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This is kind of a frivolous bike question, but I am rebuilding a 1980s road bike to look like an old French porteur bike. The frame of my bike is a light silver blue color and I'd like to swap out the current saddle with a Brooks Aged B17 saddle. But I can't seem to find handlebar tape that matches the Brooks Aged saddle. Any ideas?

I've attached a photo of the road bike (a 1982 Miyata). The drop bars will be replaced with VO Belleville bars and Dia Compe inverse brake levers and, of course, the saddle in the photo will be replaced with a Brooks B17 Aged saddle. Besides leather I'm open to cotton cloth tape and could do a shellac coating but don't know what color cotton tape and shellac to use to match the Brooks saddle. I find photos on Amazon, etc. tend to show one color and when the product arrives it's a completely different color.

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    This is just a guess, but I bet that Newbaums Dark Khaki with shellac.net dewaxed platina would get you in the ballpark. Its never going to be perfect because shellac has a sheen and the aged Brooks are kind of matte. Oct 22 '16 at 22:06
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    When was matching saddle and bar tape ever considered frivolous? There's two types of riders, those that consider the aesthetics of their bikes and animals....
    – DWGKNZ
    Oct 23 '16 at 10:21
  • Given that theres an easy solution to rule #8: velominati.com/the-rules (black, black, black)..
    – Batman
    Oct 23 '16 at 13:00
  • Aside - Do I perceive a piston-head as a pedal prop for the photograph?
    – Criggie
    Oct 24 '16 at 20:52
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    So, I'm going to go with leather. The cotton tape and shellac is beautiful but it's true that the sheen is going to clash with the matte finish of the Brooks aged saddle. Thanks for all the great feedback!
    – MNRC
    Oct 25 '16 at 16:39
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Brooks makes leather bar tape for some large amount of money (I think 75-100 USD), which matches their saddles.

They also make a cotton bar tape in a similar color (for some large, but not as large amount of money).

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    Something to consider as well is that the undyed leather that the Aged saddles are made with will darken and change color over time. They start out light, but will darken quite a bit with use. Eventually, they end up just a shade lighter than the Brooks brown color (it will take several years, however)
    – JonR
    Oct 23 '16 at 6:49
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    The Brooks tape is so nice, though. It's hard to go past it if you want a really nice looking bar tape to go with the saddle (assuming you like the look of the Brooks saddle, anyway).
    – Móż
    Oct 24 '16 at 0:24
  • As a grad student, I would like to note that I could buy some regular bar tape and months worth of ramen for the price of the brooks tape.
    – Batman
    Oct 24 '16 at 0:39
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    Yes, but Brooks is not for the likes of you. You're in the market segment "will boil then eat Brooks bar tape" :)
    – Móż
    Oct 25 '16 at 23:33
  • Oddly enough, I do own a Brooks B17, cause it came with a bike I bought off eBay. =)
    – Batman
    Oct 26 '16 at 0:44
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Many people sew their own leather grips. It's easy enough to buy an old leather handbag, belt, or jacket at a thrift store that matches the color; cut it into strips; and sew it up using leather sewing thread or cord available at craft supply stores.

Google search for DIY handlebar wrapping

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  • Sounds nice but I don't have the skills to convert a leather handbag into bar tape! Though that would make the color matching process much easier.
    – MNRC
    Oct 25 '16 at 16:37
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As one answer suggests brooks makes their own handlebar tape and it is really nice with cork bar end plugs. As also noted it is not cheap.

In addition as another answer suggests, you could make your own. That being said, if you don't feel overly creative you could let someone else make them, think etsy.

Search "leather handlebar tape" and some really nice options crop up with varying price levels. Here are a few I found with a quick search.

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Happy trails!

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