Re: [CR]Handlebar covering timeline

Example: Production Builders:Pogliaghi
From: "Russ Fitzgerald" <>
To: "Classicrendezvous" <>
Subject: Re: [CR]Handlebar covering timeline
Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2001 14:00:18 -0400

Okay, I'll bite, and perhaps someone will further develop this ... hey, it could be fun, and right now we could probably all use a little light diversion to clear our heads ...

Cork or rubber grips - from the beginning, right? Mustn't leave out wood, but I suspect wood grips pre-date the list's interest period ... figure wood for what, pre 1900, and cork or rubber running concurrently up through the Great War?

Cloth tape - I'd suspect back to the 20s, anyway. I have this memory of reading somewhere that the shellac trick was used to help hold non-adhesive tape in place. I know the oldest racing iron I've encountered in my rambles (apart from show bikes) had ancient, grimy cloth tape on it. That one was a battered old six-day kinda thing with BSA cranks and Sheffield pedals and keyhole lugs ...

Anyway, figure 1920 (or earlier) as the introduction? Since then, always available for discerning riders?

Was cloth tape standard equipment on the 70s-80s deluxe Japanese bikes?

Ribbed plastic bar tape - in use on some English bikes, anyway. I've encountered it on bikes as early as the mid to late 1950s - the c. 1957 Raleigh Lenton GP I sold to another listmember comes to mind. That bike was almost completely original, btw. Longitudinally-ribbed, somewhat rubbery-feeling plastic bar tape is my memory ... this may have been a Raleigh thing, too. I encountered similar tape on an early 70s Competition (Nervex lugs/sloped crown fork/T.A. Competition cranks/Jubilee derailleurs) I had last year. Figure 1955 - 1973, some models?

Waffle-textured bar tape - Sheldon mentions this in the late 1950s, and hell, he was there! I tend to associate it with the late 60s through the mid-70s, anyway. It came on just about everything - I remember seeing similar tape on the horrid Western Flyer gaspipe special my father bought circa 1971 or so; it came on my infamous West German Brownie from the Ben Franklin five and dime that started me down this long road; every UO-8 and Schwinn LeTour I can remember from the mid-70s; etc. Did the deluxe French stuff come with cloth bar tape? I don't remember, and my perception was that cloth tape was usually an after-market accessory, but I could be flat wrong on that. I know that none of the bikes I bought new ever had cloth bar tape.

Bailey III/The Tape/ etc. Was this stuff sold outside of the U.S.? It sure was cool. I still regret selling the Gitane TdF I had a couple of years back with Bailey padded tape - it just looked cool, at least to my Philistine eyes.

Grab-on/imitation stitched foam bar covers - this is what, late 70s, early 80s? I know Motobecane, in particular, loved this stuff, and I think some other makers did, too.

Bennotto - that translucent stuff was so cool! No padding, of course, but it came in so many colors, how could you go wrong? I fell in love with it circa 1978 or so - I remember wrapping the bars on my Puch with it. I was still using Bennotto tape as late as 1990, I think, when I was experimenting with a too-small Trek that I shoulda kept ... Figure, what, late 1970s-1985, or is that too late in the continuum?

Ambrosio bike ribbon - is this stuff too late for the CR guidelines? I don't know when it was introduced, but it seemed to me like a mix of the things I liked about the Bailey III and Bennotto - many colors, tapered, textured feel to it.

Russ Fitzgerald
Greenwood SC