Sunday, March 25, 2007

Cord Whipping Handlebars

My profound thanks go out to Ben Spencer from Seattle who sent me a really nice pair of Cinelli, Giro d’Italia handlebars to replace the ones I had bent.

I was up at the crack of dawn this morning to install them before heading out for a twenty-five mile ride. I decided to stay with the blue tape because it goes with my blue tires.

After wrapping the bars, normally I would have done what many people do, and reach for the black electricians tape to finish off. However, this time I decided to spend a little extra time and finish off by cord whipping with some black cord.

If you haven’t tried this, it is not that difficult. Make a loop with the cord, and hold it with one hand under the bars while you start winding the chord over it. Once you get a couple of turns over the loop, it will hold itself in place.

Start at the center ferule and wind back over the tape. I usually stop the tape and cut it about a quarter inch short of the ferule, otherwise it gets too bulky with the cord over it. You want the cord to sit neatly against the ferule so that you start winding nice and square.

When you have enough cord to cover the end of the tape, (Usually about an inch.) put the end of the cord through the loop and pull on the other end. Don’t pull it all the way trough, but stop when the end is tucked neatly under the winding.

Trim the ends of the cord with a sharp knife, and apply several coats of clear urethane over the cord to waterproof and to help seal it so it doesn’t come unraveled. It is advisable to place some masking tape either side of the cord whipping so you don’t get urethane all over the ferule and handlebar tape.

I had a hard time finding black cord, and what I found was quite thin. It would have been easier and probably have looked neater if the cord was a little thicker.

It occurred to me after; I could have used fine round string and painted over it with black paint instead of using clear urethane. You can buy tiny jars of enamel paint at the hobby shop in any color you wish.


Ed W said...

Dave....someone mentioned this on one of the bicycle collector's e-lists:

It shows both cord whipping and shellacking cloth or cork handlebar tape. I like the way it looks, but I haven't tried it yet.

Anonymous said...

Sailors use a waxed twine to whip things. The wax gives it some grip while you are whipping it and it also gives a permanent protective coating. It's available from marine supply stores, but I have not seen any color other than natural.

Anonymous said...

Dick Blick Art Supplies has hemp twine in a few different colors, including black. It's what I use for my handlebars. Also, I've found that using a bit of linseed oil will waterproof the twine and keep it in place if you don't have urethane. I usually use a squirt from a can of framesaver.