Jim’s Tech Talk
By Jim Langley
Before we get to the tip, I want to make sure any of you shopping online for Shimano components, saw this warning about a bogus site.
This week’s tip is related to fellow RoadBikeRider scribe Greg Conderacci’s recent piece, Electrical Tape Can Be Your Best Friend, which you can read here. Don’t miss the comments at the end with readers’ tips – and add yours!
While I wholeheartedly agree that e-tape should be your BFF, and have used rolls and rolls of the stuff – mostly for finishing handlebar tape jobs, I have another sticky solution for bikes. It’s self-fusing silicone tape. This relatively new tape is available at most home supply and hardware stores and online. The one shown is about $5 at The Home Depot stores.
The advantage of silicone tape is that it sticks and fuses to itself. This solves the common problems with electrical tape of lifting at the edges over time or moving out of place. This might seem like a small thing. And, it’s easy enough to fix by replacing the electrical tape.
But, if you went to the trouble to use electrical tape in a complementary color (or if your mechanic did), it might be a challenge finding that same color again. Self-fusing silicone tape stays stuck much longer than electrical tape and should an end come free it will usually stick again if you press it back down. Because unlike electrical tape, silicone tape doesn’t have any adhesive on it to wear off/out.
Silicone tape is starting to become available in colors now, too. Here’s some on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3ChTXh4.
Because silicone tape fuses to itself, it’s handy for fixing other things on bicycles, too. For example, I used it to repair my old Power Tap watt meter’s “shark fin” that had cracked and was about to fall off my seatstay. A few wraps of silicone tape pulled tight sort of “tape welded” the fin together again and to my stay and it has held fast for years and even looks good.
According to Super Glue, their silicone tape also boasts:
- -a waterproof, airtight seal
- -insulates 8,000 volts
- -functions at -60 to +500 degrees fahrenheit
- -seals wet or dry leaks
- -has no sticky residue
- -is UV resistant, permanent and flexible
Maybe that’s why some bar tape makers (Silca) are starting to include silicone tape finishing pieces. Wrapping up, I think you’ll appreciate keeping this newfangled tape in your shop along with your electrical tape.
10,165 Daily Rides in a Row
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. He has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check out his “cycling aficionado” website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim’s cycling streak ended in February 2022 with a total of 10,269 consecutive daily rides (28 years, 1 month and 11 days of never missing a ride). Click to read Jim’s full bio.