04 April, 2012

Top Tube Protector

In our early days we sold this VO leather track style top tube protector. It was made from very thick leather and intended to protect your top tube from being dented when track bike handlebars slammed into it. Bikes with brake cables usually don't get these dents because the brake cables "slow" the bars. Folks still email occasionally asking if we have any left.

Igor, our warehouse manager, wanted a top tube protector for a different reason. He wanted to protect his paint when he leaned his bike against a parking meter or street sign. But he didn't like the BMX-style top tube pads sometimes used for this purpose. So Igor made the protector below out of the elk hide that we use for bar covers.

I think it's a pretty good idea. It would work even better on a bike with a run of cable, rather than cable housing because it would fit under the wire better. Or you could sew it over the housing. In any case, do you think this is something we should make?

31 comments:

GeekGuyAndy said...

Yes, definitely. I couldn't find any good looking top tube protectors, so I sewed up my own this year. My use is for parking as well, not the bars turning. I used a black leathery material and sewed a wool lining on the inside and it looks pretty fancy. Because I generally only use it on Fridays on the way to the bar, I sewed on velcro so it's removable so I don't have to carry it on the long rides too. I can provide pictures if you want to see it.

Red said...

I think yes! Those are incredibly useful, but not tasteless as so many bmx-style ones are.

Noel said...

Yes! In addition to the uses cited in the post & comments, the occasional cyclocross portage that urban riding necessitates could be more comfortable with such a protector, both the weight on the shoulder as well as keeping over- or under-top-tube-mounted cables from biting hands & shoulders.

Danno said...

YES!!! I say you sell it at a certain length and customers have to cut to size for the length of top tubes and if needed cable stops.

I would totally use it on my cross frame turned commuter

Zoso said...

Yes, for protecting while locking up.

Frontal Lobe Industries said...

Actually, those wrappings look a little bulky - and that's a lot of elkhide to sew up. Also, I wonder how it would hold up in the rain. Maybe a little handlebar tape in those areas would do as well?

pesky said...

Yes, great for top tube protection when locking in the city. I actually asked my wife to sew me something similar out of fabric for the same purpose. This would be way better cause it would match leather saddles and all the other great leather stuff VO sells that I have.

I'd buy one.

Mason said...

I have been looking for such a top tube protector for some time. The only other option I can find is Japanese and something like $40-50.

justinjarboe said...

I'd buy two!

dwainedibbly said...

On my black Polyvalent I use a piece of electrical tape along the left side of the top tube. Cheap, very lightweight, easy to replace when necessary, and blends in.

scoobe said...

I use cotton tape and hemp twine for my town bike.http://www.flickr.com/photos/scoobeerichson/5193956154/

Trailer Park Cyclist said...

No. I am hard-pressed to see the value of these moisture trappers. How hard is it to take a thing as valuable and fine as a bicycle and not carefully place it when parking? It is one hell of a lot easier to put your bicycle into a position of rest than it is to parallel park a car. Are all of you so stupid and lazy that you need constant cushions for your carelessness?

Just kidding. I actually think that every last remaining animal on the planet should die so that we can finally get down to wrapping our stuff in human skin. (Can I get in trouble for this?) All I know is that when I park my bike, (my steel darlin') I don't need no dang buffer. Good Lord.

Raiyn said...

Yes, please.

Anonymous said...

I think the original one was the best! Classic looking and understated, it got better with age, and didn't shout out "Look at me!", while still attracting the attention of someone who appreciated a good looking piece of leather.

bicycletorch said...

No. There is nothing wrong with a little rubbing or even a small chip in the paint of a bicycle. Why go through the trouble of having a nice looking bike and then cover it up with a piece of hide, or synthetic corpse, or whatever. Protecting the top tube from a dent is one thing, but wrapping the entire tube so it "looks good", nope. If you are that vain about it, carry a parking cover with you, or just slow down when parking. Otherwise, repaint the bike after it has been well loved.

patrick said...

I say no. We all know that locking to the top tube makes for the most unstable lean and takes up the most space. Bikes that fall while locked are usually locked to the top tube. Locking to the head tube or seat cluster works much better. Then you'll be covering everything in leather. Of course that brings the dogs. Once one pees on your bike they all have to. Getting an elk hide top tube protector is just gilding the lilly.

Anonymous said...

I myself prefer using foam pipe insulation and a bit of electrical tape.

But which is a better consumption choice, using the remains of middle eastern dinosaurs or north american elk? Beats me.

Scott said...

I think it does look very good.

In regards to putting it under a run of cable, what do you guys think of creating a type of ferrule that would be inserted into road bike style cable guides to transform them into mountain bike style cable stops?

I'm looking at you, Polyvalent.

Anonymous said...

it might prevent scratches, but it wont protect against dent's like the original one....

i have an early 70s french bike and it has one of these bumpers. it is geared.

personally, for a top tube i would be interested in a nice die cut piece of 3M clear protective film. the kind they put on car bumpers.

i might be into the leather thing if you offer a set of matching chaps. NOT.

DubArchitect said...

Maybe -- I think that for daily commuters and city bikes, when the bike is constantly around sharp and shabby posts and other bikes being jammed in, this is a good option. I have a pad now and, while useful, it's ugly.

Anonymous said...

Yes please, make it with thick hide!I made two but the leather is not very thick. Please let me know so I order one for my bike.
Thanks
romosh@hotmail.com

Jake said...

definitely make them. I'll buy one. You should offer a black leather option too.

Richard Risemberg said...

Seem a bit long to me. I wouldn't use leather in any case, but I might use a less-expensive version of the Japanese ones, which look as though they're made of silicon rubber.

No matter where you attach the lock, the top tube often leans against the pole/meter/rack/etc.

Used to use a wrap of inner tube covered with electrician's tape, but the current bike is too pretty for that. Also, it has a chromed frame under the paint, so a scratch is not as big a deal.

Kilroy said...

Greetings,

I carry a one foot section of the white tubular styro-foam (packing material to protect bicycle tubes) in my pannier. At the end of my commute, I attach it to the top tube and viola!

No cost to you and you can recycle that packing material. Sorry, V.O.

Best regards

Anonymous said...

Sounds like people would buy it, but I think it mars the lines of the bike and looks, well, ridiculous.

Clara Holland said...

I solve this problem by having a bike with a terrible paint job.

Brent said...

I like the look of the original, too. Not as bulky-looking as the big one.

B

Chris Preovolos said...

At first, I thought yes. But then the local cobble cut and sold me some cow hide and heavy duty waxed thread for $5.

Anonymous said...

I wrap a bit of old bike inner tube around my top tube and chain lock.
Looks a little industrial, but works great and lasts essentially forever.
Mark

DubArchitect said...

I just sewed on some elkhide handlebar wraps, and used the scrap that was left for a 4" strip on my top tube. When taught it's the wrapped the full circumference of the steel top tube. Now I need to be good about aligning my bike to signs and still locking it up properly. So long, BMX style canvas tube!

Brett said...

Hell yes, great idea!