Thursday, December 22, 2011

BIKE REPAIR: Bar Taping Continued

Thanks everyone for the great comments on handlebar taping. I had mentioned that there had to be a better way to finish the job than using boring, old electrical tape, and a reader going by camp6ell told me that bike guy Frank the Welder in Vermont had made some copper collars to put a custom finishing touch on one of his machines.

I contacted my friend Captain Dondo (Don Cuerdon) - another former Bicycling Magazine colleague. He lives in Vermont and hangs out at Frank's shop. And the result is that Frank sent me this photo showing his beautiful handiwork. Frank wrote: Here is a pic of the copper tape ferrules mentioned by Camp6ell. They are made of copper tubes drawn over progressive arbors to the final size. The tape is double cloth.

I would like to know how Frank's ferrules work, whether they slip over the bars and then are slid sideways to cover/finish the tape, or if they have a tightening mechanism of some sort. I love how they look. It makes sense to me that if the handlebar tape companies go to the trouble to make handlebar plugs with their logos on them and sometimes even nicer decorations, that they could also make much nicer tape "finishers" than the simple tape strips they provide (that rarely stick for long anyway).

Frank's are beautiful. I could see some made of polished, hammered aluminum, like the Honjo fenders sold by Jtensha studios. Or even ones made of sterling silver! The trick will be how to tighten them and how to make them removable and reusable - that shouldn't be too difficult. I might experiment and see what I can come up with but it's been years since I did silversmithing in high school and college. If you make some or know of anything like Frank's please link us to it or send a photo.

Here's to custom tape jobs that set your bicycle apart like Frank's!

Frank the Welder's custom tape-finishing copper collars


Dan O said...

Those copper deals are cool. I'd dig it better in black though. Very slick!

anonymous said...

he solders them on, of course - they are copper after all!
no, they're just the right circumference to slip on and hold in place when snugged up over the bar tape.