Back in Stock: Frame Tubing, Knickers, Bar Tape and Sealant

Keeping everything we sell in stock hasn’t been easy: Lockdowns in the U.S., Europe and Japan have interrupted production, and international shipping is taking longer than it used to. And in some cases, demand has increased as well. Temporary shortages are hard to avoid, but we’re working hard to keep everything in stock. We’ve just received a number of shipments, and many essentials are available again.

Our knickers continue to be popular, and it’s easy to see why: They avoid the tight-fitting lycra look, yet they complete disappear when you ride: They don’t inhibit your pedaling, and if there’s any aero disadvantage, it’s so small that it isn’t noticeable. We asked Matt who sews them here in Seattle to prioritize face masks over our knickers, but he’s caught up, and all sizes are back in stock.

The leather handlebar tape from Maware (above) is a favorite: It’s made from thin pigskin, so it wraps the bars smoothly without ridges at the edges that you get with some other tapes. The leather is grippy without being sticky. During last year’s Paris-Brest-Paris, this tape made me smile every time I changed my hand positions and felt its luxurious leather. The tape comes with leather-covered bar plugs, but like most ‘modern’ plugs, they tend to fall out. I usually use wine corks, but we also offer Nitto’s beautiful aluminum bar plugs. (Unfortunately, those are out of stock, with more expected in August.)

Framebuilders who’ve tried our Kaisei tubing have been raving about how straight the tubes are and how nice they are to work with. Developed for Japan’s professional Keirin racers, it’s fair to say that these are the best frame tubes in the world. Ours are made to our specifications with custom mandrels to offer each tube in lengths ideal for tall and small frames. With so many builders switching to Kaisei, we ran out of some tubes before the factory in Japan could make more. Now all tubes are back in stock, including our custom-bent chainstays for bikes with wide tires.

We’ve found SmartSeal to be the best sealant for supple tires. It seals the sidewalls better than most others, and it doesn’t seem to dry out as quickly. We just received another shipment.

One shortage that has caught the bike industry by surprise are tubes. With indoor fitness activities being unavailable or less-than-safe, many people have refurbished old bicycles, and that required more inner tubes than distributors had in stock. And perhaps the industry overestimated how many cyclists were running their tires tubeless? We believe that both tubeless and tubes have their place, and we’re glad that we’ve been able to supply most tubes in our program without interruption.

There are a few things that continue to be in short supply: some MKS pedals and Nitto parts, plus our waterbottles. We are expecting most of them in August, and we hope that the situation improves after that. For the items above, click on the photos for more information.

11 Responses to Back in Stock: Frame Tubing, Knickers, Bar Tape and Sealant

  1. Steve Green July 22, 2020 at 6:44 am #

    My Dad used the corks from Scotch malt wHisky bottles as bar end plugs.

  2. Mike M July 22, 2020 at 9:45 am #

    I heard from my local shop that they’re completely out of 26 inch tubes and haven’t been able to source more of them for a while. Lucky for me I’ve bought a couple of patch kits to keep my current crop of tubes going.

    • Jan Heine July 22, 2020 at 10:22 am #

      Patching tubes is really the environmental choice, too. If you do it in batches, it’s also quite cost-efficient. My ‘problem’ is that with an average of one flat per year, I don’t accumulate tubes like I used to.

    • SteveS July 22, 2020 at 12:42 pm #

      Knickers? The 1920s/1930s are back, but sound like a good idea, especially for touring.

      • Jan Heine July 22, 2020 at 2:44 pm #

        The reason knickers work so well is that they go over the knee, so they can be loose-fitting and not restrict your pedaling, yet they don’t catch the wind…

  3. Sean H July 22, 2020 at 2:41 pm #

    So if I submitted a warranty request over 30 days ago (June 21), and haven’t received a reply, is it because you had a mail glitch? I did receive a confirmation reply. Should I resend it? Thanks

    • Jan Heine July 22, 2020 at 2:43 pm #

      Yes, please resend it. Very sorry about this – a very small portion of the form entries weren’t delivered to us. We’ve been trying to go through all the entries on our server, but finding the missing ones is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Thank you for understanding.

  4. Rick Thompson July 23, 2020 at 1:34 pm #

    I switched from Orange Seal to SmartSeal about a year ago. Changing tires to endurance casing solved my sidewall seeping problem, so not dealing with that now in any case. Both sealants are very effective for goatheads.

    I have been seeing more problems with the SmartSeal clogging the valve mechanism, which did not happen to my memory with the OS. I put a drop of Boeshield in the valve each time when topping up sealant, but have had to replace a couple of valves recently jammed up with cured SS. Is this just me, or have you guys seen this and do you have a solution?

    • Jan Heine July 24, 2020 at 7:05 am #

      Sealant is obviously intended to close small holes, and the valve core is a small hole. The more effective the sealant, the more likely it’ll plug the valve.

      I’m not sure if there are ways to prevent this. I only bleed air with the valve at the top of the wheel, where (hopefully) all the liquid sealant has drained downward and away from the valve, and I haven’t had problems. (Knock on wood!)

  5. Ulrik Haugen July 24, 2020 at 1:31 am #

    As i’ve asked about Bicycle quarterly in the comments before, issue 72 turned up in Sweden on 2020-07-21 (this tuesday).

    Issue 71 arrived a while ago but i did not want to make a comment about it under the rune that was the current post then.

    • Jan Heine July 24, 2020 at 7:02 am #

      Thank you for the feedback. Really glad that international mail delivery seems to be returning to normal!