16 June, 2009

VO Bar Tape, What Colors?


Tom has worked for months to find a mill in the US that can make cotton handlebar tape. Once he found one we went through a series of prototypes to get the weight, weave, and adhesive just right. Now, after dozens of prototype rolls, we're ready to start having it made. Here are some details.

  • It's USA made exclusively for VO.
  • The rolls are 10-feet long. That's longer than is standard so you can get a closer wrap or use it on mustache bars.
  • The weight is just a touch heavier than Tressostar tape.
  • Cost per roll will be about the same as Tressostar tape.
  • The three easy colors that we'll definitely order are black, white, and natural or un-dyed (a light tan) since those are dye colors the mill always has on hand.
  • We can any have any other color made; all that's required is the Pantone code for the color we want. But it will take six months to bring the color on-line and the minimum orders are substantial.
So the big question is what colors should we have made. I only want to start with just a few to see how this goes. It makes no sense to replicate Tressostar colors; only new colors will do. We've been thinking of light blue, dark green, and gold, but we're more than happy to consider suggestions. What colors would you like to see?

Also, fixed gear wheel sets are back in stock. Shimano 105/CR-18 wheels should be back late next week. And we will have a new Strumey Archer 3-speed/CR-18 rear wheel soon.

81 comments:

Anonymous said...

how 'bout a medium purple? it would turn a nice burgundy with amber shellac. or just be purple with clear, which is pretty cool, too.

johnson said...

terra cota and pea green. both would look good shellaced or not.

Greg said...

Hmmmm. I wonder what colour Velo Orange should stock. If only there were some sort of sign.

Schorsch said...

I'd like to see a nice blue-gray. Blue mellows out gray so very nicely.

Anonymous said...

How about colors that would produce close matches to brooks saddles when shellaced?

Kilroy said...

Greetings,

Asking for color suggestions on this blog is like.....
You may get some useful info, but then again you'll probably get the Crayola box of 64 mixture.
I suggest you look to the stock vintage colors used by past builders/painters that have stood the test of time and offer about 5-10 proven winners.
Of course, I'm partial to two of the classic colors-"black and dark black"

Best regards.

Emily said...

re: terra cotta and pea green

Naturally colored cotton comes in those two colors. I'd ask if the mill can get the naturally colored version. (no, it's *not* cheap) There aren't a lot of farmers growing it, but the cotton is really nice to handle and spin, and should make for a very durable product.

Otherwise, I'd just stick with white, black and off white.

Andrew Karre said...

Colors aside, I would pay quite a bit more for organic cotton. I am trying to stop consuming conventionally grown cotton.

Anonymous said...

I second the call for purple/burgundy. I have an old velosport with a marroon/burgundy saddle to which I have been trying to match bartape in vain for a while.
a medium brown (darker than milk chocolate, lighter than 70% chocolate) would also be nice

Allan

Gino Zahnd said...

Plum, celery, and olive green for starters, not unlike Viva. And if it's VO branded, then of course orange. http://jitensha.com/eng/tape_e.html

Kevan said...

Olive green.
Tuxedo blue (first generation Surly Pacer).
French gray.

Charlie said...

I agree with grey-blue and dark green.

I wonder if there are possibilities of choosing based on low-toxicity of the dyes--when I've looked at dying things, the MSDS sheets look horrible. Probably not a problem for the user, but the manufacture of the dye and the application of the dye must involve exposure and or risk of exposure for the workers and the environment.

Ian Dickson said...

You can already get nice, Japanese tape in light blue and dark green, though it costs more. Tressostar has most of the dark, bold colors covered. And doesn't Tressostar have gold already?

I would go for pretty colors, like lilac and pale yellow. "Girly" colors.

Anonymous said...

matcha green. Not too bright. Think of the softer, greyer cheaper matcha powder or something baked with it.

Fred Blasdel said...

I always wondered why noone produced an un-bleached un-dyed 'natural' cloth tape.

There are some colors you can't get now that I'd like: Lavender, Light Pink, and Medium Gray.

Anonymous said...

It may not work if the base color is darker than white, but a true hue yellow, I have a pantone guide at home, but the yellow now made is not even close to a true hue, too dark.

Anonymous said...

a medium or light blue grey and a medium green. I've seen a few bikes with an unknown medium green cloth and it looked pretty good, esp. on black frames. Made me think of old french absinthe ads.

Anonymous said...

Light blue, yes, yes.

Adrian said...

I'd love a bright, acid green. (More toward the yellow end of the spectrum but more saturated than pea green)

Anonymous said...

Green. I'm not picky about the particulars: it's so hard to find green bar tape anywhere.

garrett b said...

All these suggestions are great. Here's mine:

-olive green
-maroon
-Orange!
-honey (when not shellacked)

SprocketScientist said...

How about... Black, White, and Natural.

Rit dye is cheap and comes in many colors.

or the obvious Orange.

