Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Building My Bike: #10 Bar Tape

Everything was put together. The fitting had been completed. I put the insert in the steerer tube and the stem was firmly attached to it. There was just one thing left to make the bike complete and I couldn't put it off anymore: it was time to wrap the handlebar with tape.

The reason for my hesitation stemmed from my attempts to wrap bar tape on my ten-speed back in high school (known as "the seventies" to you youngsters). It always ended in disaster. However, the bar tape you get to work with now is so much better than that plastic stuff from way back when. For the tape, I stuck with with what I know and has been working for me: Cinelli Cork. It feels good, it looks good, and it comes in a variety of colors and patterns. Another nice thing about this tape is that there is a small strip of adhesive on the back to hold it down while you're wrapping.

To build up my confidence, I watched this video a few times:

Time to get started:

Wrap those cables first.
1. Wrap the cables to the bar with electrical tape.

Those "spare" bar tape strips
go behind the shifters.
2. Use the extra tape section to wrap behind the brake handle.

3. Beginning at the bar end, wrap, wrap, wrap. Wrap, wrap, wrap. Woops, running out of tape. I guess my original plan of overlapping by half the tape width was way too conservative. Unwrap, unwrap, unwrap. This time I'm going to wrap so that the adhesive strip on the back lands just outside the tape underneath.

I wrapped with the adhesive
just outside the tape below.

Re-rap, wrap, wrap, double over the brake handle, wrap, wrap, wrap. Done!

4. Instead of using electrical tape, Cinelli provides tape strips (with their logo, natch) to tape the end. Some people used to recommend using an X-Acto knife to cut the end of the tape so it is perpendicular with the bar but using scissors is much easier and you don't cut into your bar.

An improvised mallet.
5. Time to put the bar-end plugs in. Hmm, that isn't going in easily. In fact, it was pretty hard. I ended up using a hammer but, because I didn't have a soft mallet, I had to improvise by putting some extra bar tape on the hammer head and whacked those plugs in.

Not a bad job.
There! Not a bad job. Not a great job but not a bad job. Fear of wrapping the handlebars begone!

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