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I suck at wrapping handlebars.

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I suck at wrapping handlebars.

Old 07-17-19, 07:42 PM
  #1  
robertj298
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I suck at wrapping handlebars.

No matter how many times I watch the video I take an hour and still seem to screw it up.
I have trouble getting the tape to lay flat no matter how hard I try. I think I'll just pay
the local bike shop $15 to do it for me.
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Old 07-17-19, 07:48 PM
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i'm not that great either. what helped me out was getting some non-sticky backed tape and wrapping and rewrapping a set of bars over and over. it got kind of tedious, but by the time i had wrapped those bars for the 10th time, i was much better than when i started.

practise makes the master!
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Old 07-17-19, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by robertj298 View Post
No matter how many times I watch the video I take an hour and still seem to screw it up.
I have trouble getting the tape to lay flat no matter how hard I try. I think I'll just pay
the local bike shop $15 to do it for me.
Nothing wrong with that.

The key is tension and patience. It can be tricky.

If it just ain't workin', there's a supply for your demand.
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Old 07-17-19, 07:51 PM
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I have a guaranteed way for getting good:

Quit your job and make $12/hr working at a bike shop.
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Old 07-17-19, 08:09 PM
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Time and practice. One of those things I thought I would never do well.
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Old 07-17-19, 08:31 PM
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Thing about wrapping bars is, ironically, it's not like riding a bike.... It does not all come back right away after you have not done it for a while...... At least for me, that's the case.....
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Old 07-17-19, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by t_e_r_r_y View Post
i'm not that great either. what helped me out was getting some non-sticky backed tape and wrapping and rewrapping a set of bars over and over. it got kind of tedious, but by the time i had wrapped those bars for the 10th time, i was much better than when i started.

practise makes the master!
Exactly this, the best way to learn. It's an art. Don't do it on a stand either, on the ground with something holding the front wheel or fork well.
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Old 07-17-19, 09:01 PM
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I'm Ok at it. I think I learned a lot of technique by wrapping with various types of wrap.

Cheap, fat, foam 'cork' tape is the hardest to get good results with. Cloth tape with a narrow width is the easiest. I have a couple of my favorite bikes wrapped with old-fashioned 1/2" cloth friction tape. Very easy and surprisingly satisfactory results, if you don't care about the padding.



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Old 07-17-19, 09:24 PM
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Use Fizik. Makes it so easy. Start at the bottom. Wrap "out." Pull it taut. Make a figure-8 around the lever, like this:


Use a pen or marker to plan where you want to make your diagonal cut with scissors. Cut some finishing tape using 10mm electrical tape.

With cotton, first, use Newbaums which is plenty long. Don't make the figure-8 around the lever. Instead cut off from each roll two short strips of tape to cover the back of the lever clamp. Their ends go under the hoods. Then tape normally. When finishing, keep the backing on the Newbaums to make your scissor cut clean and easy.

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Old 07-17-19, 09:46 PM
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@Lascauxcaveman, nice wrap job with no unnecessary finishing tape at the top.
Tim
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Old 07-18-19, 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by tkamd73 View Post
@Lascauxcaveman, nice wrap job with no unnecessary finishing tape at the top.
Tim
Heh. Wrap from the top down, and the only finishing is putting the plugs in the bar ends

But I did put some unnecessary "finishing" on my Raleigh by adding an underlayer of complimentary colored hockey tape (again, wrapped top down):

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Old 07-18-19, 12:28 AM
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Cut an old tube into strips. Use it to practice wrapping. Also good as padding between the bar and nicer cosmetic tape.
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Old 07-18-19, 12:49 AM
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I watched this a couple times and did a pretty good job my first time around, i think with the glue strip in the middle its easier to have perfect spacing between wraps
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Old 07-18-19, 03:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Lascauxcaveman View Post
Cheap, fat, foam 'cork' tape is the hardest to get good results with.
Try Brook's leather bar tape. Once I wear mine out I plan to replace it with anything but that.
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Old 07-18-19, 04:51 AM
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We had a kid in the shop one time who was frustrated at doing poor wraps - loose, uneven, sloppy. I looked over and noticed the short cut off from a his first wrap. I clamped that short piece in the vice and told him to try pulling on that until it broke. Did not happen and he learned how much tougher the stuff was than he expected. I reminded him about consistent steady tension on the tape as he wrapped. His next attempt was MUCH better.

