When the weekend/holidays are over, it is time to look at your bike. Notice the bar tape on the handle? From time to time, most bikers fails to notice this crucial part of their bikes.
Changing your bar tape gives you a solid, secure surface to hold on to, and changes the look of your bike. Follow us as we show you how to install new bar tape on your bike.
As one of the primary contact surfaces between you and your bike, your bar tape gets dirty and will wear out. It may also be torn or scuffed in a fall. Nothing screams “poorly maintained bike” more than a scruffy bar tape, so take the time to replace your bar tape when needed, or even if you just want to change the look of your bike.
Start by removing your old bar tape and cleaning the handlebars with a mild solvent. If your bar is aluminium, then thinner will work. For carbon handlebars, use a milder solvent like lighter fluid or WD-40.
Using electrical tape, route your gear and brake cables along the handlebars and tape them down. Some handlebars may have indented channels for cables. If your handlebar has internal cable runs, then this step is not necessary.
Starting from the bottom end of the handlebar, cut a short diagonal strip, and place the bar tape on the end, leaving a short edge overhanging the end of the handlebar. If you are wrapping the right side, wrap in an anti-clockwise direction, and clockwise for the left side of the handlebar.
Wrap the bar tape around the handlebar with an overlap. The overlap should be far enough apart that the bar tape lies flat when you grip it. If you have large hands, place the overlap closer together to thicken the wrap. While wrapping, maintain a strong but even tension on the bar tape as you wrap. The tension should be high to feel like the bar tape is about to tear, but not quite.
When you reach the hoods, peel the hoods back and place a short length of bar tape to cover the gaps when you wrap. Some bar tapes are supplied with a short length of tape. If not, cut a short length, about 4 cm long. Wrap the the bar tape in an ‘X’ over the hoods, ensuring that there are no gaps, and continue on.
Depending on your riding preference, put the overlap a little closer on the tops of the handlebars, if you spend a lot of time with your hands on the hoods or top of the handlebar.
As you reach the end, take into account if you are mounting anything on your handlebars, such as aero bars, GPS or cycle computer mounts or lighting. Cut another diagonal, which will allow the tape to lie flat and finish off square. Tape down the end with a little more electrical tape, plug the bar ends with the supplied end plugs, and you’re done! Some bar tapes come supplied with a length of tape stamped with the logo. You can use this to cover the end for that professional look.
**Remember, for best results, get your hands very clean before you begin, and keep an even tension on the bar tape as you wrap.