How to Tape a Road Handlebar
Over time, your fresh handlebar tape will wear out – becoming uncomfortable and appearing dingy. It’s fairly cheap to replace and not hard to do (it just takes a little practice,) so change your handlebar tape whenever it is worn down.
- Handlebar tape
- Electrical tape
- Scissors or knife
To remove your old handlebar tape…
1. Remove old tape
Tear off old tape. Just be sure not to damage the handlebar.
2. Clean bar.
Wipe bar with rubbing alcohol if necessary, to remove any residue.
3. Let handlebar dry.
Let the handlebar dry before moving on…
Starting with a clean and dry handlebar, do this:
1. Short tape.
Flip the brake lever hood forward. Take the two short pieces of tape that came with the new rolls, and use them to cover up the exposed metal section of the brake lever clamp.
2. Figure out the bar.
Preparing to tape the bar… The taping will go from the bottom ends of the bar up to the middle of the bar (beside the stem.) We will also be taping the bar toward the inside. That means we’ll tape clockwise on the left side of the bar and counterclockwise on the right side of the bar.
This way the tape will be less likely to unravel. (When taped from the other direction, pressure from your hands pushes the tape apart, forcing you to retape the bar.)
3. Now we can start taping the bar.
Start taping so that half the first tape wrap hangs over the edge of the bar. This allows you to tuck it into the bar and push the bar plug in there to hold it in place.
Then overlap the first section that is still over the bar, and continue taping up the bar, towards the brake hood. Keep tension on the tape the entire time so that the tape doesn’t unravel as you go. You should be be overlapping about 1/3 of the tape on each pass.
4. Hugging the curves.
For the curved sections of the bar, you will need to adjust the taping slightly. When wrapping, overlap more on the inside of the curve. You will probably overlap 2/3 of the tape on the inside of the curve and just 1/3 on the outside of the curve.
5. The brake hood.
If you didn’t use those little extra pieces of tape on the clamp, you would have to wrap a “figure 8” around the hood to get a clean looking tape job. Wrapping a figure eight is still a cool way to tape the bar, but it’s not required, and sometimes the tape isn’t long enough. Instead, you can simply wrap around the brake clamp as you have been wrapping around the bar.
Just make sure to keep things tight, and cover all of the exposed sections of the bar and brake lever clamp.
6. Another curve.
For the top curve, use the same strategy as with the curve in the drops section.
7. Finishing touches.
At this point, you should be nearing the stem. Hold the last tape wrap in place with your fingers and then wrap electrical tape around it to hold it. You could use the tape that came with the bar tape (but it’s usually crappy,) so I’d use regular electrical tape – use a neat color if you want to make a fashion statement!
To get the end to be even, you can either wrap the tape back over itself so that it is perpendicular to the bar, or cut a diagonal section off the end of the tape.
Repeat steps 3-7 for the other side of the bar, and you’re done.
This video will show you how to tape the drop handlebar on your road bike.
And then for more fun. Taping for Peter Sagan: