Leather Handlebar Wrap….. Leather Handlebar Tape
Oh, about 6 years ago, I purchased a Serotta Legend Ti. Best purchase I ever made! I spent months contemplating the components to hang on this puppy. I really wanted leather bar wrap, but alas, none was available. Fast forward a few years. A few manufacturers released their versions of “leather tape”. I tried em and was rather underwhelmed. So I patiently waited and waited, then procrastinated some more. Finally an epiphany, I realized that if I wanted it done right, I have to do it myself. Well, after numerous attempts, prototypes and one really abysmal failure (I have to thank all all my buddies/testers over at the Serotta Phorum & Velocipede Salon for enduring my irrationalperseverance) I think I converged upon a product worthy of your consideration. How’d I do ?
A few additional images may be found here.
Who is HandleBra? What’s the scoop?…..
HandleBra is a start-up by a fellow cyclist. Basically HB is just one “character” trying to do it all and compete with the established entities. I am using Volusion as the e-store and there is a lot to learn and experience. Just click on Store for more images and information
Please also recognize that HandleBra Performance Wrap is custom handcrafted right here in the USA. Please allow 1-3 weeks for delivery. The wrap is expensive to create and I just can’t afford to maintain copious amounts in stock right now. Of course, delivery time will shorten considerably as I gain distilled wisdom on how many orders to expect per week and in what colors. Thanks immensely for your support, patience and understanding.
However, Hurricane HandleBra is usually in stock in a multitude of colors. 11 right now! If I am outa stock on a specific color, I can usually replenish that color within two weeks.
The option of embedding your favorite cord color into your favorite leather color also exists. Just visit the Store and click on Sport HandleBra.
The Wrap itself…..
The leather used is of the highest quality. HandleBra examined a vast array of hides before settling in on this formulation. This leather retains a unique finish that repels liquids and “presents” as real expensive leather, cause it is. The tactile feedback is correct. There is a good reason why exotics like Ferrari and Porsche employ exemplary leather steering covers.
The edges are carefully chamfered/skived/beveled so that the wrap lays relatively flat. Who likes lumpy wrap or lumpy mashed potatoes?
Each strip is at least 84 inches and width is about 1 inch+. Every effort is made to extract long continuous strips.
In order to generate the 84 plus inch length, some strips may be mated once. The mate is chamfered, glued and then pressed. A backing strip is also applied to strengthen the join.
Two (2) strips equals one bikes worth. HandleBra is priced per bike NOT per strip. You do indeed receive 2 strips.
HB also includes trim pieces ( one 6 inch, or two 3 inchs) for behind the Hoods.
Care and Feeding of the Wrap….. important & caution!
AVOID OIL / PETROLEUM BASED TREATMENTS
Hurricane HandleBra (HHB)
In theory, there is never any need to pre-treat/treat Hurricane HandleBra. It is waterproofed at manufacture and liquids just float right off.
However, personally, I have found that
adds enduring cosmetic protection to Hurricane HandleBra. These are white, aqueous (water) based products. These protectants are well known to our motorcycle breather- en and they certainly subject their leather accessories to use and abuse. These creams are absorbed and dry quickly and have zero effect on color.
One satisfied cyclist (and tester of numerous prototypes) is applying 303 Aerospace Protectant to his white HBB. Again, 303 is a white aqueous based product. He claims that 303 keeps his white HBB white and fortified. After 1,000 miles, he claims his wrap looks perfect. I believe 303 aerospace protectant is a readily available product.
Using an oil based treatment (Lexol, Lexol nf, Obenauf LP or Oil, Proofhide, mink oil, nests foot, etc. etc.) could prove precarious by dissolving/diluting the original liquid repellent finish. I would not recommend treating the water proof version of HandleBra (Hurricane HandleBra) with any oil based product. Many, if not most, leather treatments are oil based, so please exercise due diligence. Please avoid oil / petroleum based treatments!
Cleaning Hurricane HandleBra…..
Dirt, crud, sweat, energy drink residual, should just wash off with plain ole water, especially if one has been periodically applying one of the creams mentioned above. HBB drys quickly.
Wrapping the Bars…..
The Park Tools Website has excellent instructions. Starting from the drops and working to the stem, wrap over the top of handlebar toward the bike; that is CCW on drive train side and CW on the other. Most people tend to rotate their hands inward towards the bike, wrapping in this fashion, one is always naturally tightening the wrap.
Please observe that the wrap has NO adhesive strip. So it’s reusable. Got a Brifter problem????…. No need to chit can the leather wrap.
Please consider FIRST wrapping the bar with athletic tape, available at any drugstore, or even better, use hockey tape. Else, the leather wrap could slip around a bit if it gets inundated in a rain storm.
You can wrap this leather tight for a nice even flat final appearance. Just exercise a bit of caution around the seams.
BUT EVEN BETTER. Here is what I did!!! And it feels fantastic. GO stuff your Bra !!!!!
DOUBLE WRAP!!!! Wrap the leather over some cheapo (thin) cork wrap. Used cork/stuff off the LBS floor works great!!!!!! This provides a bit of firm cushion!!! One can adjust the amount of cushion, by adjusting the spacing (between turns) of the under-layman cork wrap. I did build a prototype with a very expensive 3M thin foam backing. Many cyclists just ripped this backing right off. I almost cried! So I thought it best to allow individual cyclists to determine the type of under-layman, if any.
After the wrap is completed, perhaps apply a bit more “Liquid Cream” if desired (work in well) & keep the bike in a warm place for a while.
Now go for a ride and enjoy ….
Enjoy ! go for a ride ….
You could apply a bit of additional water based cream to the surface again in 2-3 days. Again work in well. And let dry again. Periodically, re-apply treatment as needed.
The edges of the wrap should eventually tend to “melt” into one another for a “liquid leather” feel and appearance.
For the Coup d’etat, consider a complementary colored Hudz Hood. I really like the new improved versions of Hudz Hoods.
Extra Special Thanks …..
I am deeply indebted to Dave Kraus ( www.krausgrafik.com) for his design work on this site.
A special THANKS to Brian Smith (at the Serotta Factory) and Rick Trainer (Mountain Cycology, Ludlow VT) for sharing so unselfishly their bar wrapping expertise. I really need to encourage these two perfectionists to produce a U-tube video on wrapping bars.