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  1. #1
    Road Runner DougG's Avatar
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    Re-wrapping bars

    I just installed a Flightdeck system on my Specialized Sequoia (a real PITA to get on there, but it works great!). The last finishing step requires you to re-wrap your bars to run the wires from the control levers underneath. So I just peeled off the stock wrapping as far as the hoods, routed the wires and rewrapped as best I could. But being my first time doing this, I am not extremely happy with the results. It's a bit hard to rewrap them exactly the way they were, and of course I have to come out "even" at the end.

    Are there any hints on a good way to do this, or should I just retry it a few times until it finally looks right? One thing adding to the hassle is that this model has a gel layer under the wrapping (not part of the wrapping, but taped along the bar) that makes this a bit of a squishy job.

    I knew going into it that this was the part of the job that would give me trouble, and I was right.

  2. #2
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    In order to wrap them well, you need to pull the tape pretty tightly while you wrap. Each turn should overlap roughly 1/3 of the previous turn. Lessee what else... did ya read this? http://parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=71
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  3. #3
    semifreddo amartuerer 'nother's Avatar
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    I like to do most repairs myself, but this is one I usually try to have an experienced LBS person do. Every time I try it myself I keep wishing I had taken it in to the shop. Give it a whirl, be willing to screw it up and re-do. If you're a perfectionist about appearance, leave yourself a long time to do it, and buy a few extra rolls

    The Park article that moxyfire mentions is very good BTW, read especially the "advanced" techniques section.
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  4. #4
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 'nother
    I like to do most repairs myself, but this is one I usually try to have an experienced LBS person do. Every time I try it myself I keep wishing I had taken it in to the shop. Give it a whirl, be willing to screw it up and re-do. If you're a perfectionist about appearance, leave yourself a long time to do it, and buy a few extra rolls

    The Park article that moxyfire mentions is very good BTW, read especially the "advanced" techniques section.
    If you screw up a bar wrap, it's not the end of the world. You can even reuse the tape, because the sticky part on the back just doesn't matter much. Just take it off and do it over. It took me 2 or 3 tries to get it satisfactory the first time, and I've gotten right every time since.
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  5. #5
    semifreddo amartuerer 'nother's Avatar
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    ^^ nah, of course, it's not the end of the world but my problem is it's not something that needs to be done often enough to practice and stay good at it. Also I'm impatient
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  6. #6
    Recovering Retro-grouch CRUM's Avatar
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    Back in my early days of learning the wrenching of bikes, I too was frustrated with wrapping road bars. "Coming out even", ripping the tape before completion, or ending up with gaps or loose wrap were a problem. My partner used to call me 1 1/2 Mike as it often took me an extra half roll to do one set of bars. I decided to find a way to practice. I bought ribbon for presents that was a similar width to bar tape and began to practice. It worked and I did not waste the (at the time) very expensive cork tape we liked to replace the old vinyl stuff with.

    All I can say is a good bar wrap is usually done after some failures before.

    One little secret ingredient that helps to keep the tape from slipping down the road is a widely spaced wrap of double sided friction tape under the tape.
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  7. #7
    Disaster on technicals
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    I was thought to keep a very strong and even pull on the tape as it is wrapped around the bar. Strong enough, in fact to sometimes accidentally tear the tape in half. But I got used to it after a while...doing two or three bikes a day in the shop might give you sore fingers but hell, it gets you used to the whole process alot quicker

    Tape wrapped this way would be very even to touch, and the overlap wouldn't be very noticeable when you run your fingers along the bar.

    My $0.02. Cheers.

  8. #8
    Extra Medium Member redtires's Avatar
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    Yep, just doing it over and over again will make you better at it. Personally, I rarely use bartape over again if I need to take off the tape for some reason. But, here are a couple of hints for you; One, don't unwrap the tape any farther than you have too and when re-wrapping, try to put just a little tension on it and try to line up the edge of the tape along the "exposed" vs. "covered" overlap, usually seen by the fact that the exposed part of the tape will be dirty, and covered will still be clean. Also, try to use tape that has NO adhesive on the back. I like the Profile Design tape as it can be removed and re-wrapped as many times as I want and it doesn't move on the bar during even hard riding. Just ask your LBS what they have in stock for this.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougG
    Are there any hints on a good way to do this, or should I just retry it a few times until it finally looks right?
    I just did exactly this to my Sequoia. Remove the bar end plugs and peel the existing bar tape off and throw it away as the edges will tear and fray as you unwrap and it will look like a$$ if you reuse it. Buy a box of Cinelli cork bar tape (which appears to be the exact same as the OEM tape). Use a few wraps of scotch or electrical tape to hold the ends of the gel strips down to the bars and out of the way while you rewrap. Use a few wraps of tape to also hold the flightdeck cable close to the bar (loop any excess cable and tuck it in the curve behind the brifter clamp. This keeps it away from your hands and any possible breaks caused by repeated pressure on it). Use the two short pieces of bar tape supplied to cover the back of the brifter clamp (you need to trim it so the tape doesn't cover the flightdeck button). Peel back the paper strip from the first few inches of the new tape. Start wrapping at the bar end with the adhesive strip at the very end of the bar (so you will have about 1/3 of the bar tape overhanging that will later be tucked in and held in place by the bar end plug). Make one complete wrap then start spiraling the tape exposing adhesive by pulling the paper strip off the back as you go (don't pull more paper tape off than necessary to avoid the tape sticking to itself and making a mess). Stretch the tape firmly as you make each turn and space the wraps by making sure the glue strip is sticking to the handlebar and not to the previous wrap of tape. Doing that carefully will give you a nicely spaced spiral up the bar. Be particularly careful as you wrap around the brifters because if its going to look ugly, it's going to happen there (giving the tape an extra stretch as you wrap around the curves in the bar will ensure the edges of the tape sit flush with the bar as it follows the curves). Wrap up the bar until you get to the remote brake handles. You should have several inches of excess tape at this point. Using scissors, trim the end of the tape at an angle so when it sits flush to the bar the tape ends cleanly and evenly. Use a couple of wraps of electrical tape to secure the bar tape end with the end of the electrical tape tucked under the bar.

