Upgrading Your Bike I: Bar Tape And Grips

Often times our friends call over to the pod with a strange but all too familiar predicament. There is technically nothing wrong. Brakes are in good order, wheels are running true, tyres show good levels of grip, any gears they have are perfectly aligned and no parts show signs of excessive wear

Why then have they called over to the pod? 

Sometimes it’ll just be for a chat, and we like that, we like to hear our friends stories of their latest ride, their amazing weekend, their nightmare crash, but other times friends visit for a very different reason. 

“I want something but I don’t know what” comes the proverbial announcement. 

For many of us there’s a base line need to keep perfecting our ride until it is exactly as we desire. More often than not these changes aren’t big but rather, small incremental changes which when carefully considered can make a huge impact on both the bikes look and its function. 

So for those of you who struggle to get to the pod we thought we’d spend a few blog posts  looking at some great investment choices for the cyclist who wants to invest but isn’t sure how or where and has no reason other than for the sheer joy of it. 

There’s no hard and fast rules although a little logical thinking goes a very long way. 

We’re going to start at the top and make our way down the bike paying attention to both the obvious and less obvious areas of potential upgrade. For many readers this will mean that one of the first items well worth consideration are your grips/bar tape. Incase you’re not convinced here are five reasons you might want to consider your grips or bar tape as worthy of a little investment. 

1. Nice, clean, well fitted grips or bar tape can make the world of difference to a bike’s aesthetic appeal. 

2. Whether it be bar tape or grips this is invariably an area of production which most manufacturers pay very little attention to.

3. Your palms sweat, in fact in summer they sweat a lot; that sweat holds bacteria and lots of it. Bacteria then sits on your bar time waiting for more bacteria to join it. Hold that image and next time you get off your bike count how many seconds before your hands go somewhere near your mouth.

4. Ergonomics matter. Too much impact on your palms can lead to serious discomfort, injury and even long term damage to your nerve endings.

5.Quality means grip and grip means safety, especially in the wet.

We’ve long been fans of the guys at Portland Design Works with their legendary eye for detail, design and quality, so we were very excited to receive our supply of PDW Whiskey Grips. The Whiskey Grip is made from fine Italian Leather which is vegetable tanned and combined with natural oils and waxes, all of which is technical blurb for the simple description ‘they’ll get better with age’. The Whiskey Grips ergonomic shape also offers excellent absorption for grip vibration. If the 'leather' bit puts you off then check out the Cork Chop Grips which offer an equally brilliant prospect without the 'leather'. For any urban cyclists with a flat bar bike either of these grips provide an excellent addition of quality and style all within a very reasonable budget. 

PDW Whiskey Grips in Action.

For those of us with drop down bars it’s all about achieving the ever important combination of great quality tape with the grip that quality should offer. For that reason we absolutely love three options from Cinelli. 

Firstly and most appropriately for this time of year is the Volee/Tennis Grip Tape combining Cinelli style with maximum wet weather grip. 

Our Lovely Volee Tape!

Our Lovely Volee Tape!

Second is Cinelli’s Lumen reflective tape because it does what it says on the can, meaning you not only have amazing grip but you also have amazing visibility.

The Cinelli Lumen Looks Geat Day and Nght.

Finally for all you animal loving eco conscious cyclists it’s nice to see that the guys at Cinelli are looking after you with their Vegan leather look tape which is just great tape and looses nothing from its more traditional counterpart.