This afternoon, I put my bike on the workstand and remounted the handlebar. Why the bar was off in the first place is a whole other topic, and I’ll probably post on it next week, when that saga comes to an end — I hope.
Anyhoo, I got the bar positioned the way I want it, then got the brake levers back on. I even rode the bike around the block to make sure the levers were just where I was most comfortable with them.
Back in the garage, it was time to do one of my most favorite bike maintenance activities — wrapping new bar tape.
Why fun? Well, if you’ve never tried it, take a shot and see for yourself. With a little bit of care and patience, your bike can assume a whole new character in a matter of minutes. Or, you can do as I did, and use the same old black tape. I think it gives my bike a slightly understated look, and that’s fine with me.
There’s only one problem with wrapping tape: starting and stopping. Okay, two.
To start, you leave a bit of tape hanging down at the end of the handlebar. Then you have to make sure you pull the tape taut while wrapping it, or you’ll get gaps in the wrap — and we can’t have that.
Eventually, you get to the point where you want to stop, and here’s where one of my continuing bar wrapping problems crops up. I see all these pictures of nice bikes with one wrap of contrasting color tape to seal the wrap job. When you buy bar tape, you get a short length of the end tape — maybe it has the manufacturer’s logo on it, maybe not. But it’s all of three or four inches long, and only a half inch wide.
But the bar tape itself is wider than that. So one wrap of the contrasting tape won’t cover the whole end of the bar tape, and you get a square-edged corner sticking out from under. I don’t like the feel of that.
So I do it the Bike Noob way. I use black electrician’s tape to seal the job, and I cover the entire width of the bar tape, plus some.
This is one of the reasons I prefer black bar tape. My electrician’s tape overdose is not so obvious to the casual observer.
Once I’ve overdone the electrician’s tape, it’s time to go back to the beginning. The length of tape left hanging from the bar end gets pushed into the bar, and kept in place with a bar end plug. Sounds easy, but mine always comes out like this:
No set of instructions on bar taping clearly explains how to cleanly get all the tape into the bar end and plug it without leaving unsightly lumps. Anybody got any pointers? I’d love to hear ’em. In another week or so, I’ll be replacing the handlebar, so I’ll be going through the whole process all over again, and I’d sure like to get a clean looking end.