How to Apply Bicycle Handlebar Tape

How to Apply Bicycle Handlebar Tape
Re-taping handlebars is a simple maintenance skill that can have surprisingly big effects. Not only does fresh tape look better, giving you that all-important psychological edge, but it also provides a secure grip surface and padding for your hands. For best results, purchase a high quality wrap or tape kit from your local cycle shop.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Handlebar wrap or tape kit Scissors or knife Electrical tape (optional)
  • Handlebar wrap or tape kit
  • Scissors or knife
  • Electrical tape (optional)
Step 1
Flip up the brake hood covers to expose the bar beneath. Remove the bar end plugs and finishing tape, and unwind the old wraps from your handlebars. If necessary, use electrical tape to secure the brake and shifting cabling to the grooves in the bars.
Step 2
Find one of the small, adhesive-backed strips of tape in your kit. Remove the backing from the adhesive strip, and apply the tape to the underside of one brake hood clamp. Trim to fit as necessary.
Step 3
Wrap one side of the bars starting from the drop section. Make a single wrap to secure the tape at the end of the bars, leaving about 1 centimeter of tape hanging over the bar end. This small section will be secured by the bar plug.
Step 4
Wind the tape up the bars. Overlap each segment to maintain a secure wrap, taking care to make each wind and overlapped section equal. As you approach the brake hood, wind the tape as close as possible to the bar clamp, then make one large wrap to bring the tape to the top section of the bars. Start winding from as close to the upper part of the brake hood as possible.
Step 5
Continue winding the tape as far as you wish on the top of the bars. When you've achieved your preferred wrap, trim the end of the tape to square off the final wrap. Apply finishing tape to the end of the wrap to secure it.
Step 6
Replace the bar end plug so it pulls the loose section of tape into the bar end. Flip down the brake hood cover.
Step 7
Repeat Steps 2 through 6 to wrap the other half of the bars.

Tips & Warnings

If your kit does not include finishing tape, or if the tape is of poor quality, use electrical tape to secure the wrap in Step 5.

Article Written By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson earned his Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from The Ohio University. He has been a professional writer since 2008, specializing in outdoors content and instruction. Johnson's poetry has appeared in such publications as "Sphere" and "17 1/2 Magazine."

Keep Me Informed

Weekly newsletters, announcements and offers from to your inbox.

Sign me up!

We HATE spam and promise to keep your email addresses safe and secure.