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I suck at bar tape

Old 11-02-17, 09:31 PM
  #1  
wgscott
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I suck at bar tape

My bar tape is looking a wee bit tattered and filthy, so it might be a good time to do a changeover.

My wrap-job is a bit amateurish.

Here is how it looked several months ago. It is Cinelli cork. I wouldn't mind trying something better, and perhaps longer-lasting, so if anyone has any recommendations both for tape and how to apply it so it doesn't look like amateur hour, I would be grateful.

I've had both blue and black. Blue seems a bit brighter and picks up on the decals.

Flickr just did something bad. Sorry for the inverted pic.

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Old 11-02-17, 09:38 PM
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start at the bottom and work your way up
top-down wrapping is for hipsters, don't do it

tape should spiral to the outside, same direction your fingers curl when in the drops

things get complicated when you reach the brake hoods, different people handle it differently. not going to even try and explain it with just text, diagrams and videos needed.

practice
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Old 11-02-17, 10:00 PM
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Don't worry about getting it perfect. Unrealistic expectations of perfection typically lead to disappointment and as a perfectionist I've spent significant portion of my life being disappointed.

ZIPP Service Course CX tape is excellent - cushy but not tacky and shiny like Lizard Skins and less than half the price. It is a little stretchy and so somewhat forgiving.
Practice with cheap tape a few times. I don't worry about which direction to wrap it or whether it should be reversed after the brake levers and never use the extra piece under the hoods.

Finishing the end is the important part and good 3M electrical tape, the expensive kind that comes in a plastic case, works great. If the end by the stem is finished properly, the tape is tight and the bar end is plugged then it won't give you trouble.
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Old 11-02-17, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
...top-down wrapping is for hipsters, don't do it
Well, that's how I've always done it. I don't think I'm what you'd call a hipster. I've never liked the tape at the top. Top-down eliminates need for tape. I've never had any problems.

Dan
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Old 11-02-17, 11:03 PM
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Lots of YouTube videos. I agree with buy cheap tape first and if it looks fugly who cares.
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Old 11-02-17, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_ View Post
Well, that's how I've always done it. I don't think I'm what you'd call a hipster. I've never liked the tape at the top. Top-down eliminates need for tape. I've never had any problems.

Dan
The problem with wrapping from the top down is that the tape edges face you, and your hands fray the edges when you move on the bars. When the tape is wrapped from the bottom the tape lasts longer and is less likely to be pushed out of place.
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Old 11-03-17, 03:41 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_ View Post
Well, that's how I've always done it. I don't think I'm what you'd call a hipster. I've never liked the tape at the top. Top-down eliminates need for tape. I've never had any problems.

Dan
I've never used the tape supplied with the bar tape itself but every time I see it elsewhere it is always falling or about to fall off. It looks like pvc electrical tape. I use Cloth Electrical Harness Tape. It is stretchy enough to cover the bar tape and mould to the bar itself whilst leaving neat edges. Comes in any colour you like as long as it is black.
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Old 11-03-17, 04:49 AM
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I also had a tough time with Cinelli Cork. Have switched to leather (closeout by Selle Anatomica). Certainly easier to install. Seems to be more durable as well.
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Old 11-03-17, 05:54 AM
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You are not alone. I once worked with an otherwise excellent bike mechanic who refused to tape handlebars for the same reason.

I have to say that Cinelli Cork isn't the easiest handlebar wrap to work with. Too loose and it looks messy, too tight and it tears in half. There's only a small window in the middle.

Good luck!
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Old 11-03-17, 06:17 AM
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Ever noticed that the second bar you do is better than the first bar? That's your tip. The more you do it, the better you get. A professional does it often and eventually does it easily and neatly. Us amateurs do it once every blue moon and make an unholy mess of it. All I can suggest is wrap a bar, if you don't like it, unwrap it and do it again, and again, until it's right (sort of), then do the other bar. The alternative is to do all your mate's bikes before doing yours. The beauty of it is that bar tape is very forgiving and will allow you a fair bit of stuffing about to get it right.

If it's any consolation, the only person who will ever notice the quality of your bar taping is YOU, whether you do a good job or a bad job.

Then there are the situations like mine where I recently, for the first time, taped a set of bars with hydraulic disc brakes, and didn't realise until I did the other side that I'd covered the bleed screw - guess who gets to retape his bars come brake bleeding time
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Old 11-03-17, 07:20 AM
  #11  
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I've had good luck with Profile Designs bar tape. It's a combination of real cork in a synthetic matrix and a bit stretchy but strong so it can be pulled reasonably tight without tearing. It's also non-adhesive backed so it can be reused if you have to unwrap the bars for cable maintenance or lever changes. Hand grip, comfort and durability are very good and if you can find a sale price the cost is reasonable too.
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Old 11-03-17, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Aubergine View Post
The problem with wrapping from the top down is that the tape edges face you, and your hands fray the edges when you move on the bars. When the tape is wrapped from the bottom the tape lasts longer and is less likely to be pushed out of place.
I've just never really had that problem. I find that if I wrap it tight enough that it doesn't do that.

