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  • 19Apr

    How to wrap handlebar tape like a pro

    Lets take a sec and talk about the easiest makeover you can give your bike to make it look fresher instantly! A makeover that not only beautifies your bike but also provides a slip-proof grip and cushioning for your hands. You guessed it – we’re talkin’ ’bout handlebar tape!

    So, we all know what it is as it’s a fairly simple product.
    But how many of us really know what we’re doing when we attempt to glam up our ride?

    That’s what I thought.
    Southern Distributors hereby gives you a guide on how to wrap handlebar tape like a pro!

    Quite literally. We’re going to follow the guidance of the former head mechanic of the Navigators Insurance Pro Cycling Team Mike Spilker, who just so happens to be a bar-wrapping expert.

    If your thumbs sit more toward the top of the bar, it means your hands roll more to the outside. That means you want to wrap away from you. If your hands roll more to the inside, wrap toward you.

    Take a short ride around the block if you’re not sure which direction is right for you. Otherwise clamp your bike into your workstand and follow these instructions. 

    STEP I – Get rid of the past

    The first thing you do is to remove your old bar tape. Peel it off, and pop out the bar plugs. Make sure you scrape off leftover adhesive, and secure loose housing againt your bike’s handlebar with electrical tape. Make sure to wash your hands before handling the new bar tape. 

    If you don’t have anymore bar tape, you can get Newbaum’s HERE

    Newbaum's bar tape

    STEP II – Tight and right

    Grab your new handlebar tape and partially peel off the adhesive backing, and place the handlebar tape in your chosen direction. Start at the end of the handlebar and ensure that the adhesive strip is completely attached on the edge of the handlebar, and the rest hangs off. Now you can begin wrapping the handlebars. assuring a third to half of the tape-s width is overlapping to avoid gaps in between – cause then you’ll have to unwrap and start all over again. Always maintain a tension as you wrap. It should be enough to slightly stretch it but not so much that it tears. Note that in curvier bends on your handlebar you should overlap more inside of the curve and less on the outside.

    STEP III – Wrap and round it goes

    If your bar tape doesn’t come with two short pieces, cut a 3-inch piece from the roll. You’ll need this for when you’re wrapping brake-lever clamps. For the ultimate handlebar installation make sure you wrap the top frat section of the handlebar with the handlebar tape going over the top of the bar, toward the rider – regardless of your initial direction. This way, your hands will naturally work to tighten the handlebar tape as you ride. You’ll need to change direction at the lever clamp when you start wrapping outside; wrap as close as possible to the clamp, overlapping it by one-half to three-quarters the width of the tape.

    Following this, wrap under the clamp at the front of the handlebar (up against the inside of the clamp) and over the top of the handlebar (overlapping the clamp slightly). Again, check for gaps and re-wrap if you find any. If not, continue wrapping the top half of the handlebar. Wrap as close to the bottom of the lever clamp as you can before continuing over the clamp, when wrapping to the inside.

    STEP IV – Final touches

    This final step is a preference thing. When you’re at the point of ending your handlebar tape, wrap two or three turns beyond this spot and mark the finish point in the tape with scissors. Then, unwrap the handlebar tape, cut it at the marked angle and re-wrap it with a neat finish with the cut end at the bottom of the handlebar. Finally circle the end a couple of times with electrical tape to secure it in place. Final move: Go back and tuck the overlap into the end of the handlebar and insert the end plug (tap it in place with a rubber mallet if you need to), and pull the brake hoods down. And you’re done!


    Majority of photos in this post are from the Instagram blog @behindhandlebars 

    We hope you found this post useful! 

    If you want us to cover something specific, please let us know on Facebook and Instagram – we’ll be more than happy to!

    Hana, Southern Distributors 

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