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Handlebar Tape from the Top?

Old 04-01-22, 08:42 AM
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smd4
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Handlebar Tape from the Top?

I've wrapped hundreds of road bike handlebars in my time. I have never even considered wrapping from the top to the ends. Yet I've seen several examples of this in the C&V forum. What would be the benefit?
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Old 04-01-22, 08:45 AM
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No need to have to finish with ugly electrical tape.
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Old 04-01-22, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee View Post
No need to have to finish with ugly electrical tape.
So it's better to have an ugly bulge at the top? Guess I prefer the electrical tape, personally.
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Old 04-01-22, 09:01 AM
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It's not much of a bulge when you are using silicone bar tape- you can kind of control the thickness by stretching out the silicone wrap. When you are using silicone bar wrap with no electrical tape , there is zero glue residue anywhere. None on the bar and none on the bar tape itself. You can take it off and rewrap as often as you want.
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Old 04-01-22, 09:05 AM
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Tried it on one of my commuter bikes prior to retirement. Liked the clean, no finish tape look but the exposed edge soon developed curl where my hand positions were located. Still, must not have bothered me much, as rode with it for a couple years, or perhaps I was just too cheap to replace it early. Don
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Old 04-01-22, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee View Post
It's not much of a bulge when you are using silicone bar tape- you can kind of control the thickness by stretching out the silicone wrap. When you are using silicone bar wrap with no electrical tape , there is zero glue residue anywhere. None on the bar and none on the bar tape itself. You can take it off and rewrap as often as you want.
Interesting. Is this a relatively new technique?
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Old 04-01-22, 09:07 AM
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I go top down sometimes. Not sure what bulge you speak of...
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Old 04-01-22, 09:09 AM
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I've tried silicone a couple times. I'm not a fan of the feel, but my problem was it tore on the edge of the brake lever body.

You used to see a lot of Benotto and cotton wrapped top-down. I think one of the problems with that technique is your hands can roll down the edges when riding on the hoods. As bike fit/STI forced more riders to ride on the hoods, the industry moved to "cork" tapes and bottom-up wrapping. I was always taught if you start your tape on the tips and wrap up-and-away as you move towards the clamp, it won't be as likely to roll.
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Old 04-01-22, 09:11 AM
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I thought this was an April Fool's joke.
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Old 04-01-22, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
So it's better to have an ugly bulge at the top? Guess I prefer the electrical tape, personally.
The practice of starting at the top was pretty common in the days of cloth tape. For my bikes with cloth tape, this is still what I do. No bulge that I can see.



Steve in Peoria
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Old 04-01-22, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
So it's better to have an ugly bulge at the top? Guess I prefer the electrical tape, personally.
The beginning of the tape is cut on a diagonal. start near the bottom of the bars.
If you cannot master it, oh well.
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Old 04-01-22, 09:24 AM
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I've tried the top-down wrapping once or twice. It does have the advantage that it holds itself in place nicely as you work, but if you're not using a thin tape and/or shellacking it down when you're done, it will curl on the tops after some riding.

I have gone to, and will advocate to anyone who will listen, starting my wrap at the brake levers and working outward in both directions. It's probably the most fiddly of all methods short of harlequin wrapping, and you need something to hold the tape in place at the brake lever while you work. And then you still have to use tape or twine or something to finish the ends near the stem. But the beauty of this method is that the tape will not curl up from riding in any position on the handlebars! It just stays put and resists shifting because it's been wrapped in the opposite direction of your hand pressure.
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Old 04-01-22, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
start near the bottom of the bars.
If you cannot master it, oh well.
I always start at the bottom. That's the point.

I guess there's no bulge with cloth tape; I'm used to using padded vinyl tape.
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Old 04-01-22, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by curbtender View Post
I go top down sometimes. Not sure what bulge you speak of...
Look at the edges of the tape on the left side--it's just begging to be pushed aside with hand pressure, even on the drops. Think I'll stick with the tried-and-true.
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Old 04-01-22, 09:35 AM
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I've always wrapped from the top down.
There is no need for any additional tape that way. At the end just pop on the bar end plug and you're done,
No adhesives needed.
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Old 04-01-22, 09:46 AM
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I did it top down because that's the way the original tape was done in 1982


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Old 04-01-22, 09:46 AM
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What is this bulge you speak of?



Personally, it depends on the tape. That's just me, though. Why care how others like to wrap their tape?
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Old 04-01-22, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by BFisher View Post
Why care how others like to wrap their tape?
Did I say I cared? People can use foam for all I care. Just curious what any benefit would be gained. Personally, I can't see any benefit. Wrapping from the top down only seems to open up the possibility of the edges of the tape being pushed.
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Old 04-01-22, 09:57 AM
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The point of wrapping from bottom up is so the natural downward and forward pressure from your hands will not catch the edges of the tape that could eventually force the seams between the turns of the tape apart.....
this was more problematic with the older cello type tapes. Newer padded tapes were a bit better at resisting this separation as they incorporated adhesive backing, but seams can still separate and expose the metal handlebar when the adhesive breaks down from heat and age....
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Old 04-01-22, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by ollo_ollo View Post
but the exposed edge soon developed curl where my hand positions were located.
+1

Loved the look until after the 2nd or 3rd ride.
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Old 04-01-22, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
Did I say I cared? People can use foam for all I care. Just curious what any benefit would be gained. Personally, I can't see any benefit. Wrapping from the top down only seems to open up the possibility of the edges of the tape being pushed.
Framing the topic as you did, and then retorting that you'll just stick to what you deem better is quite an odd thing to do when the biggest factor in something like this is personal preference. It suggests that, yes, you do care. Otherwise, why ask why others do what they do?
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Old 04-01-22, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by BFisher View Post
Framing the topic as you did, and then retorting that you'll just stick to what you deem better is quite an odd thing to do when the biggest factor in something like this is personal preference. It suggests that, yes, you do care. Otherwise, why ask why others do what they do?
I don't think the biggest factor is personal preference. I think there are reasons that things are done. Folks gave me their reasons for top-down, and while some are compelling, it seems to me that the bottom-up method is more advantageous, from a practical point of view.
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Old 04-01-22, 10:20 AM
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I love to climb hard. My hands are hard on bar tape. Top down jobs I wear to unacceptable (and with cloth, full tears) very fast. From the bottom the tape stays completely rideable long after I've worn holes to the bars.
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Old 04-01-22, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
I've tried the top-down wrapping once or twice. It does have the advantage that it holds itself in place nicely as you work, but if you're not using a thin tape and/or shellacking it down when you're done, it will curl on the tops after some riding.

I have gone to, and will advocate to anyone who will listen, starting my wrap at the brake levers and working outward in both directions. It's probably the most fiddly of all methods short of harlequin wrapping, and you need something to hold the tape in place at the brake lever while you work. ....
Park pin spanners work perfect for holding the tape. I'd always keep one in my pocket whenever I did tape jobs at the shop because you knew the phone would ring.
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Old 04-01-22, 11:26 AM
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A little flair, but no unsightly bulge here:



Shellac ensures curling tape isn't a problem, whether you wrap top-to-bottom or bottom-to-top. In any case, if you regularly exploit all the real estate of a drop bar, at some point you'll be putting your hands on an area where the overlap can become curled up over time by contact.

As for the question of the benefit of taping top-to-bottom: what's the benefit of taping bottom-to-top? This tape direction argument never seems to get old, does it?

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