SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MAY 30th
BOBBIN LEATHER HANDLEBAR TAPE
Bobbin leather handlebar tape is made from premium grade Texan cowhide and rates as the most luxurious, comfortable covering I have used to date.
£45 is pretty much the going rate for leather wrap these days, so I was a bit surprised to discover the kit only contains two rolls and end plugs - no cheater or finishing strips. Thankfully, liberal lengths and supple hide lengths tolerate being wound very tight without tearing.
How generous? Well, having passed my 46cm oversized bar with shock absorbing gel underlay test on a dry run, I dressed these 55.4cm flared drops, doubling up at key points for personalised cushioning.
This doesn’t result in a chunky aesthetic and the backing adhesive is also bang-on-sticky, yet very tolerant of being unwound and corrected. Despite daily service, ours was easily unwound and refitted following cable replacement eight weeks in. More than can be said for those wooden plugs.
Sure, they ooze retro cool but in common with a shop branded set, their rounded profiles had a tendency to make bids for freedom. A moot point with bar cons and expandable wedge types are more the ticket but these black plastic tap-ins were all I had to hand.
Talking of slippery customers, decent gloves with silicone grippers proved a godsend during those formative miles.100 or so later and the texture was only bettered in torrential downpours by sophisticated polymer tapes that require very careful cleansing…
Gel impregnated corks are a more obvious choice for ‘cross and “gravel” bikes but the Bobbin’s damping qualities proved very useful along disused roads and bridle path. No hint of tell-tale tingling or numbness when belting along rural backwaters for hours on end either.
Like saddles and other leather goods, it needs a periodic lick of nourishing preserve. Bobbin recommends three monthly, though I reckon 6-8weekly is nearer the mark if you ride year round and in all weathers. Simple measures such as not parking the bike beside radiators, in direct sunlight, or against rough masonry will also give it a much easier life.
Summing up, I have thoroughly enjoyed using this tape. Plugs aside, quality is better than an iconic marque’s and it’s nicer to fit. However, the former is available in a bewildering array of colours and at no extra cost, which may limit the Bobbin’s appeal.
Verdict 3 out of 5; High quality handlebar tape let down by poor plugs and single colour option.
PUBLISHED JANUARY 2016
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH