I wanted a second tape over the OEM for a little more bulk. The last time I taped a bar was in the eighties, before switching to Grab-ons.
I started at the plugs and that sucked because it didn't fit under the plug the way I did it. Even if it had, I was a bit short of where I wanted to be on the stem-side (I wasted more tape under the brake hoods than necesssary as that area was already covered by the first tape).
I ruined the second tape when I took it off. Worse yet (maybe) the OEM taper had a trick that took me by surprise. His technique had a little doughnut of tape on the plug end, about a tape-width wide. Of course, that came off with the new tape.
I'm looking forward to having another go at it. I'm thinking of leaving the little doughnut off so that the second tape is the only thickness there and tucks under the plugs (so, trashing the original tape job possibly gave me a good idea).
Any tips before I go through a few more sets of tape, e.g., does anyone bother with the bits of black finishing tape that comes with the bar tape or should I just get a roll of electrical tape before I even get started?
You can start at the bar end plugs if you get some heat shrink tubing to fit over the end. Pull the plugs, wrap the second wrap and cut flush to the bar end (not overhanging) and then use a short piece of heat shrink over the end. The heat shrink can overhang and be pressed in with the plug as it is fairly thin. After shrinking, it holds the whole thing together. Frankly, I use gel pads under one layer now as my double taping always looked really warty. The bar-phat looks like the clear deal, but I haven't found it in a store at the same time that I needed it!
Heat shrink is OK, but I just cut the inner layer of tape with a pocket knife even with the handlebar ends. Then I start the outer layer inside the bar ends. "Normal" caps work fine, and the outer layer keeps the inner layer from unwrapping.
It's not as complicated as it looks. There are several methods--Rivendell even describes one using two colors of tape that gives a diamond pattern (see it at www.rivbike.com). I often wrap over the old tape for extra padding and diameter (I have pretty big hands), so that's not a problem.
Here's one classic technique that works well for me:
Either remove the old tape or leave it on, but if it's frayed, trim up the rough areas or you'll feel them (you can also wrap over foam padding or an old tube wrapped over the areas you grip).
Fold the brake lever hood back to expose as much of the clamp as you can. Cut off about four inches from the end of the new tape and put it over the clamp, securing it with scotch tape or whatever's handy if it won't stay by itself.
Start at the open end of the bar and take one full wrap to secure the tape, then continue toward the levers, overlapping about one-third the width of the tape as you go (that will vary a little as you go around the curves). Be sure to pull it snug and smooth. Doesn't matter whether you go clockwise or counterclockwise, but whichever you choose on the first side, go the other way on the other side for a balanced look.
Only tricky part is going around the brake lever. The classic way is with a figure-eight, which I can do but can't describe. Just fool around until you get it right--you can always unwrap and start over if you screw it up. The four-inch piece will cover the clamp already, which makes wrapping a lot easier.
Once you're past the clamp, just continue until you run out of tape or you reach the point where you want to stop, then cut it off at an angle perpendicular to the bars.
Electrical tape is an easy but somewhat tacky way to finish it off. I generally use some kind of cool twine or thick string (Rivendell sells hemp twine, and gives instructions on how to apply it). This is from the website: This is the hardest but best way to dress up a fine wrap of cloth tape. Start at the edge of the sleeve, cover about 3/4-inch of tape with twine wraps, and when you’ve 4 wraps from stopping, take another short piece, make a loop of it, lay it down and do the final 4 wraps over it. Then take the loose end of the wrapping twine, stick it in the loop, and pull it back under the last four wraps. Leave it raw, or coat it with Elmer’s. One ball of twine will do seventy or eighty bars,
If anyone is thinking about a second wrap, it is not so hard afterall. Needless to say, there are a lot of tapes to choose from, so one of the biggest hurdles is sorting through all of the options.
My second wrap looks just like the OEM black tape wrap job, so the finished job is very normal-looking the way I ended up. Some of manufacturers' packaging for tapes like I used refers to it as cork-filled. Even so, it obviously is a foam-elastomeric material with bits of what I presume to be brown-colored flecks of cork sparsely scattered throughout it. It is thicker in the middle, thins towards the edges, and stretches easily.
What worked for me was learning that I had to remove about a 3/4s width of the original tape from the plug-end of the bars, which is where you start wraping the second tape. Since you begin a wrap by overlapping around the bar once, that already gives you two thicknesses of tape, so removing a bit of the old tape at the beginning of the second wrap works perfectly.
Just butt the second tape up to the reduced edge of old tape, which leaves about a third of the new tape hanging over the end of the bar (that is the part that gets tucked inside the bar by the plug). Start spiraling toward the stem, covering about 1/3 of the new tape with each wrap (i.e., about 2/3s of the tape is left exposed). Lifting up the boots and doing a figure-eight is the easiest part of all because the first wrap is already there so you do not have to worry about leaving any exposed bar.
When you get to where you want to end, if you know to scissor the tape so that it tapers down to the finish line, everything goes smoothly. Using this method, there is plenty of tape to do the job: I had 3-5" left over. !