|This is a roll of handle bar tape. You need to get used to seeing this more.|
This isn't just me saying some cyclists have poor taste, (although one could make that argument here), no- It is much more than that. It is unsanitary, and potentially unsafe from a catastrophic failure standpoint. Let's take a closer look......
When you ride, you sweat. That sweat goes .......somewhere. It either evaporates into the air, gets absorbed by your clothing, or it drips off on to several different places. One of the most common places on a drop bar bike that sweat ingresses is at the hoods/handle bar area. Your bar tape absorbs this sweat, generally, and keeps that sweat trapped against the (usually) aluminum bar where it starts to corrode the bar. This causes what is known as "crevice corrosion" of the aluminum. If left unchecked, this corrosion can cause catastrophic failure of aluminum handle bars. What happens when your handle bar suddenly fails? You don't want to find out. This is especially troublesome with those who use indoor cycling training apps and ride stationary for much of the cooler weather months.
Recently N.Y. Roll had his bike worked on and it required that he have his bars unwrapped. This revealed some nasty corrosion, and in fact, his bar fell in two pieces during this unwrapping! I actually saw the bar and it was about the thickness of a pop can at the point where it had corroded away. N.Y. Roll was lucky, and I bet he will be wrapping his bars more often now.
So, why do people get upset when their handle bar tape doesn't last two years? (Unless they ride only a couple hundred miles a year, then, yeah) I don't get it. Cheapo handle bar tape is actually not too bad these days and you can get a set of rolls to cover your bars for less than three fancy IPA's at a bar. I dunno..... I just don't see the logic in trying to make it over a year on one roll of tape. It just isn't sanitary, (think of wearing the same underwear for a year!), or safe. Why take the risk?
Oh, you say you can't wrap your bars? If you want to learn, it isn't that hard to do. Don't want to bother? Have someone you know that has the skill do it, or, ya know.....your local bike shop could do this. But at any rate, just don't run the same tape for more than a season. It's gross if you do and potentially not safe. Besides, you can change up the look of your bike, use different colors, or, ya know, just be the same-ol-same-ol and use black. Whatever you do, change that bar tape more often!