Want to add some color to your handlebars?
Or just need to change out the old tape? Knowing how to install your own handlebar tape is an essential skill.
A well-thought-out handlebar wrap takes into account the way your hands sit in the drops so that the tape lasts long and provides the cushion and slip-proof grip you need for long days in the saddle.
"If your thumbs sit more toward the top of the bar, it means your hands roll more to the outside," explains bar-wrapping expert Mike Spilker of High Gear Cyclery in Stirling, New Jersey, the former head mechanic of the Navigators Insurance Pro Cycling Team. "That means you want to wrap away from you." (That's clockwise on the right, counterclockwise on the left, so that the natural roll of your hands goes with the tape instead of pulling it loose.) "If your hands roll more to the inside, wrap toward you," Spilker says. (Or, counterclockwise on the right, clockwise on the left.) Take a test spin with your hands on the base of the drops to figure out which direction is right for you.
What you need:
1. Electrical tape
2. Bar tape (usually comes packaged with two short pieces for brake levers, if not cut your own 3-inch pieces)
1. Find a secure location for your bike. A repair stand is preferable because it will keep your bike still while you work.
2. Tape your cables down. Tape them down in multiple places so that they won’t get in the way while you wrap and will be covered evenly.
3. Roll up the material that is over the part that connects your brakes and handlebars. Cover the brake-lever clamps with the 3 inch short pieces of bar tape so it is evenly protecting them on both sides.
4. Start the roll of bar tape at the bottom of the bar. Have a bit of excess coming off the bar.
|Photo from Slowtwitch.com|
6. When you get to the bend you want to still cover half of the previous tape. You don’t want to leave space. Go under the bend, and then over, and do this a couple times so to cover any exposed bar near the brake-lever clamps. Pull very tight so that no flaps are created.
7. Once you have wrapped the bend continue wrapping until the end, over all of the taped cables. Wrap a couple times after your preferred end point, and cut your tape.
|Photo from slowtwitch.com|
8. When you get to the end (the midpoint of the two handlebars), use the electrical tape to tape down the bar tape. Use about a foot of electrical tape and wrap tightly.
9. Repeat steps 2-7 with other handlebar.
10. Insert your plugs at the end of each handlebar, making sure all excess tape is snugly pushed underneath the plugs.