How to Wrap Your Handlebars

Expand your grease monkey skills when you learn how to wrap your handlebars

The more you can learn about your bike the better. You become more knowledgeable about bikes in general while becoming more intimate with your bike and all of its nuances. Riders who ride often might re-wrap their handlebars annually. You can wrap yours as needed, for example, if it becomes worn or scuffed. Keep in mind, the longer your Jack’s Generic Tri training rides, the more sweat, hydration, nutrition, etc. get on or in the tape. Whether you want to change your handlebar tape every year or every five years, the steps below will properly guide you.

Need: handlebar tape, electrical tape, scissors

Remove old tape

Flip back both brake lever hoods and remove the old tape.

Align brake levers

Check the alignment of your brake levers. The bottom of each lever should be in line with the bottom of the handlebars. They should also be in line with the side of your bars. Make sure the cables are securely fastened to the front side of the handlebar using electrical tape.

Begin wrapping

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. 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. The most common direction to wrap the tape is clockwise on the right side and counter-clockwise on the left.

While wrapping

Make sure each rotation overlaps itself by about one-third. 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 careful not to pull too hard or the fragile tape will snap. Pull off the adhesive backing as you go. 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 the handlebar. Stop wrapping when you get about an inch from the stem.

Cut and tape

Holding the tape in place, cut the remaining angled section of tape away. Then secure it with a few wraps of electrical tape. Make sure to pull the tape so that it stretches nice and evenly. 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 handlebars using the bar plug. To wrap the left side, repeat the same procedure. Remember to start wrapping the tape counter-clockwise instead. Flip your brake lever hoods back to where they were.