How to Tape Drop Handlebars
Learn how to remove and install the handlebar grip tape on road-style drop handlebars.
- 00:18 - Hold the brake hoods back with an elastic band if they won't stay on their own.
- 00:36 - Loosen your brake cable and compress the brake lever to find the tightening bolt.
- 01:20 - Wrap in the same direction your hands turn while you're riding.
- 01:57 - Make sure the tape overlaps the 3" strip as well!
Today we’ll learn how to wrap handlebar tape on road-style drop handlebars. For this job you’ll need a set of handlebar tape, some bar plugs, a sharp knife or razor, and some electrical tape. It’s also a good idea to keep your hands clean throughout the procedure.
Remove Old Tape
The first step is to flip back both brake lever hoods and remove the old tape. Some people like to simply cut it away using a razor blade, but I prefer to unwrap it to avoid scoring the aluminum or damaging the cables. Then remove the plugs from the inside of the bar ends.
Align Brake Levers
Before you begin taping, check the alignment of your brake levers. The bottom of each lever should be in line with the bottom of the handlebar and they should also be inline with the side of your bars. Make sure the cables are securely fastened to front side of the handlebar using electrical tape.
Let’s start with the right side. Your new tape should have come with two extra 3″ strips of tape. Wrap this around the bottom of the brake clamp from the rear end. This hides the gap that is often left behind when you wrap around the lever.
To start wrapping, unpeel a bit of the adhesive backing and start by placing the end of the tape under the end of the bars. You’ll want to leave about half of the tape hanging over the edge on the first wrap, which we’ll tuck into the bar end later. The most common direction to wrap the tape is clockwise on the right side, and counter-clockwise on the left.
While you’re wrapping, make sure each rotation overlaps itself about 1/3. You’ll want to make sure the middle section of adhesive on the backside of the tape is always contacting the bars. Pull on the tape evenly through the process to keep the wrap tight, but be very carful not pull too hard or the fragile tape will snap. Pull off the adhesive backing as you go, as this will keep it from getting dirty until you’re ready to apply it.
Wrap Around the Lever
When you get to the brake lever, try to make sure the top edge of the tape overlaps a little bit of the bottom of the brake lever in order to avoid leaving a gap. Then pull the tape around the back end of the brake clamp and over the top.
Now pull the tape around and continue wrapping the top section of handlebar. Stop wrapping when you get to the handlebar’s clamping ferrule, or about an inch from the stem. If you have handlebar accesories you may want to leave some extra room for them to clamp on. Before you finish, it’s a good idea to go back and check that there are no gaps in your wrap job.
Cut and Tape
Holding the tape in place, cut the remaining angled section of tape away using a sharp blade, so that you are left with a clean cut. Then secure it with a few wraps of electrical tape. Make sure to pull the tape so that it stretches nice and evenly. I like to overlap the end of the handlebar tape and completely seal it with the electrical tape.
Bar End Plugs
Once the wrapping is done, go back to the bar end and tuck the extra tape into the handlebar using the bar plug. This will make it hard to fit the plug in, but if you push it hard enough or use a rubber mallet to tap it in gently it should fit and leave your handlebar ends nice and tidy.
To wrap the left side, repeat the same procedure but remember to start wrapping the tape counter-clockwise instead. The left side should end up being an exact mirror image of the right.
The last step is to flip your brake hoods back to where they were.
