How to Perfectly Wrap Your Road Bike Handlebars

Cyclists know the importance of a well-wrapped road bike handlebar. Not only does it provide a comfortable grip for your hands, but it also absorbs shock and reduces vibrations while riding. However, road bike tape wrapping can be a tricky task, and if not done correctly, can result in a less-than-perfect handlebar. But fear not, with the right tools and techniques, you can achieve a professional-looking wrap that will not only enhance the aesthetic of your bike but also improve your riding experience. In this article, we will break down the steps on how to perfectly wrap your road bike handlebars.

1. Gather Your Tools
Before diving into the wrapping process, make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials to complete the job. You will need handlebar tape (preferably, high-quality cork or foam tape), scissors, electrical tape, and an adhesive solvent (optional). It is also helpful to have a clean cloth or paper towel nearby to wipe off excess adhesive.

2. Prepare Your Handlebars
Before starting the wrapping process, make sure your handlebars are clean and free from any remnants of old tape or adhesive. If there are any sticky residues left, use an adhesive solvent to remove them. Next, ensure that your brake and shift levers are in the correct position, so they do not interfere with the wrapping process. You can use electrical tape to hold them in place temporarily.

3. Start at the End
Start the wrapping process by placing the tape at the end of your handlebars, leaving about an inch of excess tape extending past the bar. This excess tape will be used to secure the end of the wrap later on. Make sure to align the tape with the edge of the bar and wrap it tightly around the handlebar while keeping it at a slight angle upwards. This will prevent any gaps or wrinkles later on.

4. Overlap the Tape
As you continue wrapping the handlebars, make sure to overlap the tape by about half of its width. This will ensure a consistent and tight wrap. As you wrap, continuously pull the tape tight and keep it at a slight angle upwards to prevent any slack and wrinkles.

5. Wrapping the Shifters
Once you arrive at the shifters, it’s time to change the direction of the wrap. To wrap around the shifters, you can either cut the tape at an angle or split it lengthwise. Then, wrap the tape around the shifter in a figure-eight pattern, making sure the tape overlaps with the previous wrap. This process may take some practice and patience to get it right, but it will prevent any excess bulkiness around the shifters.

6. Continue the Wrap
After passing the shifters, continue wrapping the handlebars, ensuring that the tape overlaps with each previous wrap. As you approach the end of the handlebars, ensure the end of the tape extends about an inch past the bar.

7. Secure the End
To secure the end of the tape, you can either tuck it under the previous wrap or use the excess tape to wrap it tightly and secure it with electrical tape. Make sure to trim any excess tape for a tidy finish.

8. Finishing Touch
To achieve a professional-looking finish, you can use electrical tape or bar plugs to wrap the exposed ends of the handlebars. This will not only give a clean appearance but also prevent any fraying of the tape over time.

9. Repeat the Process
If you have two handlebars, it is essential to repeat the process for the other side. It is crucial to achieve a consistent wrap on both sides to maintain balance and symmetry.

10. Give it a Test Ride
After completing the wrapping process, give your handlebars a test ride to make sure they feel comfortable. If you notice any areas that feel loose or bumpy, go back and re-wrap them for a smoother and tighter finish.

With these steps, you can achieve a perfectly wrapped handlebar that not only looks professional but also provides a comfortable and steady grip for your hands. Remember to practice patience and take your time, as a rushed job can result in a poor wrap. Additionally, it is essential to regularly inspect your handlebar tape for wear and tear and replace it when necessary. Now, go out and enjoy your newly wrapped road bike handlebars!

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