Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Phoenix Project - Toshi/Fujitoshi Stitch-On Leather Handlebar Wrap

Having selected the stem and handlebars for The Phoenix Project, we now need to cover the bars with something.

Based on my past experience, this was an easy choice.  Toshi, who can't make up their mind if that is their name or if it is Fujitoshi or even sometimes Toshikawa, makes an excellent choice with their stitch on bar wrap.  This is offered in genuine leather and a synthetic suede called Ecsaine.  Ecsaine is apparently a quality product as it has been used to grace the interiors of Lexuses, among other models.

I should perhaps note that Toshi used to make this bar wrap.  I see no signs of current production available and Ben's Cycle just has the remnants of an order from several years ago.

Their last remaining example of this product in olive leather just arrived last Thursday:

As well as being finely crafted with stitched edges, several years of usage of my previous example has proven the durability and suitability of this product for daily cycling usage.

Here is another shot out of the plastic:

It is hard to get the exact color in an indoor picture, but it is really army olive drab.  Some readers may question why olive bar wrap on a blue bike with a natural saddle.  If so, they may want to stay tuned for further episodes where the stunning perfection of this choice of color becomes clear.

Flipping the package over reveals the two flaws in this otherwise fine product:

The first is that only one blunt needle is provided.  This is very inconvenient for stitching the proper pattern for this type of wrap, two needles make it much more convenient.

For those curious about the proper pattern but don't want to wade through the my old entry on this product, here is a graphic illustration:

The second is that insufficient thread is provided for this proper pattern.  I carped about this bitterly in a blog post.  Shortly after that, Velo Orange started selling waxed thread for stitch on bar wrap, their own, they claim, in the length that I recommended.  Coincidence?  You be the judge.

So I ordered some of this up.  I also followed up my order with an email asking them for a couple of the blunt needles, which they graciously threw in gratis:

They call this color macchiato, which means "stained" in Italian. まちあと, pronounced "ma-chi-a-to" and rendered in hiragana, means "after the city" in Japanese. マチアト, also pronounced "ma-chi-a-to", but rendered in katakana used for foreign loan words, unsurprisingly means "machiato" in Japanese, presumably a reference to the coffee drink.

I just think it is tan, though.  I also think it matches the olive nicely:

It is worth noting that this choice of bar wrap renders moot the previous consideration of the Campagnolo Ergopower Shifters. There is not near enough slack in this wrap to stretch it over one aero-routed cable much less two. Some report that aero routing is doable with the Velo Orange elkhide wrap, so if you want the stitch on look and aero levers, that is the way to go.

Running Tally

$2562 USD

We bring forward $2505 USD.  To that we add $55 USD for the Toshi Stitch On Leather Bar Wrap in mysterious olive.  The stained, after the city Waxed Finishing Thread For Bar Wraps/Other Leathers was a mere $2 from Velo Orange.  I didn't give them anything for the two blunt needles at the time of purchase but I'll give them mad props now for being so helpful.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why did you order special thread? All you have to do is get ordinary thread in whatever thickness/colour you want and pull it against some wax (candle or beeswax even better). It coats the thread and that's it.