Handlebar Tape Dos and Don’ts

Hmm... something's not quite right, but I can't put my finger on it.

I’ve now wrapped handlebars three times – twice successfully. Well, if I count my re-starts, I’ve probably wrapped them 30 some-odd times. I thought I’d share some of my more – and less – successful notes on the process.

Do: get a nice, padded tape. I’ve gone with Planet Bike Comfort Gel. Pretty cheap, but sturdy and plush.

Don’t: pay stupid amounts of money for the tape. There’s lots of affordable, good-quality tapes out there, unless you either like spending money, or just have to have that certain look that you won’t find in another tape (you know, other tapes not built for suckers with too much money). 😉

Do: Unwrap the handlebars and clean any tackiness from the previous tape.

Don’t: forget to keep a look-out for your cat as you unwind the tape.

Do: make sure to have everything you’ll need to hand. A pair of scissors, the tape, some black (or matching color) electrical tape, plugs, etc.

Don’t: let go of the wrapped tape as you try for the seventh time to pick up everything that you keep dropping because you’re a few hands short.

Do: pull the tape tightly as you wrap the bar.

Don’t: slip your hand off the tape, smacking yourself in the head. It’s only fun to watch, not to try.

Do: use extra tape from previous wrapping jobs to provide more padding in strategic spots – like across the top of the bar or towards the front of the drops.

Don’t: cut tape from the end of your current roll until you’re sure you’ve wrapped everything right.

Do: leave extra tape off the drop of the handlebar when you start to wrap. This will be tucked into the bar, and holds the bar plug in place.

Don’t: leave so much tape you run out while wrapping the bar.

Do: have someone show you how it’s done right, and/or do it for you if you have proof they can do it right (like watching them do a good job on their own bike first).

Don’t: expect that you’ll do it right the first time. Or the second. Or the tenth.

Happy wrapping!