I turn custom bar end plugs so I wrap bottom up. I finish with two very neat wraps of electrical tape near the stem (55mm from the bar clamp on each side) ending on the bottom of the bar. I then heat up the soldering iron and "dab" that cut end in three spots - just a dab. It heats and seals the end to the layer below. Does not come loose. On my Nishiki I used yellow tape to synchronize with the yellow bar tape. Otherwise black tape. On the Pro I over wrapped that tape with pale blue yarn then coated that with water based polyurethane.

Horses for courses......
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Old 07-18-19, 04:59 AM
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Get some cheat bar wrap on Ebay. By cheap, I mean two or three dollars (shipping included) for stuff that looks like this...


Armed with a set of that wrap, follow the ideas suggested in an article I published years ago - Taping Handlebars.

Since then, I have learned to position my brakes exactly where I want them. Once in place, I sticky tape the clamps into position and then remove the brake levers, leaving only the clamps in place. Then wrap away. You get an easily achieved clean look around the brake levers. This is an example of that method and works really well when half hoods (thanks Mafac) are used...


But start with the cheap rubber stuff suggested. It is easy to work with and, should you go a bit off, just unwrap a bit and do it over and over until it looks good to you. Then do the other side to match the first one. Big tip...

Always, always keep considerable tension on the wrap. Look at the completion of each wrap to ensure uniformity of wraps (appearance) and check to ensure that there are no gaps or loose edges. I really like the little clamps to facilitate the entire task - get a couple.

All that said, this is an easy skill to learn and perfect. Learning to do it will set you back less than ten bucks and prepare you for other wraps in days to come. And, when ending the wrap on each side, you might even want to pretty up the end (actually middles) by using this idea, called Rand's Wrap, which I put on the internet a long time ago.
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Old 07-18-19, 06:27 AM
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Loads of good advice, all.

The biggest mistakes I see made with bar wrap are poor tension and uneven spacing, both of which can be corrected with practice by most anybody.

My favorite tapes are bike ribbon:



...and cotton:



I enjoy wrapping them all, but the ribbon and the cloth seem to just lay nicer. Bike ribbon has those nice thin edges that rest in the valleys when you wrap it nice and tight. Cotton tape shows the layer underneath with each rotation - a look I really appreciate. And with cotton, there are multiple ways of finishing it off nicely. I prefer a bottom-up wrap and hot glued ends. On the one pictured above, I took the French flag ribbon that came on a Christmas gift - a cocotte - and applied it to my tape, hot gluing it out of sight.
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Old 07-18-19, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by JaccoW View Post
Try Brook's leather bar tape. Once I wear mine out I plan to replace it with anything but that.
I really didn’t have any issues wrapping with the Brooks leather besides the seams. There were two in what I think was a 6 inch section. Pretty rough.

Ill probably twine that section, tape off and shellack. No need to have premature death because of that one spot.
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Old 07-18-19, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Lascauxcaveman View Post
Heh. Wrap from the top down, and the only finishing is putting the plugs in the bar ends

But I did put some unnecessary "finishing" on my Raleigh by adding an underlayer of complimentary colored hockey tape (again, wrapped top down):

Yeah, I wrap top down too, cause that’s the way the shop mech showed me back in the 70s, when I asked how.
Love the underlying tape idea, will try that in my next cloth tape wrap.
Tim
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Old 07-18-19, 12:33 PM
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i sympathize with you
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Old 07-18-19, 01:30 PM
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I'm not that good at it either but also don't stress much about it. I'm riding them and comfort and grip matter to me more than whether or not it looks good. .
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Old 07-18-19, 01:38 PM
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Blasphemy!!^^^^
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Old 07-18-19, 01:59 PM
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Oh my god this thread makes me feel so much better. It takes me about an hour to wrap bars as well because I always end up having to back up and rewrap and it takes like 4 tries to get the figure 8 around the hoods correct (though it doesn’t work with old hoods you can’t roll up the grippy part on).

I prefer a mix of comfort padding and style so I usually go with a $20-30 corkish tape with some cush. I have no brand loyalty. Whoever has the color and feel I want.
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Old 07-18-19, 02:08 PM
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About every 10th attempt I do a phenomenal job... but then I can never remember exactly what I did that time that made it good.
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Old 07-18-19, 02:36 PM
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Usually takes me a bottle of wine.
I start from top.
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