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How To Tape Road Bike Handlebars

Here’s a step-by-step handlebar wrapping guide.

Wrapping new bar tape on your handlebars is a little like getting your car detailed. No functional change occurs, but everything just seems a little nicer. New bar tape is clean, shiny and feels good in your hands. And at around $20 a roll, plus 10-15 minutes of your time, it’s a highly affordable upgrade. 

Here’s a step-by-step wrapping guide:

1. If necessary, remove your old bar tape and clean off any dirt or adhesive residue. Next take your new bar tape and start wrapping from the bottom of your handlebars. At the very beginning, make sure to leave a small overlap, so later in the process, the bar end plug will have an edge to grab on to when it is inserted.

2. Start wrapping the tape at a slight angle, making sure to pull the tape taught or even getting it to stretch a little. Tape overlap should be between a quarter and a third of bar tape width. Overlap too much and you’ll run out of tape before you get to the end. Overlap too little and you’ll end up with gaps between wraps.

3. When you reach the brake lever hood, do one full wrap below the hood, then wrap up, over and behind the hood. When you pull the tape around to the back, make sure to maintain tension so it stays tight. Now wrap back down and around the lever, before coming back out above the lever and resuming your normal overlap wrap. Don’t worry if there are small gaps around the brake lever clamp. The brake lever hood will cover them up.

4. Once you’ve reached the end at the top of your bars, instead of cutting away the excess bar tape straight across and having a squared end, cut at the same angle as the leading edge of your bars. This will create a clean finish to your tape job.

5. Finally fold the excess tape you purposely left at the bottom bars into the bar end hole, then insert the bar end plug, which should snuggly hold the tape in place. Now take the normal tape that came with you tape kit and use it to secure the bar tape at the top of the bars so it won’t unwind. 

If you have any questions about wrapping tape on road bike handlebars, call the Performance Bicycle Spin Doctor product support line at 1-800-553-TECH. Happy riding.

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