Review: Newbaum’s Cotton Cloth Bar Tape Apr 13, 2010

I’ll never put cork on this bike. It’s either bike ribbon or cloth tape for me and I usually lean to the latter more for comfort and daily use. Typically Tressostar, Velox or Cat Eye are your choices. All are perfectly fine bar tapes but once and a while, the new kid on the block deserves some credit. In comes Newbaum’s Cotton Cloth Bar Tape.

Check out the rest of the review below.

The guys at Newbaum’s sent me a box of bar tape a few months ago. It’s made in the USA, using eco-friendly dies and comes in 14 colors.

It was the perfect opportunity for me to re-wrap the bars on my Merckx pista.

Off with the Cinelli Pista bars and stem and on with the 1a and Criterium bars.

Sure, it looks fine and dandy but how does it perform as a bar tape? Like all bar wrap, you’re supposed to be pull the hell out of it when you’re wrapping your bars. This ensures the tape won’t slip or uncoil from normal, every day riding. Some bar tape rips or snaps when you do this and I generally avoid those brands. Newbaum’s Cotton Cloth Bar Tape pulled beautifully to the contours of my road drops.

The adhesive back is just enough to let it stick and the grade cotton they use keeps the tape soft. I’ve never been a fan of wearing gloves on cotton tape and the texture of this stuff is perfect for that. You can see here what the wear is like after two months or so of riding. Granted, I’m not on this bike every single day but I do ride it a fair amount and it’s held up just as well as other manufacturer’s tapes. It even held up on a few spills and that’s the true measure of a bar tape’s resilience.

Now, instead of trying to track down the vintage cloth bar tapes, I have an option and one that comes in a variety of colors and is environmentally sustainable. If your LBS doesn’t carry Newbaum’s, ask them why not? If you’re looking for a local shop that does, here’s a list of their current stockists:

Rivendell Bikes, Walnut Creek, CA
Box Dog Bikes, San Francisco, CA
Missing Link Bicycle Cooperative, Berkeley, CA
Corner Cycles, Falmouth, MA
Vic’s Classic Bikes, Louisville, KY
Velo Cult, San Diego, CA
The Bicycle Church, Santa Cruz, CA
Bikerowave Cooperative, Los Angeles, CA
Orange 20 Bikes, Los Angeles, CA
Open Road Bicycle Shop, Pasadena, CA
Elliot Bay Cycles, Seattle, WA
North Portland Bikeworks, Portland, OR
Cory the Bike Fixer, Milwaukee, WI
ASUCD Bike Barn, Davis, CA
Urbanistic Tea and Bike Shop, Denver, CO
2020 Cycles, Seattle, WA
Chari & Co., New York City, NY

Thanks again guys! I’m set on this stuff!

Newbaum’s Cotton Bar Tape

  • Edward

    How do you rate the Cateye stuff? We can’t really get Newbaum’s over here in NZ, but we can get Cateye.

  • I found it to be ok. Not as soft as the Newbaums.

  • I picked up a couple rolls of this recently. It’s the jam. My biggest beef with the french brands is it is so hard to pull, wrap and bend without creases. This stuff is awesome and is on par with older cateye and viva and sugino IMHO.

  • Nick

    Just to throw a little love at my LBS… Manifesto Bicycles in Oakland, CA carries this stuff too.

  • I’ve been sitting on a couple rolls of these for a month or so, until I wrapped my girlfriend’s bars this weekend past. These things feel nice!

    Glad to see they’ll hold up for a while, too.

  • I’m slightly kicking myself for only requesting white, gray and black. haha… Time to go buy some more black tape. I wanna wrap my track bars with it too.

  • Recently picked up a couple rolls from Rivendell. I love this stuff! Definitely going to wrap all my bars with it from now on.

  • Superb in Boston has it as well. Planning on picking up a couple rolls when my current tape wears out.

  • shameless plug: Bicycle Revolutions in Philly stocking all colors now!

  • Edward Scoble

    Looking at the photo, I’m not quite sure how much better is that tape than the other normal cotton tape that you usually get from LBS for a quid or two.

  • Sean hit it on the head too:

    “My biggest beef with the french brands is it is so hard to pull, wrap and bend without creases. This stuff is awesome and is on par with older cateye and viva and sugino IMHO.”

    dead on…

  • Jacob Riddle

    I have been hounding a couple of LBS here in Cincinnati and none are carrying it yet. Do you know of anyplace online I can order it or are you interested in selling any of it?

  • doug

    I’ve got some on my road bike and my camping bike.

    It feels fine. Nicer than Tressostar, on par with the Japanese stuff I’ve bought from Rivendell. Is that Cat Eye?

    As far as wear: it’s getting smoother. I can’t tell if it’s wearing faster than the others I’ve used, which I’ve always replaced every six to ten months, when holes and tears start to get really bad.

    Also, 2020 in Seattle, my local shop, sells it for $5.00 for a bike’s worth. A great deal!

  • Wepass

    This is great stuff. The colors are really really good, the feel is good, and the rolls are longer, so you have more leftovers for later.

  • Just had Superb (of Boston, MA) throw some on my Mom’s Colnago and she’s loving it- recommend!