08 August 2010

The Urban Machine: Handlebar Tape

I am ashamed... I have been coveting other bikes lately. Bikes made of sleek, light carbon, or custom painted with colored Deep-V wheels. They're so pretty, so flashy, I can't help but look! And then I feel guilty, because Ruby's been so good to me. She's only ever gotten a flat once, she handles well, she's not too heavy for anything I've ever needed to do, and most importantly she fits me. I had a hard time finding the perfect fit: when the standover height was right, my back felt crunched and cramped. When I had room to stretch out, the top tube would nearly split me in half. So buying Ruby was an easy decision, one ride and I decided I HAD to have this bike, it was THE ONE. Which means that no matter how cute some other bike might be, I'll probably keep Ruby forever. Seriously, I cannot imagine giving her up. So I'm starting a series on making her the best bike she can be.

The first upgrade she's gotten is brand-new handlebar tape! Not only does the cork match the leather on my MKS half clips and start to give my bike a little custom style, I was in serious need of some new padding. I'm not totally sure how long handlebar tape is supposed to last, but I've put at least 5,000 miles on my bike since purchase, and the callouses developing on the palms of my hands coupled with the trouble I've had keeping one of my end caps in told me it was time. It seems like a small thing, but imagine how many miles you put on your bike in a year... then imagine that every mile, your hands were wrapped around hard handlebars instead of the cushy feel of cork. So when I stopped by Palms Cycle earlier today to get a floor pump, I decided to pick up some new tape.

Re-taping was surprisingly easy! Though to a novice it would appear that you'd have to remove the brake mechanism to re-tape, that's not the case at all. The rubbery bit that goes along the gear shifts actually peels back a bit, and when you wrap the new tape it only goes under the edges of that piece, not under the whole thing. This sounds silly to more experienced hands, I'm sure, but novices like me should be pleasantly reassured that this is an incredibly easy upgrade to make yourself, as well as a great way to add a little flare to your daily driver.


Anonymous said...

The Palms Cycle website is one of the worst websites that I've seen in a long long while. If I were them, I would rather not have a website than have a website that's as incomplete as the one they have.

erinwdesign said...

I'm sorry that you feel that way. I admit I don't do business with Palms Cycles because of their website: I go to them because they're my friendly neighborhood bike shop. They're convenient, give me good prices on stuff, and are a good source of information about local groups/events. So I link to them out of politeness and to toss them a little business if I can, because they're good people.