Dan
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Old 11-03-17, 08:53 AM
  #13  
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fwiw, on one bike, for some reason, I don't remember now, I wound up adding a second layer of thick tape (cork or some other cushy fabric) it had a pretty nice feel having thicker bars
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Old 11-03-17, 09:17 AM
  #14  
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I never worried about bar tape wrapping. I didn't use to care what it looked like, however when I built out my last bike, I wanted it to look good. So I watched all the video's.

None where as good or informative as this guy from Park Tools. He gives you information and considerations that no one else ever mentioned. https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair...tion-drop-bars

IMHO,He ought to be the model for everyone trying to make a youtube vid!

One thing he didn't cover though, I'd bought tape already and the decorative stitch in the tape was not on the centerline of the tape. It was not quite 1/3 of the way over from one edge. So I could not change the direction of my wrap after passing the levers as he suggested without loosing that decorative stitch.
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Old 11-03-17, 09:33 AM
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The beginning is easiest -- just an overlap, once around tight with enough past the end to tuck under, which is held in place by the end of bar plug. The Cinelli ribbon I used came with two extra pieces of ribbon to be used on the part of the bar opposite the brakes, which saves one wrap around the base of brakes. Ending is tricky-- you end the spiral by cutting the end of the ribbon at an angle so that the edge is perpendicular to the bar. Do the finishing tape twice, the first going opposite the direction of the ribbon and go a few times around. After that, go around again a couple of times in the opposite direction with a second piece of finishing tape. If the ribbon you use comes with finishing tape, chances are is not long enough to be more than merely decorative so use it if want as the second tape.

Last edited by McBTC; 11-03-17 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 11-03-17, 09:33 AM
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this is one of my things that just don't end up great....and I have done it lots. my big issue is getting the bar end so there is enough for the plug to cover neatly and completely and getting to much so the plug is tough to get.

I have accepted that this is going to be one of those things that i keep working on.

I used Lizard Skin for last wrap... very comfy, but wears really quickly
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Old 11-03-17, 09:39 AM
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You guys with your bottom to top routine
You are forgetting... it takes almost a full bottle of wine to get the wrap right.
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Old 11-03-17, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
fwiw, on one bike, for some reason, I don't remember now, I wound up adding a second layer of thick tape (cork or some other cushy fabric) it had a pretty nice feel having thicker bars
Fizik makes gel pads designed to fit on the top of drop bars. They work very well to add a bit of comfort. I think I have seen similar pads from other companies, too.
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Old 11-03-17, 09:50 AM
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Looks like you did an OK job tho...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
Ribbon .jpg (238.8 KB, 281 views)
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Old 11-03-17, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
I also had a tough time with Cinelli Cork. Have switched to leather (closeout by Selle Anatomica). Certainly easier to install. Seems to be more durable as well.
Leather is the way to ride, best feel and stays in place well if you pull tight and overlap correctly, just slightly. Trick is using 2-sided tape on bars as bottom layer or even use elect tape with sticky side up as complete under layer. Works great for holding the leather in place.
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Old 11-03-17, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
top-down wrapping is for hipsters, don't do it
I have been wrapping top down since the '90s. Those sir are fighting words.

Originally Posted by Aubergine View Post
The problem with wrapping from the top down is that the tape edges face you, and your hands fray the edges when you move on the bars. When the tape is wrapped from the bottom the tape lasts longer and is less likely to be pushed out of place.
This sounds like a technique and type of tape problem. I typically only replace my tape once or twice a year wrapping top down and that's usually due to:
A. Crashed, and it tore up the tape, or
B. I want really fresh clean tape for a special event.

The last tape I used was the $20 Forté tape from Performance Bike and it lasted a year (+7,000mi) before I replaced it due to the white tape being more of a grey brown.
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Old 11-03-17, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
You guys with your bottom to top routine
You are forgetting... it takes almost a full bottle of wine to get the wrap right.
Some choice swear-words seem to help as well.
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Old 11-03-17, 07:55 PM
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https://www.bikeexchange.com.au/blog...-wrap-bar-tape

Dude came to my workshop and shot a vid:


BTW, some of the text is bogus, eg overlap by 1/3 when I'm clearly overlapping by 1/2...
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Old 11-03-17, 09:13 PM
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I like XLC cork tape. It is cheap, goes on easy, and holds up. I've used unbranded cheap cork tape off eBay for my wife and it works pretty good. Not quite as good, but for $6 it goes on easy and is comfortable.

John
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Old 11-04-17, 06:10 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by joesch View Post
Leather is the way to ride, best feel and stays in place well if you pull tight and overlap correctly, just slightly. Trick is using 2-sided tape on bars as bottom layer or even use elect tape with sticky side up as complete under layer. Works great for holding the leather in place.
I've just taken leather off because I didn't like it's feel - to me, it's too hard under your hands. Mind you, it came off because I was replacing the bars to oversize top tubes (I've got big paws and like fat bars) but felt no temptation to put it back on again because, as I said, I didn't like the feel.

On the other hand, I carefully kept it and it's just occurred to me that it'd be a nice touch on a vintage bike (seeing you can't get the cloth tape any more)
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