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How to Wrap Bicycle Handlebars

Learn how to wrap handlebars from Silk Road Cycles' Brendon Nicholas in this Howcast bicycle repair and maintenance video.


Okay, now we're going to learn how to wrap a handlebar. So basically what you're going to do is you're going to make sure your cables and housing are already done. And you're going to wrap tape around the cables and housing, just to make sure that you keep them nice and secure. You also want to make sure that you pull back your hoods so you can get around them easily.

Then you take the handlebar tape; you're going to unravel it, or you can keep it raveled, either way. You start at the bottom going towards the outside of the bar; so leaving a little tiny bit so you can stuff it in with the bar plug. You want to make sure that you're taking time with this because you want to make sure that it's nice and even, and also that you're stretching the bar tape so in the future it won't move as easily; and making sure there aren't any gaps, like on the underside. A lot of times that happens, you'll have a gap on the underside.

So, I'm keeping a constant pressure, a constant tension on this bar tape, just to make sure that it's wrapping well and it's going to stay in place. There are a couple of different types of bar tape; this is synthetic, so it's made out of plastic. There's also cork bar tape, so you want to make sure that you're not putting too much pressure on it, where you're actually going to rip the tape. But you don't want to put too little, so it's just kind of a medium ground; just get the feel of it.

So as I'm getting close to the shift lever here, I'm going to go under the shift lever; and then this is kind of where a lot of biker mechanics do their own thing. So I'll show you the most common way. You take this little piece that it comes with; you're going to put it over the metal piece, right here, so it's not exposed. And once you get right underneath the bar there, then you're going to wrap up and over, making sure that you keep that tension on it, and making sure that the piece stays in place. and the reason that you go from the bottom to the top is so when you have your hands up here, or your hands like this, or your hands like this you're pulling down constantly, so you're not pulling against the grain, basically is what it is.

So with the tape, when I'm wrapping the tape, you want to make sure that you're overlapping, maybe anywhere from a quarter of the last wrap to about half. And it's really person preference, so the reason that you do less is if you wanted more feel on the bar, and you didn't worry about feeling all the vibrations from the road. If you do more basically it's like if you put gel in there; if you put extra layering in there, because then it's just a thicker wrap and you're not feeling as much of the bar.

So once you get close to the end what you need to do is you need to take a pair of scissors and make a cut diagonally so it flows with your wrap, and it tapes really easily.

So then as you make your last turn you can see that diagonal wrap makes it nice and finishes up. So then you take your tape and some people like to a lot of like tapping over the actual bar. I just like to do a nice clean one-strip around, maybe like two around, overlapping itself.

And then make sure to pull your hood back, and to take your end cap and plug the ends so the bar tape stays in place. And that's how to wrap your bar.

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