    JensonUSA has the cheapest price on the Cinelli tape I've seen at $9 a box. At that price, buy two so you can mess up and not worry about starting over. When I was learning this on another bike, I went through two and a half boxes, at about $12 a box, before I got a wrap that looked professional. If you follow the above instuctions carefully and think it through before starting (or even practice with your old tape first) you should be able to get it right the first try.
    Last edited by Proximo; 08-18-06 at 03:51 PM.

  10. #10
    BloomBikeShop.com BloomBikeShop's Avatar
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    Like everyone said, practice makes perfect. I found some cork tape on sale for $6 a box once... that was perfect for practice! After doing it a few times I learned a few things, so whenever I have to do a nice job, I have a much better shot

  11. #11
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    One tip no-one seems to have mentioned is to make sure you wrap you bars in the right direction....when you hands are in the drops, they tend to twist to the outside of the bike, so you want to wrap in this direction so your hands are always tightening your tape and not loosing it.

    but on the flat part of the bar, your hands twist towards you, and if you don't change the direction of your wrap, your hands will constantly be loosing your wrap job. So, when you get to where the shifters clamp on, you should try and reverse the direction of the wrap. I do it by taking the tape veritcally up the inside edge of the clamp then continuing the spiral wrap once at the top. Not sure if that's clear, but it's tough to explain...

    doing that greatly improved the quality of my wraps and now they stay nice and tight....

  12. #12
    semifreddo amartuerer 'nother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by french.ace
    One tip no-one seems to have mentioned is to make sure you wrap you bars in the right direction...
    Actually that is covered in the Park Tool "advanced techniques" mentioned above. It's a good (and simple) tip.
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  13. #13
    Road Runner DougG's Avatar
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    Thanks all for the great advice. I think I'll go with Proximo's suggestion and start over with a fresh box of tape, as the original tape did get a bit ragged from pulling it off.

    This forum is a great resource!

  14. #14
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Proximo
    JensonUSA has the cheapest price on the Cinelli tape I've seen at $9 a box. At that price, buy two so you can mess up and not worry about starting over. When I was learning this on another bike, I went through two and a half boxes, at about $12 a box, before I got a wrap that looked professional. If you follow the above instuctions carefully and think it through before starting (or even practice with your old tape first) you should be able to get it right the first try.
    For what it's worth, I've used both the Cinelli tape, and the Nashbar fake-cork deluxe tape: http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=

    I actually like the Nashbar tape a lot better even though it's a couple bucks cheaper! It's thick and great-looking and it has a very cushioned feel with a rough cork surface that I like. It also seems to be very long lasting, ~1 year with no sign of tearing or fraying anywhere.
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  15. #15
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    first time i ever wrapped a bar, i did a bad job. The second time.... ie on the other side of the bar, it's great!

    Take your time, make sure the cabling is secured, and make sure to stretch the tape.

    It's pointless to pay someone else to do this

  16. #16
    Recovering Retro-grouch CRUM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ME.Alex
    It's pointless to pay someone else to do this
    I dunno. Paying someone else to do it certainly helps th elocal economy move along. I sure appreciate the many customers who rather I did than they.
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  17. #17
    "not enough rage" Old Breadbutt's Avatar
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    personally, I like to remove the adhesive from cork tape when possible. at least after I've got it started. it seems to hold in place just fine as long as I stretch it tightly while wrapping and this way, I can pull it off and start over much more easily than with the sticky.

  18. #18
    Direct Hit Not Required BlastRadius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Breadbutt
    personally, I like to remove the adhesive from cork tape when possible. at least after I've got it started. it seems to hold in place just fine as long as I stretch it tightly while wrapping and this way, I can pull it off and start over much more easily than with the sticky.
    +1 Tape without adhesive is much easier to wrap. Performance brand cork tape doesn't have adhesive (and I hope it never will). I've never had tape slip due to lack of adhesive either.

