How to Wrap Your Handlebars

How to Wrap Your Handlebars

Give your bike a new look

Fresh new bar tape not only gives your old bike a new look, but it also helps you keep control of your bike when your hands get sweaty. Wrapping your road bike handlebars may look like a complicated task, but this is simple maintenance that you can tackle at home in just a few steps. Read on to learn how to wrap your handlebars.

Step One: Prep your bars

Remove any existing bar tape. Then clean your bars using a non-abrasive, non-destructive cleaner. You will want to make sure to remove all grime, sweat and adhesive before trying to adhere new tape.

Step Two: Check Cable Tape

Your brake and shifter cables should be held in place with electrical tape. Check to make sure this tape is still holding securely. If not, replace this tape by wrapping two loops around the bars and cables.

Step Three: Start Wrapping

One of the keys of applying bar tape is to wrap it in the correct direction. If you're sitting on your bike, you want to wrap the bars in the direction the tape is "loaded" when your hands are on the bars—so that the tape will wind more tightly as you grip the bars. You will want to start from the bottom up. If you wrap top down the tape may start to unravel. When you begin, make sure the first wrap extends slightly beyond the edge of the bars. This will give you a clean look when you finish the ends.

For a clean look and an even distribution, make sure to overlap each wrap of tape by a quarter to a third of the width of the tape. Make sure you do not stretch the tape too tight. You want tension, but not to stretch it so much that it becomes deformed.

Step Four: Brake Levers & Mechanicals

With each roll of bar tape, a short pre-cut piece of tape should be included. You should wrap the back of the brake lever clamp with this tape segment. Once again, stretch it tight without deforming it. As your tape wrap comes to the brake lever, the wrap just below should partially cover the base of the lever body. Then, pull the tape to stretch it around the top of the lever body, overlapping the short segment of tape previously applied. You will want to wrap the lever with a small amount of overlap across the top of the lever body without any brake lever clamp or body being exposed. Be careful not to cover any openings in the brake lever body that are needed for the brake lever hood to be correctly seated.

Step Five: Finish the wrap

While you continue to wrap the bar around the bend, be sure not to leave any gaps or bunch the tape along the bottom inside of the bend. As you near the end, continue to wrap the tape one revolution past where the tape wrap will complete, then cut off any extra tape.

Step Six: Finish the ends

At the top, you will want to cross cut the ends of the tape. Do this by cutting a diagonal line from the top inside edge of the tape to the bottom outside (brake lever side) of the tape. As you complete the final wrap the diagonal line you just cut in the tape should appear to be straight after the final wrap around the bars. The bar tape should finish on the bottom side of the handlebars. You will want to secure the end of the wrapped tape with two wraps of electrical tape. Then use the finishing tape included with the bar tape to wrap over the electrical tape and secure the end of the bar tape. At this point you can roll the brake lever hoods back into place.

Lastly, push in the bar tape that extends off the bars at the bottom then tap in the bar end plugs. Now it's time to repeat all the steps on the other side!

Information found on


Just added to your cart:
Excl. postage 
My Bag
Just added to your wishlist:
Excl. postage 
My Wishlist