Thursday, 17 March 2011

Bartape During Wartime

I've lived in a brownstone, I've lived in a ghetto, I've live all over this town...

Seriously, I've tried pretty much all the bar tapes out there. At the end of it all, I wind up not really being too finicky about it. I think I like the faux cork kinds the best, like the SRAM that's on my bike now.

The issue, of course, is that the bar tape pictured above, which was gleaming white when the picture was taken in October, is now skankier than Charlie Sheen's last date. One should probably change one's bar tape a little more frequently than I do. My need to have a bike that's "display ready" is at odds with the "cobbler's child" syndrome that befalls my bike (the work we are doing to get customer bikes ready takes precedence - me of two years ago would experience holy rapture upon entering my house with all the swanky carbon wheels and fancy bits presently afoot, but me of today just sees wheels that need final QC and packaging, delivery logistics, etc).

The white bar tape/white saddle deal is a look I've gone with for a while. Because black looks more presentable in the state of nonchalant bliss in which my bike usually finds itself, I think I might give it a go this year. So I'm thinking black stock saddle (I actually really like our stock saddle, the white one will go on the mountain bike), black stock tape (SRAM faux cork), and non-stock braided stainless Jagwire cable housings. You have to have some pop somewhere.

Bonus review for today is the Descente Stretch Velum Wind Vest. This is the greatest vest ever, supplanting the very very good Voler vest as the top. The material has a perfect amount of stretch, yet is otherwise the same as the rip stop nylon of the Voler. The fit is sublime. Descente fully commits to the concept of skinny people with thickish legs in an actual racing position for their fit. The collar is lined with a very thin soft material. It adds a soupcon of warmth and comfort but doesn't get cloying when you're at the top of the temp range for the vest. The trim details are great, with that little elastic piping on the armholes and hem. The zipper would be a little cooler if it were two way, but it is flawless in zipping up with one hand and has the flashy lock pull so when it's unlocked you open just by pulling the vest in a generally "open the zipper" direction. Rear pockets mostly obviate the need for a two way zipper (under most circumstances if I could have one or the other I would gladly take the pockets) and the thing is weightless. It has great style with tremendous subtlety and it has good reflective stuff on the back in an effective but unobtrusive way. Descente is a partner of November so I am biased in my abject love for everything of theirs that I've tried, but all their stuff is so freaking good. The only thing that will make these vests better is after they are embroidered with our super pimp logo.

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