So last night I decided to take my bike back to my LBS for new rim tape and to change out the (old and busted) bar tape instead of doing it myself. The bar tape on Lady Rainicorn is very old, slightly ripped and has zero cushion. The first couple rides were definitely an adjustment from EDM, with her plush bar tape. My reasons for asking the shop to do these tasks are two-fold:

1. because while replacing the rim tape seems straight-forward and easy, I don’t really want to have to take off and put my tires back on AGAIN.

2. I’ve never done it before and kinda just want someone else to take care of it for me right now.

So I started thinking about maybe changing the color of my bar tape from white to …. what? Red? Blue? What would look awesome and what would just look super dumb? I mean, we’ve all seen bikes that look amazing – and more bikes that are just not well thought out.

awesome? or overkill?
bright blue bar tape?
red bar no tape

Ultimately I chose to get re-taped with white because my hoods are white and I thought white hoods on red or blue bar tape would be awkward. And the guy selling me the tape insisted it’s a “classic” look.

What do you think? Have you played around with color for your saddle/bars/wheels? Please share in the comments (bonus points for photos)!

* * * * *

ETA: Just picked up LR from the shop (excellent turn around since they told me it might not be until Wednesday next week). Finished the white bar tape with …black duct tape (really? y’all didn’t have white duct tape?) and black plugs. Replaced the original seat with a Terry Liberator X Gel in black. So now the color scheme is all messed up and my bike looks hodge-podge.


(previously it was white bar tape, finished white, with chrome plugs. And a white seat.)


oh well for now.

Author: Laura

wife. mother. kick-ass girl. all mountain, all road adventurer by bike.

19 thoughts on “Color”

  1. My bike is black and my tires are (dirty) white. I love playing with colors. I wish funky tires would come in my width. I have mtn bike handle bars, so no tape. But we toy with the idea of switching out the handle bars for drops and double shifters. I would definitely play with color in that case.

    1. If I hadn’t just replaced my tires on LR, I’d totally consider a different color. EDM has white-walls (Vittoria Rubino Pro –, something I’d have never considered prior.

      On my last group ride, I noticed someone had matched bar tape with the sidewalls (both a rich blue color), which looked snazzy.

      I am just not a fan of people who are like “YES! Red flames bar tape! I must have it!” even though it matches exactly NOTHING on their bike. I’m trying to Not Be That Person.

      1. Your bike is so full of color and character that additional color, IMO, would only enhance her beauty 🙂 Just not flames. Ever. Oh. Or animal prints. Do they even make that?? Anyone who considers it should not be allowed to ride. Not that I’m judgemental 🙂

      2. I think you should stick with red! As for that leopard print – no one should be allowed to do that to a bicycle!

  2. I go with red, white and blue… Red bike, white bottle cages, blue bar tape. Second road bike I did up like that. Last one was blue and white bike with red bar tape. Some might see than as hokey but I don’t care… I dig it.

  3. My bikes still have the colour scheme they came with, however I am thinking of mixing up my road bike with flourescent green bar & aero tape for my Ironman to match my race belt! Lol! Here is a pic of the Orbster – and here is a pic of Marvin – I have also put a new black female saddle and GP4000S tyres on the Orbster, for comfort and safety reasons.

  4. Question – how did you find so many bikes that look like yours with the various coloured tape?!?!?!?!

    And … since I just got a bike … I am in the process of getting used to it….I have not even thought of bar tape (yet).

    Also, I noticed that mine has the cables wrapped beneath the tape….which is sort of nice as it stays out of the way. (Apparently it helps with the aerodynamics too? But we are talking about ME…really?!?!?! lol) And while this is good I think…it makes it hard for me to fit a light on it…and now I am not sure where to put the garmin.

    1. Praise Science, I found the pics with a google image search for my bike’s make a model. 🙂 I also saw a lot of neutral and meh color schemes.

      I’ve had my Felt for over a year now and I get a lot of compliments on her current color scheme (jade green with raw carbon for the frame, black bar tape, white saddle and white-walled tires, and tiny red accents in unexpected areas like where the QR skewer meets the frame) See here:

      I just swapped the saddle for a gray one, so it still looks on par with the overall scheme. If I were to retape the bars, I’d probably go black since there’s no need to mess with success.

      But for my commuter, I bought her because I loved her retro-tastic paint job. The only reason I’m thinking about changing things up is because things need to be changed out. I’ve ridden for a few months on decrepit bar tape – time for something that doesn’t hurt so much. Minimalism is great – except when you want some cushioning between you and your bar. 🙂

      1. Oh … I had to make the photo larger…and even then, if you had not pointed out where the red was i would never have seen it. I had to stare for a bit lol

  5. One convention is that the colour of the bar tape should match that of the saddle. I think this is a safe choice but is neither here nor there, particularly when you are actually riding the bike, obscuring the saddle colour. If they complement or contrast without clashing, I think it’s fine. In any case, I’m not really a fan of matchy-matchy stuff. Furthermore, there is more to a bicycle than just a handlebar and a saddle, so if the colour of each picks up on or complement the colour of other parts of the bike, then I think it’s fair game.

    As for the bar tape colour in relation to the brake lever hood colour, I do not think it’s offensive if they match, but I do tend to agree with the people at Rivendell Bicycles that it looks better in contrast, not matched, for example, black hoods with white tape.

    All that said, I think Jim has the right idea: whatever suits your fancy. It’s your bike.

    1. Thanks! I tried a black saddle with the white bar tape and the bike just didn’t look right. I swapped on my old crappy seat from my nice bike because it is white with black and red accents and it looks so much better.

      I’m currently on the hunt for quality tires in either blue or orange in a size 25 or 28 … so far no luck. The good tires with color are all 23s. The search continues.

      1. Cream coloured tyres (not white) always look good on vintage bikes so you might consider cream. Schwalbe Durano 25s come in cream (ok that sounded a bit dodgy).

      2. Go to amazon and search for ‘colored fixed gear tire’. It just might start to look like Christmas… 🙂

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