should last you well into retirement.

  4. Hello
    I am a “mama bicycle” blogger, shuichi.
    Thank you for introducing your blog, Cyclicioue.
    BambooSamurai was coincidently a college student from which I had graduated the Keio univercity, and he came from near my apartment at Kyoto.
    I hope he was safe and continue his challenge with safety.
    I have a plan which is different from him. But I cheer his challenge.がんばれー

  5. If tape was $120, I’d say hold off until Spring, but since it’s about $12, just buy some. I just ditched my dirtying white tape that I’ve had on since Spring, and it’s getting replaced with gray for the winter.

  6. Two points: First, definitely replace your handlebar tape. It’s a safety item because maintaining your grip in adverse conditions is a high priority.

    Second, there’s a reason bicycling moved away from wooden rims back in the 1930s. In a crash, they splintered and offered a puncture hazard to the riders. While I like the aesthetics of bamboo and wood frames, as well as handlebars, and rims, they’re just not a good thing to have around in a crash.

  7. Sorry for chiming in so late, but my vote is always to fix those cheap things when needed. On my commuter, I have been using the Aztec Vibe Wrap, which has the nice padding underneath also. I like a thicker grip because I tend to hold on too tightly sometimes, so more bulk on the bars helps with that. The tape is like a fake leather, and has lasted surprising long. I think I bought it about 1.5 years ago, and it’s just starting to fray on the edges where my hands had been rubbing for so long.

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