Bar Tape.

I have my own preferences on handlebar tape.
  1. It can be any color, as long as it's black. Judging by the varieties of colors present at the local bike shops, some people really like matching their bar tape to their bike. I am not one of those people, unless the bike happens to be black. I just picked up a set of SRAM Red shifters with lime green hoods, which will be replaced as soon as possible with suitable black hoods to better match the bar tape. Black tape doesn't display road/body funk as much as other colors, so the illusion of proper maintenance and hygiene can be presented. This all falls apart once the bar tape starts to stink, but for a while you still appear respectable. White bar tape is the equivalent of white bib shorts, and should be banned by all sanctioning bodies.
  2. Cork. I've tried all sorts of materials and configurations, but your standard cork bar tape (right now I use SRAM) wraps well, provides a reasonable amount of grip, and provides a built-in stink timer. When the bar tape starts looking run down, you know it's ready to emit the foul odors it's stored for the past few months. By the looks of the Storck's tape after a winter of sweaty trainer sessions, I'll have to don a fully encapsulated, level A HAZMAT suit when I finally get around to changing it, then fill out the proper paperwork so the UN inspectors won't ding me for an unregistered weapon of mass destruction.
  3. Non-gel. With my large palms, padded bar tape just squishes up and cuts off the circulation to my hands. Instead of cushioning the forces from the road surface, it just amplifies them with me. For me, gel bar tape is like a cushioned saddle in that it has exactly the opposite effect as intended. Your mileage may vary, but then you would just be wrong.
  4. Full-wrap. I ride a lot on the tops, so I like to run the tape as close to the stem as I can for the grip it provides. The truncated wraps some people favor today just don't look right to me, as if they are trying to save 1/10th of a gram so they can offset the entire deep-dish pizza they consumed last night. I'm in no moral position to question their dietary choices, but I fully defend my right to tell them their bike looks stupid. Four out of five dentists who chew gum agree with me, and the other one is addicted to meth. Your choice on which side of that line you want to fall.
I have all sorts of little quirks I prefer when I wrap a set of bars that competent bike mechanics would (and do) roll their eyes at. Some of them were adopted because they work for me, some out of laziness, and others just because. Any deviance tends to nag at me until I unwrap and rewrap the bars according to my own illogical standards.
Anything else would be wrong, and I don't want to ally myself with that fifth dentist.


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