Sunday, August 6, 2017

How to Tape Your Handlebars

First tings first if you commute everyday you are going to what to do your own maintnance. You have to learn how to maintain every bicycle like a bike shop mechanic, you just have to learn how to work on your bike. Having a bike stand makes working on your bike exponentional easier. You don't have to get a nice top of the line, just something that suspends the bike from the gound. This this the portable bike stand from Feedback Sports it's portable so you can fold it up and put it in your closet when you are not using it.

Is your bar tape getting a little ratty? Mine is, so I need to replace it?

Here's the stuff you are going to need.
1. Music: Toughies from Lawerence.
2. Bar Tape: Find what's comfortable for you. The cheap stuff is fine if you just ride a bike on the weekends; but if you ride everyday, you are going to want tougher tape. I chose Zipp Brands, Cyclo Cross tape. It's thick and has a rubberized grip.
3. Goo Gone: It gets the old bar tape sticky residue off the bar easy.
4. Isopropyl Alcohol: Goo Gone leaves a oily residue, this gets the Goo Gone of and leaves it handlebars nice and clean.
5. Screw Driver: you will need this to get the bar ends off. I have the Velox Brand plugs that have an expander. You also need them if you have to press in style.
6. Sissors: To cut the end of the tape off.
7. Dumonde Lite Oil: When I have the tape off, I like to use this opportunity to get some oil in the housing so the cable slides nice and smooth. Since all modern day housing is lined, you don't need to. It's some people's opinion you should not, because oil can attract dirt. No oil attracts no dirt. but dirt gets in there anyway. There is a distinction to be made here because you are not putting a lubricant in new housing, but rather extending the performance of old cables and housing. I use Dumonde Lite. They call it liquid plastic, so it attract significantly less dirt than oil. To extend the life of cables and
housing in the past I have used light oils, and I find Dumonde to work exponentially longer. Just for the record I do put it in new housing and I find it makes to cables run smoother, and improves derailleur performance. My derailleur housing is not routed underneath my bar tape. Just have the brake housing.
8.Friction Tape: Friction tape is like electrical tape with a cloth mesh embedded in it to hold the housing and bar
tape and more solid. You don't need it, but I like it.
 9. Electrical tape: Friction tape tends to be sticky on both sides. I finish with a couple rounds the end is not sticky and it looks better. The best kind of electrical tape is 3-M, "33". It's got the yellow core. I found the so called "Contractor" grade's tends to become unsecure over time. It's a little more, but worth it.

This is a Velox bar end. It has an internal expander so they don't fall out like press-in bar ends can. They are also made from rubber. Sometimes you can hit you knee on them, or whatever. Most bar tape comes with bar ends that press in and these are an added expense, but I think they are worth it.
When taking your bar tape off you should take these out first.

Now take the old bar tape off

In this step I do not release the cable clamp. This is not a brake adjustment. This is about taking advantage of the exposed cable housing under the tape. When I put the cables back in the stops, I want the same cable tension. This is just about adding lubrication between the cable and housing quickly and easily. I just have the brake housing routed under my bar tape. Now Im going to release the brake so I can get to housing out of the stops and get Dumonde in the housing and on the cable. You don't have to do this step, but like I said, as long as you have access to the housing, use this opportunity to get at it. This is just what I do. I use Paul "Touring" cantilever brakes. Solid, effective, and easy to clean and adjust

 Pull the straddle wire down to release

These are my cable stops. Now that the tension is off the cable, I can pull the cable out of the cable stops. I have external routing. External routing makes maintnance a lot easier.
A lot of bikes these days have the cables routed through the frame. Internal routing does give the bicycle a nicer look, but I find internal routing over complicates things. Every bicycle is different.

Now I can slide the other cable end out of the brake lever to get some oil on that side.

Now that the lubricating is done, now clean the bars of any old tape glue and oil. It doesn't have to be perfect. Now secure the cable housing to the bar. I use friction tape. Like I said you can use electrical tape and probably 99% of mechanics do, I find Friction tape is more solid, so this is the way I do it.

Some tape comes with strips to cover the brake lever strap. Some people call these "Cheater Strips".
You can wrap the bars in such a way that it covers the brake lever straps, but I don't like the extra bulk around the lever. Zipp tape does not come with the little strips, but rather they leave a bit on the end of the tape without glue for you to cut off.

The "Cheater Strip" has landed. The ends are tucked up under the brake hood.

When you wrap handlebars you want to start at the bottom and work your way to the top, then secure the loose end with tape. There are some people that start at the top, and work there way down, and then put the loose end of the tape inside the handlebar, then secure it with the bar end. This does gives a cleaner look, and eliminates having the tape the tape down. The problem is then you ride the natural tendency off your hand movements with peel back the over laying rounds of tape. Also you
want to finish going away from you, so the tendency is to tighten the tape, rather that loosen it.
So for the right side (Drive side) you will wrap the tape going clockwise. The left side (Non-Drive) mirror image counter clockwise.

Over lap the tape by covering up 1/3 of the tape as you go up. If you go around covering up the previous round by 1/2 you risk running out of tape.

Finishing the tape reqires a little trial and error. Since the tape is wrapped in a spiral, you should not cut it off square to the tape. Also to give it a clean look, you want to cut it so the tape ends underneath the handlebar.

1-1/2 rounds of Friction tape.

2 rounds of electrical tape.

Repeat on the other side...Viola!...You should be solid.

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