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How To Wrap Cloth Bar Tape

How To Wrap Cloth Bar Tape

Supplies:

Gather up a pair of scissors and some super glue gel your trusty, rusty calipers. Solid lighting and a work stand would help, too. Obviously you’ll need your bar tape of choice, we highly recommend you get some Fizik Drop Bar Gel, and if you decide to use shellac you’ll need that and a cheap paint brush. We like the 1″ hog’s hair bristle brushes that are $1.50 and usually on the bottom shelf at the hardware store. Denatured alcohol can be used to clean up any drips or mistakes with the shellac.

 

Let’s get to it:

Newbaums and Green Grips   cloth bar tape come as just two long rolls of tape so you should start by measuring the bit of tape that goes behind your hood to cover the lever clamp. Snip that off the roll.

Put a dab of super glue gel (hither forth referred to SGG, the gel is less runny, we prefer it to the standard stuff) on each end of your little strip and wrap it around the back side of your lever. Hold it there for 30 seconds or so.

Use a small piece of tape to cover up the clamp of the brake lever.

Hopefully you’re planning on laying down some Fizik Gel under the tape. We highly recommend that you do, especially for any cloth tape that has no cush’ of it’s own. We even put the gel under cushy tape. Lay one of the straight sections of gel down on the drop portion of the bar. Align it, and trim it if necessary, but usually you won’t need to.

Start wrapping over the gel, pull hard as you wrap. This will help keep the tape from slipping. Cloth tape usually has a type of chevron pattern on it which is helpful for keeping consistent spacing. You want to wrap over about a quarter of the tape, you could do more but you might find by the time you get up to the tops of the bars you’ve run out of length on the tape. Check the inside and bottoms of the bar every once in a while to make sure you are consistent all the way around as you wrap.

Start wrapping over the gel, pull hard as you wrap. This will help keep the tape from slipping. Cloth tape usually has a type of chevron pattern on it which is helpful for keeping consistent spacing. You want to wrap over about a quarter of the tape, you could do more but you might find by the time you get up to the tops of the bars you’ve run out of length on the tape. Check the inside and bottoms of the bar every once in a while to make sure you are consistent all the way around as you wrap.

 

I bias the gel up towards the hood, and try to keep it centered. As you wrap you may need to straighten the gel out. Its tacky, but not really sticky on the back side.

Now use the SSG to glue the end of the roll of tape underneath the very end of the bar. The proper way to wrap bars is from the bar end up towards the stem. On the right side you wrap clockwise. On the left side you wrap counter-clockwise. The trick for remembering that is that you always wrap pulling away from the frame. Place the glued end of the tape underneath the bar and try to line up the edge of the tape with the edge of the bar end. Hold that there and let it set for 20-30 seconds. We’re going to be pulling against that glued end it so don’t skip this step.

Wrapping around the hood clamp is the trickiest part. Take your time with it. You might have to back up and change your spacing to make everything line up nicely at this juncture. Check the hood area from all angles before you move on from it, it’s likely you’ve left a gap somewhere or a wrinkle. Better to see it and fix it now than notice it at the end after you’ve glued everything up.

If you’re using the Fizik Gel, place the curvy top pad on now. You might need to trim it, depending on the reach of your bars. Size it up and cut it with the backing still on it (makes for a nicer cut). You can use it as a template to cut the other side while you’re at it. Wrap your way up to the stem clamp. We usually leave about an inch to an inchandahalf of handle bar exposed. Figure out a good stopping point and glue down the bar tape to the underside of the handlebar.

Finishing tape isn’t necessary, but it can look nicer with than without. Most synthetic and leather tapes come with finishing tape, most cloth tapes do not. If you decide to use finishing tape wrap that around as straight as you can so it aligns with itself. Glue it under the handlebar, so your seam is hidden. Lots of people like to finish with a twine wrap. That’s a little trickier. I’ll eventually have a link to a how to video for that, but not today!

You’re halfway there! Mosey on to the other side, start wrapping in the opposite direction. When you get to the end use calipers or a ruler to measure the distance between your finished end and the stem clamp. Use this to guide where to end on the other side so you have equal spacing. This is a bigger deal that you might think. You’ll be riding around looking at this area a lot and if you’re anything like us, it’s gunna annoy the hell out of you when you realize your spacing is off.

You don’t have to shellac the tape, but it can serve as a kind of glue to hold the whole situation together. Shellac comes in two flavors: amber and clear . The amber can muddy the color of the more vibrant colors like greens, blues, purples and is a little too salty for my taste.. But it can also tint and alter a basic color and make it much more interesting. Like how a basic yellow tape coated with a layer of amber shellac turns into beautiful gold. One layer and the tape will mostly soak up all of the shellac leaving a kind of rough surface after the shellac dries and hardens.

2+ layers and the shellac starts to build up and become slick. If you opt out of shellac, the bar tape will be nice and soft but potentially slip or sort of fade in the sunlight. Sometimes you can bring back the vibrancy of a faded cloth tape with a thin layer of clear shellac. But it doesn’t always work!

Clean up any drips or runs. If you went off the tape with the shellac you can use denatured alcohol and a rag to clean it up. BLAM!