MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"  

TAPING BARS - INTRO

POSITION -  BARS/LEVERS

WRAPPING THE DROPS

WRAP AROUND LEVER

WRAPPING THE TOPS

 

TAPING HANDLEBARS - INTRODUCTION

MORE THAN JUST WRAPPING WITH TAPE

Taping a set of drop bars is a relatively straight forward and easy task.  Though I can offer a step by step procedure as to how I wrap handlebars, only practice will add what is needed to achieve really good results.  Fortunately, modern handlebar tape can be forgiving of the beginner's lack of expertise and achieving satisfactory results the first time is not at all unrealistic.

There are many different kinds of handlebar tape, ranging from simple cotton cloths and more exotic corks blends of yesterday, to today's ultra modern carbon fibre stuff, that I know little about.

Choosing handlebar tape is a very personal issue.  I can only comment on what works best for me.  Getting on in years, I have learned to tolerate "Carpal Tunnel Syndrome" in both wrists, and tend to put function before form, when choosing tape.  With that in mind, I rarely install the thin unpadded cotton cloth tapes, common on many, if not most, vintage road bicycles.

My choice, these days, is the more modern cork/rubber blends that feels a bit like dense foam.  A normal set of tape includes two lengths of tape, two brake lever cover strips, two end caps and some form of finishing tape that I have never bothered to use.

Some cushioned tapes look more vintage than others while still offering adequate cushioning and grip qualities.  Other cushioned tapes include embossed manufacturer logos and these I find to be inappropriate in appearance for vintage road bike application.  The more vintage looking tapes tend to have a surface texture and/or air holes, both of which add user friendly function to the more acceptable vintage form.

Before beginning it is a good idea to know that there are two fundamental kinds of handlebar tape, adhesive backed and non-adhesive backed.  Both have their advantages.  Non-adhesive backed can be unwrapped and rewrapped with little difficulty.  Adhesive backed tape is less forgiving in the re-wrap area.  The adhesive backing, though not all that powerful initially, just might stick really well with the passing of time.  If it does so, attempting to pull the tape from the bars and rewrap will be difficult.  If you are a novice at wrapping bars, get a really cheap set of non-adhesive backed tape and practice wrapping until you get a bit of a feel for starting, stretching and wrapping.

I should add also, that I rarely install any kind of sticky backed handlebar tape.  Generally, I wrap my bars at the beginning of each season with new tape.  I do this for a couple of reasons.  New tape dramatically improves the looks of any old road bicycle.  Secondly, new tape is clean and usually germ free and since our leaders have managed to increase my awareness of the possibility, make that probability, of a pandemic, I try to keep my hands clean.  Finally, handlebar tape, be it cloth or spongy rubber, absorbs moisture, much of which will be salt soaked sweat.  This can cause horrible damage to a set of alloy handlebars.  Having seen a great many bar set destroyed because of this situation, I choose to check and re-wrap my handlebars at least once each season.

Needless to say before taping, it is a good idea to ensure that the handlebars are reasonably clean.  Check the surface carefully and make sure that there are no lumps of old tape still clinging to the bars.  Check also to see if there are any sharp edges or burrs that could cut flesh.  If you find any of these little culprits, smooth them off with a file or emery cloth and polish as required.  This is quite important, since you will be testing your brake lever placement with no tape on the bars.  Any nasty or sharp spots  need to be identified and dealt with, before you test ride without tape.

NEXT - POSITIONING THE BARS AND LEVERS

 

 

 

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