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Old 09-22-11, 06:49 PM   #1
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changing bar tape for the 1st time

how easy is it to fudge up a ribbon wrap job? I got some new celeste tape for my Surly and I'm in the poor house right now. The tape was only $12...the LBS would charge me another $12. Should I just chance it by doing it myself, not having enough money to get more bar tape should it go badly or should I pay the LBS to do it well?
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Old 09-22-11, 07:35 PM   #2
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Give it a go. It may not be trivial to get it just so, but it's hard to screw up badly. Most have only a mild adhesive down the middle to hold things in place while wrapping, so it's not un-doable. It's the friction for the most part that holds the tape in place. Wrap tightly. Either look carefully at how the current tape is wound, or find an online tutorial somewhere to get you going. Don't get sucked into the top-down or bottom-up debate... ;-)
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Old 09-22-11, 07:53 PM   #3
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I'm in the same boat, and I'm thinking the $15 my lbs will charge me to do it may be worth it. I'm not scared of the mechanical stuff, but the stuff that needs to look good I leave to the pros. Just my two pennies
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Old 09-22-11, 07:57 PM   #4
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I hear you about the poor house. Watch several videos and give it a go. Like tastewar said, it's hard to screw it up past the point of redoing it. My tip is be generous with the extra tape that goes under the end plug if you wrap bottom up.
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Old 09-22-11, 08:06 PM   #5
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Old 09-22-11, 08:29 PM   #6
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Practice with the old tape a couple of times first.

If you don't like the results, then pay someone else to do it.

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Old 09-22-11, 08:45 PM   #7
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What Kevin said.

It's handlebar tape! You aren't wrapping a present for the Queen of England. Seriously. . . it's wrapping handlebar tape. Buy a roll of electrical tape for 99 cents and practice, practice. practice.
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Old 09-22-11, 09:31 PM   #8
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If your present tape is wrapped well, you can use it as a reference. For practice, as suggested above, you can slowly unwrap one side of your present tape and re-wrap it. Pay attention to how the tape wraps around the lever bracket. When you're ready, wrap the new tape on one side of the bar with the old tape still in place on the other side as reference. When that's wrapped to satisfaction, you'll be ready for the other side. You want enough tension on the tape to prevent it from slipping in use, but too much could tear or stretch out some tapes. Pay attention to the amount of overlap, especially if your handlebar has lots of real estate to cover or if the tape mfr wasn't overly generous.

It's not that hard to do a reasonable wrap, and I'm sure you've successfully tackled much more difficult tasks. Just don't be surprised if you spend at least twice the amount of time you think it should require the first time around.
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Old 09-22-11, 09:45 PM   #9
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I too was afraid at first. I bought the tape but it sat on my shelf for about a year until I decided to give it a try. The trick is how to wrap around the levers. I took a half dozen pics during the unwrap operation to capture the sequence. Then I gave it a go and it really wasn't bad. I did have to re-do it a couple of times, just to get the tension even and the amount of overlap. But overall, it was easy and quite rewarding. If you want, let me know and I can email you the photos I took of the wrap sequence.
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Old 09-22-11, 09:50 PM   #10
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While utilizing noticeable stretching for tight fit:

1. Start at top.
2. Over and back, down under forward.
3. 1/2 tape overlap until you hit the bends.
4. 1/4 tape overlap through the bends.
5. Go 1/4 inch past bar ends.
6. Examine entire job AND THEN cut excess beyond the 1/4 inch.
7. Fold in the 1/4 inch extra.
8. Position the end plugs.
9. Rubber mallet taps while bracing bars with other hand completes the job.


The 3 inch pieces supplied in the bar tap package are the back end covers for the brake levers. Don't forget to put those on before doing the bar wrapping.
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Old 09-22-11, 10:07 PM   #11
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I recently did my own bar tape for the first time as well. I used this video as a guide, and it came out great:
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Old 09-22-11, 11:45 PM   #12
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I wish I could just buy a cheap set locally to practice with. I had to order online at jenson so it actually came out to $18 with shipping. But I forgot I have a spare set of cloth tape. Would that work for practice?
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Old 09-22-11, 11:58 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Bachman View Post
I recently did my own bar tape for the first time as well. I used this video as a guide, and it came out great:
I just realized I ordered the Cinelli cork tape but not the "gel cork" tape. The guy in the video said that you get a good road feel from the thinner cork tape but that the gel cork absorbs more of the road vibration. Is the plain cork tape comparable to Deda's synthetic bar tape?

I was actually thinking of using the ugly green cloth tape that looked totally different online! as an absorbent underlayer over which to wrap with the Cinelli cork tape? Would that take some of the bite out of the road? I just got that idea cos I believe I've heard ppl say they use hockey tape the same way.
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