Wrapping the handlebars of your bike does a lot more than just making it look visually appealing. Handlebars are the most crucial part of the bike as they are used to control and maintain the bike’s balance. Therefore, it is important to tape up your bike handlebars sufficiently for firm grip and control over your bike.
Start on clean handlebars with no tape or adhesive on them. Begin wrapping at the open end and move inside. As you wrap, make sure to leave no gaps and ensure that the tape sits flat against the handlebars. Once the handlebar is neatly covered in tape, cut the free end of the tape – with this the handlebar wrapping is completed.
A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Wrap Your Bike Handlebars
As we’ve already discussed above, wrapping your bike handlebars can have a significant effect on your overall riding experience. You need to be careful and technically sound throughout each step. Therefore, to make sure you do the job right, here’s a thorough discussion of each step involved, allowing you to wrap your bike handlebars in the best possible manner.
Collect the Necessary Tools
Like any other procedure, collecting the required set of tools is necessary to ensure the job is done smoothly. In this case, you mainly need to have two items: the tape of your choice and an effective cutter to make sharp cuts. You can choose any of the top-rated wrapping tapes available in the market, like Supacaz Super Sticky Kush or Tempo Microtex Bondcush Soft.
In addition, you can opt for gloves as well if you tend to have sweaty hands during work. Gloves can also be good for protection against the sharp cutter and to prevent the adhesive of the tape from attaching to your skin. A measuring tape is optional, but it could come in super handy for taking exact measurements, so your wrap sits perfectly well on the handlebars.
Start with Clean Handlebars
First of all, having clean handlebars is the key to getting a professional-level final finish. To clean your handlebars, you need to get rid of any previous wrapping tape or residue left over. You will need to dig in and make sure not even the tiniest parts of the tape are left. Also, ensure that all leftover adhesive is removed. If left on, it will not only interfere with the wrapping process, but it will also make it difficult for the fresh tape to strongly stick onto the handlebars and will encourage the fresh wrap to come off soon.
You will require a solvent like an isopropyl alcohol to remove the adhesive. These solvents help dissolve the adhesive residue off in an instant and will help you get a squeaky clean finish. Apart from isopropyl alcohol, methylated spirits or hydrogen peroxide also do a pretty decent job of getting rid of any adhesive under the tape.
To make sure there is no residue of the previous tape left, remove the tape very gradually and slowly. The faster you try to rip it off, the more likely it is to shred off in bits and pieces.
Another great tip is to drip some isopropyl alcohol on the tape; it will dissolve the glue below the tape and help you easily remove the tape. Nevertheless, make sure to take it off in small patches and a slow motion rather than hurrying it, as that can be damaging to the handlebars.
Wrapping the handlebars can be a tricky job if accurate measurements are not taken, causing delays and loose taping. To guarantee a good wrap, you need to measure your handlebars from both sides and mark them. To start off the measuring procedure, begin over the edge of the stem on both sides and then mark the bars with a piece of tape on each side. This will make sure your tape is equidistant from the stem on both sides. Once your measurements are ready, it’s time to move on to the wrapping process.
Wrap The Tape Tightly and Correctly
Make sure to take your time wrapping the handlebars properly because poorly wrapped stretches of tape will make for an uncomfortable grip and uneven hold.
The focus should be on wrapping the tape flat by manipulating it. To do this, you need to stretch the tape a little, so it sits flat and does not get any bulges. Remember not to stretch it too much as it can cause wrinkles on the tape or even make it tear.
Different types of tapes require different levels of stretch, so you need to adjust it yourself accordingly. The best type of tape that can be used for finishing is self-fusing silicone tape; this variant fuses to itself and gives you a much stronger bond. To ensure that there are no uncovered gaps on the handlebar, make every new wrap overlap a third of the width of the previous wrap. This will also help give a more secure wrap.
You might notice yourself getting better at this with practice, so feel free to give it a few shots before finally settling for the right wrap.
Pay Attention to the Brake Detail
The trick to wrapping around the braking cables is to not do multiple wraps around them, as the handlebar tape will do that job for you. You just need to focus on the cables and see if there are any grooves that will make the cables stay in place. If yes, you don’t need to waste lots of tape wrapping around the cables for no reason. Simply hold the cables in place and go over and around them twice, or thrice at most. This will do the job for you.
Once you’ve completely wrapped your handlebars and taken care of the cables, it’s time to work on the final finish. If done wrong and with the wrong kind of tape, taping around the handlebars can actually make your bike look like an eyesore. However, with the correct techniques and a whole lot of patience, you can give your bike an all-new, sporty look with statement-taped handlebars.
Since the tape is being wrapped at an angle, we recommend that you cut it off diagonally. Although different people have different techniques, cutting the tape at a diagonal angle will give a professional, neat look to your wrapping. If the tape is both wrapped and cut at an angle, naturally, the overall picture will be more cohesive and clean.
Once you are happy with the look of your project, feel out the grip properly and have a test drive to check if the handlebars are comfortable to use. If not, don’t hesitate to start all over again. After all, practice makes perfect!
Most people believe the wrapping of bike handlebars to be a fairly straightforward job. While we do agree, we also feel that just a few minor tweaks here and there in the wrapping process can turn your wrapping job from drab to fab – so why not do our best? Don’t overdo the tape, don’t rush the wrapping, and don’t hesitate to unwrap and rewrap if you are not 100% happy with what you have.