I have seen these on a few bikes. What is the purpose :S

3 Answers 3


It protects the frame from the handlebars. The handlebars, unrestricted by brake or derailleur cables, can rotate freely to the point that they can smack into the top tube. This is particularly easy to do when carrying the bike.

  • That pad will protect both the finish of the paint as well as prevent the bars from putting dents in your frame. A lot of drop bars will impact the frame with the bar ends which could cause more damage than the flat sides (which doesn't look plausible for the example bike, as the bars are dropped very low). Don't want to damage those pretty columbus tubes.
    – Benzo
    Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 17:27
  • 6
    It's ironic for someone without brakes to be worried about small scratches. :)
    – amcnabb
    Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 17:27
  • @amcnabb - most likely a "Track Bike" (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Track_bicycle) where the fixed hub allows you to pedal backwards and acts as a brake.
    – BillyNair
    Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 19:14
  • 1
    @BillyNair, pedaling backwards on a track bike can slow you down, but I would disagree that it "acts as a brake." And if track bikes were only used at velodromes, I would feel no need to be snarky. :)
    – amcnabb
    Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 19:18
  • 1
    All bikes use on streets should have 2 braking mechanisms. It's required by law in many places, and for good reason. What would you do on your fixie if you were headed down a hill and the chain broke or came off the chain ring? You would have no way to stop. Same reason for both front and back brakes. Sure you could stop with just 1, but it's nice to have a backup when one of the cables snap.
    – Kibbee
    Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 19:52

I have also seen them used to protect the paint while the bike is on a trunk mounted rack.


First off, track bikes cannot be slowed down by pedaling backwards. They are fixed gear bikes, which means that as long as the wheel is moving, the cranks are also moving (and vice versa). Track bikes are slowed down by using your leg muscles to slow down the rotation of the cranks. If you tried to 'pedal backwards' while moving at any decent speed on a track bike, you'd just hurt yourself.

Now, getting to the pad on the top tube, that is a protector that some riders use to protect the tube if it gets hit by the handlebars. Since there is no front brake or cables on the bike when one is racing, it's quite common, if one crashes, for the handlebars to rotate around and hit (and sometimes dent), the top tube. Track bars usually only have grips on the flat part of the drops, so you are risking metal to metal contact when that happens.

Do they add protection on a bike rack? Sure. Do they give your track bike some street cred? Definitely.

  • 1
    Hi, welcome to SF&F. Since this isn't a discussion forum, you should lead with your second paragraph which answers the question. You can leave the remainder at the end as an aside, or move it to a comment, but it doesn't belong at the start since it isn't strictly relevant to the question.
    – DavidW
    Commented May 20, 2020 at 2:22

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