Welcome to GamJams Midwest Tech, where we check out new gear and gadgets designed for bike racers like you.
Like any good racing cyclist (good meaning diligent, not fast), I have a pile of parts on and around my workbench that can best be described as, "I'll need that someday."
This is, of course, an easy way to justify hoarding. In all reality, I will not be using most of those parts again — not for any reason other than to take up space. But last week, I actually DID find a use for spare bits that have been hanging around for years.
In the summer of 2009 (probably), when I was assigned to clean out random crap at the bike shop, I came across an unused set of Bontrager IsoZone gel pads. For some reason, I decided I'd definitely need those someday.
At the time, I used flat-top bars and Fizik bar tape. Though standard Fizik tape is unpadded, a flat-top bar provides more surface area and helps lessen vibrations compared to a round bar. Because of that, I don't wear gloves except in races. I just don't need the padding. And I had no reason whatsoever to take those pads home.
I switched bikes in the fall, going to a round bar in the process. The stock tape was a gel-cork style, so going sans gloves was no big deal. But with spring looming, I decided to freshen up the bike in preparation (new tape, chain, brake pads, cables, etc.) last weekend. But now I'm faced with round bars and unpadded tape. What to do?
Someday has finally arrived for that old bar padding. After trimming the top section down a bit — it went too far toward the hoods intially — I positioned it in what I thought was the ideal spot and wrapped it up. It added the slightest amount of bulk (maybe 1mm?) and offers just a little bit of cushion. It's by no means squishy, and it should do the trick.
similar setup from Fizik. Because it won't get dirty or otherwise exposed to outdoor nastiness, a set of gel pads will likely last for years. For those who with hand or wrist issues, it might be $20 well spent.