Anonymous said...

What? Nobody's asked for Celeste yet?

christopher lee said...

hmm, how would gold look shellaced? probably like urine. is it possible too get polka dots a la "maillot à pois rouges".
i'd like hot-hot pink or or a seafoam, but not celeste.

Brian said...

Purple!!

Gary said...

-Orange
-Green (just a tad darker than John Deere)
-Rich, dark Grey.

Gary said...

RIT dye landed me on oral steroids for a month. Be careful with that stuff. I stupidly didn't wear gloves once when I was hand dying a shirt and the next day my eyes were swollen shut (think Rocky Balboa).

Justine Valinotti said...

Chris, all of the colors you mentioned in the blog sound good. To them, I would add the purple/burgundy, lilac/periwinkle (OK, I like purple), terra cotta, (which someone else mentioned), crimson/scarlet and a gray like that of the Berthoud bags. (BTW: You should offer VO bags in that color.) And, of course orange. You could do an Eddy Mercx-type orange and a more amberish hue of orange, which would shellac nicely.

That should cover what most

Anonymous said...

Asst. Tartan Plaids ?

Sean said...

Dark green (hunter/forest/British Racing) - ideally it'd approach the color of green Brooks B-17 specials.

Andy said...

Mixed threads using leftovers could be really beautiful. A la Japanese zanshi cloth.

From SRI Threads: "Zanshi ori is a type of cloth that utilizes leftover yarns from various spools; the leftovers are generally used for the weft yarns, while the warp yarns are set in a standard fashion."

Rick @ Bicycle Fixation said...

A good light chocolate brown--I second that! Goes with any of the warm colors--I use it on both my orange bike and my brown (Rustoleum "anodized bronze") bike, but the stuff i can find (Cateye or Tresso) is too light.

A tasteful oxblood hue would be wonderful as well. Imagine a nice randoneuse in red and cream with honey saddle and oxblood tape!

rob hawks said...

Sad to see there aren't that many suggestions for shades of blue. I'd like a medium blue or slightly darker. The light blue I've used before did not shellac well at all and was not any shade of blue after shellacing. At any rate, blue, blue, blue.

Anonymous said...

Make tie-dyed bar tape.

Peace, pot and micro-dot,
Jerry

Missoula Flood said...

I second the "matcha green". I also like the idea of longer rolls. I always seem to need more then I have.

Anonymous said...

red, white, blue. made in the u.s.a. nice to meet you in indy . great show at nahbs can't beat an american graown company with worldwide asdpirations. god bless!

AH said...

Purple!

M said...

Olive green. Plum. Burnt orange. Honey. Avocado.

The first two would have a broad audience, the others are just for me.

Anonymous said...

a red wine colour burgundy i know this shade was already commented on but hopefully theres a pattern for a stylish and pleasing colour starting to take on it's a hue you dont see that often but would look good on alot of retro builds

guidon said...

Bright yellow gets my vote. It calls attention to the bike, and that's what I want in traffic.

Anonymous said...

Too echo previous posts; Orange, terra cota, lilac, salmon, and pea green. The natural that is already planned sounds great! The extra length too. I would also pay extra for organic cotton, the chemicals used on the conventional grown and processed crops are intense.

Anonymous said...

Purple would have been my first choice for my purple bike, although it looks good with grey Tressostar. My daughter wants a purple bike now, so maybe the market for purple is there.

Uncle Ankle said...

Pure saturated cyan.

Uncle Ankle said...

Also, another vote for unbleached, undyed organic cotton.

Jake said...

chalk blue!

Satchel said...

Definitely dark green - I'll put in my order for 10 rolls right now.

As someone said above, a near match to the green used by Brooks would be great. There's nothing prettier imo than a very pale light grayish blue rando with dark green saddle and bars! (See here - not my bike unfortunately - http://www.flickr.com/photos/28101304@N08/sets/72157605858042173/ )

Daniel said...

My vote is for a nice medium grey, about 40%. The only grey available anywhere is a very pale, denim-like blue-grey.

Daniel said...

Oh, and a note for the people who want burgundy/purple tape: using garnet shellac on bright red tape results in a lovely burgundy. For the people who want to match their honey Brooks: you can get that effect with amber or garnet shellac over yellow or white tape, depending on how old and dark your saddle has become.

john k novack said...

burgundy
olive green
periwinkle blue
burgundy!!

Alex said...

A color instantly says "BICYCLE", Celeste!

Anonymous said...

The CR-18/Sturmey Archer AW wheels are great news to hear. Will they be 700C, 650B or 650A (590mm)? This is great news for us old UK/British "club" bike riders.

Adam Orcutt said...

I would say Pantone 485. You can't go wrong with that one... unless you got a forest green bike. Then you would be better off going with like a Pantone354.

Anonymous said...

Why not organic hemp? That would be really cool.

Michael. said...