- Dave Moulton: Taping Handlebars
- Park Tool: Handlebar Tape Installation
- Bicycle Torque Specifications
- Park Tool HBH-2 Handlebar Holder
- Park Tool SA-3 Heavy Duty Shop Apron
- Park Tool SK-3 Starter Mechanic Tool Kit
- Park Tool PK-3 Professional Tool Kit
Discuss this topic in the Handlebar Forums
I have what I take to be an adjustable quill stem, after some research. I had a bit of an incident in which a wheel temporarily became slightly loose, and I think the angle of the stem somehow moved closer to 180. The handlebars aren't at the right angle. Anyway, I've unscrewed the angle adjusting bolt, but I can't get this thing to budge. What do I do?...Read more
Hi. Just got a second hand bike. Bars are in drop down flat racing position. Hubby wants then higher up. There is 2 alan key holes at either side of the angle adjustable stem. I only have 1 alan key. Ive triee both side and tried to turn the alan key both ways and it will not budge!!! Do i need to use 2 alan keys at the same time and turn opposite ways or something?...Read more
Hey Guys, Looking for an affordable place to purchase some bar end plugs. Don't need anything fancy, just the typical plastic ones will be fine. Play a lot of Bike Polo and they get chewed up quickly... and need to be replaced often. We keep the bar ends plugged, so no one gets "core sampled" Lol The common size is 19.5mm or 3/4" inside diameter. 22.5 bar size. Is there something at hardware sto...Read more
Are my hairline cracked or broken carbon fibre handlebars broken or useable? Can they be easily repaired? They came with a bike second hand. I didn't notice it till I took the bar tape off. I haven't ridden them. It looks as though the broken and cracked areas may just be fairings that wouldn't affect structural strength but I don't know for sure. I have seen carbon bars that don't have this bit. ...Read more
Hello, My handlebar grips for my bike have this melted look and feel. The grips are really sticky and they stick to my gloves and hands. It feels really nasty, to be honest. I've been trying to get them off my bike, but it won't budge. I've started cutting it off with a box knife, but it is really difficult to cut through it. I've managed to get some of it off, but it isn't enough. I feel this ...Read more
I recently purchased a Jamis Aurora Elite and it comes with an NVO Components ATS Shim System. When I picked up the bike I asked the shop owner to raise the bars 1/8th of an inch. I took it out for a test ride and as I rolled out of the parking lot the bike kept pulling to the right. I got into the street and stopped a little over two feet from some parked cars. I kept trying to see what see...Read more
I just returned to biking after many years away. I recently bought a used Lotus Champion. It rides great, but I find the drop handlebars extremely uncomfortable. I have been riding while holding the bike on the tops. This is not ideal because I do not get full access to the brakes. I now know I prefer a more upright bike. I love my Lotus and would not want to depart from it, but already I feel pai...Read more
Been noticing something in this years Tour, the pros bars seem more padded than mine - I use fizik tape. Apart from Paris Robaix, do the pros double wrap their bars, or is there a more padded tape available?...Read more
There are many reasons one may want to to do this Mod. I would like to show you how easy and inexpensive this can be done. We will go with the reason that I am looking for a Sport/Hybrid/Fitness Bicycle and cannot find one anywhere to suit me @ a good price. I want a good bicycle but do not have a lot of cash flow. I do not want a Dept. store bike just because that is all I think I can afford. So ...Read more
Title says it all -- seeking advice regarding pairing up a Ritchey Adjustable Stem with a Carbon Fiber flatbar. The flatbar can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/LVWA-600mm-HB011L-Carbon-Handlebar/dp/B00T6PUTKQ/ I have read some horror stories regarding carbon fiber handlebars (and parts in general), and I know that the Ritchey documentation seems to indicate that you should always use someth...Read more
My stem won't come out. I grabbed my allen wrench and tried to but the bolt just keeps spinning. And idk if this means anything but the bolt can come out easily. It just doesnt seem to lock on to anything so it just spins and spins.. Also do you guys know anything about this bike? My uncle just gave it to me yesterday.. (Miyata, ninety)...Read more
Hi guys, I'm looking for help with a bike I bought about a week ago, I would stress that this bike is brand new, not used before. The bike arrived mostly assembled and one thing I needed to do was slot the handlebars + stem into the bike frame and tighten the bolt in order to hold the stem tight so it turns with the front wheel. However when I tighten the bolt the handlebars + stem are still ...Read more
I made some videos to help out people that are new like me to repair this stock part. It's pretty simple and I found the exact two parts that fit perfectly. The sleeves from the stock even fit on the new handlebar. Check it out here. ...Read more
Looking for a bullhorn handlebar that is bent inward slightly in the grip area? Like so /_\ Had pics of some on a phone but it's dead and gone now....Read more
I built a Raleigh burner and the handle bars still move and squeak and I think it might be the ball bearings but I don't know what size ball bearing I need any help?...Read more