  19. #19
    Stand & Jump!
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    first time i wrapped some bars, a few more experienced friends told me it would take a few tries because i'd never done it before. but i do play tennis. and wrapping a tennis racket is exactly like wrapping handlebars. well, maybe a tennis racket with a curved handle. practice on a broomstick or something like that so you can get the feel for how much overlap and tension to put into the tape. racket grips tear very easily...

  20. #20
    Senior Member barba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Proximo
    JensonUSA has the cheapest price on the Cinelli tape I've seen at $9 a box. At that price, buy two so you can mess up and not worry about starting over. When I was learning this on another bike, I went through two and a half boxes, at about $12 a box, before I got a wrap that looked professional. If you follow the above instuctions carefully and think it through before starting (or even practice with your old tape first) you should be able to get it right the first try.
    Probikekit.com has cinelli and deda for $9.25 and free shipping. You get a discount the more you buy. 2 boxes goes down to $8 each, and three goes down to $7.20. I think it may even get lower as you buy more. I buy three or four boxes at a time. I love changing the look of my bike, and bar tape is the easiest way to breath some new life into the old ride.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Hambone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Breadbutt
    personally, I like to remove the adhesive from cork tape when possible. at least after I've got it started. it seems to hold in place just fine as long as I stretch it tightly while wrapping and this way, I can pull it off and start over much more easily than with the sticky.
    duh. One of those sage pieces of advice you read and wonder how the hell you never just thought of that yourself.

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  22. #22
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
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    It just takes practice. I agree with the suggestions to start with cheaper tape. Getting the tension right and making sure you have enough left on the roll to finish are usually the biggest challenges.

  23. #23
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Why does everyone think the Cinelli tape is so great? It's the biggest brand name, but I find it rather fragile. The Nashbar deluxe cork tape is cheaper and, in my opinion, sturdier.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by french.ace
    One tip no-one seems to have mentioned is to make sure you wrap you bars in the right direction....when you hands are in the drops, they tend to twist to the outside of the bike, so you want to wrap in this direction so your hands are always tightening your tape and not loosing it.

    but on the flat part of the bar, your hands twist towards you, and if you don't change the direction of your wrap, your hands will constantly be loosing your wrap job. So, when you get to where the shifters clamp on, you should try and reverse the direction of the wrap. I do it by taking the tape veritcally up the inside edge of the clamp then continuing the spiral wrap once at the top. Not sure if that's clear, but it's tough to explain...

    doing that greatly improved the quality of my wraps and now they stay nice and tight....

    I never quite understood the auto-tighten theory. If you think about it, your hand motion is tightening the tape in one direction (lets say towards your pinky) and loosening in the other (say towards your thumb). You can test this by taking a twisted rope held taught. If you twist the rope in the middle, one section will go tighter and the other will go looser. Reverse the direction of your twist and the sections switch roles. Maybe I have been missing something in the reasoning but it has never added up for me.

    My reasons for wrapping from bar end to the top is that it is difficult to finish the tail end at the bar end. It is much easier and has better aesthetics to finish by the stem. With cork tape, it does not stuff into the plug, at least for me. I rely on the overlap to keep the tape down at the bar end. Another reason for me starting at the bottom is that my hands want to go out and down. If I started from the top, my hands would be wanting to catch and lift the edges of the tape. Starting from the bottom, my hands are pushing the edges down and flowing in the direction they are, much like siding on a house.

    I wrap from the top outwards starting at the bar end, but that is more because the tape lines up better with how my fingers wrap not for auto-tightening. If I wrapped from the top inward, the tape edge lines would be crossing my finger pattern.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Hambone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by masiman
    I never quite understood the auto-tighten theory. If you think about it, your hand motion is tightening the tape in one direction (lets say towards your pinky) and loosening in the other (say towards your thumb). You can test this by taking a twisted rope held taught. If you twist the rope in the middle, one section will go tighter and the other will go looser. Reverse the direction of your twist and the sections switch roles. Maybe I have been missing something in the reasoning but it has never added up for me.

    My reasons for wrapping from bar end to the top is that it is difficult to finish the tail end at the bar end. It is much easier and has better aesthetics to finish by the stem. With cork tape, it does not stuff into the plug, at least for me. I rely on the overlap to keep the tape down at the bar end. Another reason for me starting at the bottom is that my hands want to go out and down. If I started from the top, my hands would be wanting to catch and lift the edges of the tape. Starting from the bottom, my hands are pushing the edges down and flowing in the direction they are, much like siding on a house.

    I wrap from the top outwards starting at the bar end, but that is more because the tape lines up better with how my fingers wrap not for auto-tightening. If I wrapped from the top inward, the tape edge lines would be crossing my finger pattern.
    I understand your question. But it works.

    Not exactly the quantitative answer I like to give, but I don't have one. (As I think about it, your twisted rope answer doesn't work because that is only relying on its own -- internal -- friction. The tape is getting its friction from aying against the bars surface.)

    Have you ever spliced twisted rope? The twist directions switch but damn if they don't both hold together. Think of this as a splice...

    ps, I go up the outside of the brifter bracket. It just has been easier for me but if I had to justify it I would say, "there is actually less stress that way because when you grip the brakes you are actually bridging this..."

    And I agree on the Nashbar tape.
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