Another vote for unbleached/vegetable-dyed and organic. I would pay a premium, as would many others. Failing that, avocado/matcha-green would be nice, as would a tape made from recycled/rag cotton. For reference, check out these socks from Muji.

Will this tape be closer in texture to the tressotar style or to the much plusher and (imo) comfier Cat-Eye and Viva tapes?

Brian said...

you guys might try reading his post first:

"The three easy colors that we'll definitely order are black, white, and natural or un-dyed (a light tan) since those are dye colors the mill always has on hand."

Anonymous said...

Dark Gray
Dark Green - British Racing Green

Anonymous said...

I realize that a lot of work has gone into this project already but after giving it a little more thought it only makes sense that hemp tape is the logical extension of the VO bar line: Montmartre bars with "Montparnasse" or "Vingt-sept" tape (or "Toklas" if you must abandon any sense of subtlty or pretension).

Anonymous said...

My votes are:

Sage-y green
Minty Green
Chocolatey Brown (dark, darker than the Tressostar brown))

I'm not too concerned about shellacking because what's the point of special custom colors if you are going to shellac it!

Aaron Thomas said...

+1 for oxblood red.

http://www.colourlovers.com/imgDetail/1280/623/4A0000/oxblood_red.png

Novaturient said...

1 more vote for each of dark plum, burgundy / red wine, french grey, and a dark chocolate.

I think the pattern forming is for natural colours (as opposed to the chemical looking ones that are already on the market).

Not sure who white would appeal to, but to each his/her own I guess.

Hemp would be definitely be superior, and worth paying extra for, IMO.

Thanks for this Chris!

Anonymous said...

Can you get them in sparkle? I found a couple of rolls of sparkly green plastic tape in a sale bin, years ago, and some sparkly cotton would be interesting. I suppose I could raid the daughters' craft cupboard and add sparkles to shellac. I will let you know how that goes--a friend says "sparkles are the herpes of crafting--once you get them, you are never really free of them..."
M Burdge

Michel Houellebecq said...

You should sell bar tape,cloth and leather as well as VO brake lever hoods in colors that match brooks saddles. If you were to sell VO saddles in another color, say red or maroon you could supply matching bar material and hoods as well.

You could convince those middle age hipsters who have been dicking around with shellac for years after reading about it in the middle earth newsletter to buy new levers and tape to match their leather saddles. What are you going to do after you've shellaced both chainstays? You'll need a new project. VO brake levers with hoods and tape to match your saddles. Yes, that's what the world needs. Maching shoes!

antbikemike said...

I would like a color match to your saddles or a Brooks honey.

Anonymous said...

None more tan.

Anonymous said...

Celeste (Bianchi) Green would be nice.

Emily said...

The dyes typically used for cotton are fiber reactive dyes. They're Not Nice, from a chemical standpoint. If you take sensible precautions, they're pretty safe. MSDS can make any chemical sound worse than horrors out of Lovecraft. The big risk with most dyes is that the dye powder is an inhalation risk. You also don't want to apply dye to mucous membranes or ingest it.

The vegetable dye suggestion is not one I can get behind. Certain vegetable dyes will self-mordant on cotton, but in general it's a cast iron bitch of a problem involving chrome, copper or iron salts and a lot of KOH. The toxicity problems and waste disposal problems are pretty serious, and we haven't really come up with good technology to deal with them. And for large scale use, there are bigger problems because most dye plants are somewhat toxic and large monocultures of toxic plants is usually not the world's brightest idea. They're also massively invasive in a lot of temperate climates. Fun stuff.

That's why I voted for the naturally colored cotton. I've done a lot of dyeing and handspinning cotton, and the naturally colored stuff is a lot easier to handle.

Anonymous said...

Please, oh please make tape in "Grand Bois Hetre" red!
My old "rust" colored Cinelli cork won't last forever.
I'd buy 20 rolls.

Larry Fieman said...

celeste

Chris said...

Purple indeed. Or something between pink and purple.

a special kind of a light blue

dark grey

a dark kind of a rich green

Anonymous said...

Burgundy would be great.

Yuki said...

My vote goes for natural undyed, preferably organic, as well.

Thanks for all your work, VO!

~Ashley

abedrous said...

You should pick the colors that tressostar no longer makes. I think the orange is no longer made.

Filigree said...

Olive Green. Please!

Anonymous said...

purple for sure.

MMAARRKK said...

PMS 801 C
or
PMS 313 C

philcycles said...

White. You can make white tape ANY color with latex paint and shellac or color in the shellac.
Phil Brown

Anonymous said...

Pink! please.

Anonymous said...

Maroon, merlot, Burgundy...

Anonymous said...

I would love to see good old red, any yellow, and sky blue. Now all my bikes can sport classic bars. Thank you so much!
Joan

Beech said...

Any word on the tape colors? I'm still hoping for burgundy.

Anonymous said...

Chack out Greengrip.org, lots of cool colors