Riding the bike all day, and your palms are stiff from all the friction? I know the feeling; I have been there. Well, your problem is something you can quickly solve at home.
To add extra cushions to your handlebars, you can wrap them. The wrap will add extra grip, which will make the ride more comfortable and enjoyable. But as a beginner, you may wonder how to wrap handlebars exactly?
Don’t worry, as we are here to shed some light on the topic and teach you how to wrap your bike’s handlebars like a professional.
Let’s jump right in.
Preparation for Wrapping Handlebars
The first thing you need is to secure your bike’s frame to something that will hold your bike still as you do the wrapping.
Second, get all of the tools needed close to you as you do the work. The reason is that wrapping handlebars is a very intense process where you cannot leave the tape hanging as you look for tools you need; you must keep the tension at all times.
Tools you need
The tools you will need for this project are:
- bar tape,
- two bar plugs,
- a sharp pocket knife or scissors, and
- electrical tape.
How to Wrap Handlebars
Now that you gathered your tools and your bike is in place, there are a few very crucial steps for you to follow. This is why we have listed detailed instructions for you to do a good wrapping job on your first (or second) try.
Wrap the handlebars tight
When you start to wrap your handlebars, you need to start and end with the same tension put on the elastic tape, meaning at all times, you need to pull very tight to get the perfect snug shape.
Make sure to check for any inconsistencies, like leaving out even the smallest of space while you’re pulling tight.
If you notice that you skipped apart, start over that part again.
Wrap from the bottom
One key detail to always remember is to always start from the bottom in a clockwise manner. You do it, so the tape doesn’t get ruined or undone when you’re putting pressure on it while biking.
Also, if you start from the bottom, you can see how much tape you will need and use the knife to cut the shape as you go up.
When you begin at the bottom, make sure to put in the bike plugs right away while you tuck some tape inside the handlebars holes.
Halt for brake detail
The tricky part is getting to the brake details of your bike. The brake details are where your bike frame curves, and you don’t want to change the direction of the wrapping and don’t want to leave any inconsistencies. So, what do you do?
The most common technique is to cut a small piece of handlebar tape and place it where the gap would be. Then, you continue to wrap over it as you begin, in a clockwise direction from the inside out.
The final touches
You are getting to the finish line finally; what next?
Well, if you recall, we mentioned you’d need an electrician’s tape earlier, and now it is time to use it. At the bottom of the handlebars, you have the plugs to tuck in and secure the tape. So at the top, when you reach the end of where you want the handlebar tape to go, simply grab the electrician’s tape and wrap it around the edge of the handlebar tape at least three times to really secure it. Make sure you end at the bottom of the handlebar, so you don’t accidentally undo it while biking.
What Kind of Handlebar Tape Should I Get?
When choosing a handlebar tape, you can go two ways: select based on thickness or color.
If you’re looking for more comfort, you should pick thick handlebar tape up to 3mm. This tape might be a bit harder to put on, but it provides better comfort.
Other materials such as leather, for example, are used if you don’t want the bulky look the thick tape gives you.
As for the color of the tape, if you want a more neutral color, you can have black, which most riders opt for. However, if you’re going to add a pop of color, you can do so by matching any color your bike might have. For example, your bike has red stripes, you can get red handlebar tape to go with it. It is not advised to pick bright colors that can be distracting, such as neon yellow or orange.
When Should You Replace Your Bike’s Wrap Bars?
Unfortunately, handlebar tape is non-resistant to the moisture coming from the weather or the sweat from your hands. So it will inevitably get old and need to be replaced.
We recommend you replace it every four months, more or less if you bike regularly, depending on how much damage has been done to it. If you can maintain it for six months, that is the approximate time when you should change it even if you don’t bike every day.
To Wrap Up
Wrapping your handlebars might seem intimidating, and something only bike shop employees can help with, but we believe that with these instructions we gave you, you will successfully wrap your bike’s handlebars like a pro.