My good friend James, who is not only from Portsmouth but now lives in Japan which I am immediately jealous of has let me reproduce this blog post on bartape from his great blog Team Machin–e Racing. Basically this is the most PRO thing I have ever seen and he isn’t a fake PRO like me James actually rides, races and wins big stuff in Japan. Check him out he is a great guy and good friend and he has got a very nice bike.
As you can tell from my previous blog entry I’m rather choosey about the components, accessories, parts and looks of my road bike and like everything to match and seamlessly blend with the bike.
After a long winter riding both indoor and outdoor I wanted to change over my bar tape and Hudz
, for white but after someone dropped the bombshell that I’d placed on the podium for every event I’d raced this year it may be unwise to switch colour of tape. I’m not superstitious but best not leave things to chance!!
I went with the Silva “Forello” nastro per manubrio, or to the laymen out there, bar tape ribbon, and picked it up in both red and white to see how both would look.
Having had my head messed with, I went with the red and honestly I think it looks much better with the white hoods. Now most people will have a shop change the ribbon but I actually like doing it myself as I know a few tricks to keep the bar tape in very good condition and wanted to finish off with my own custom holding tape.
How To Wrap Your Bars, Properly!
First off I wrap each side of the handle bar in opposite directions, the right bar anti-clockwise and the left clockwise, the reason for this is that riders tend to roll the hands outwards when in the drops and by wrapping the tape this way you actually tighten the tape rather than loosen it.
Now this is the tricky part as once you clear the hoods you need to reverse the direction of the wrap as otherwise when resting on the tops you’ll loosen the tape, by reverse wrapping you tighten the tape again.
Ever wondered why after a Pro Tour rider crashes his bar tape doesn’t unravel?
Well the trick here is to wrap the most damage prone area, which is the drops, with either double sided tape or upside down electrical tape “sticky side up” this will prevent the bars unravelling in the event of crashes… Crit riders and JCRC riders should take note!
Finally the holding tape, most holding tape you get with the ribbon tape looks crap if we are honest about it and normally doesn’t match your team or personal colours. This is where the ¥100 store electrical tape comes in to play again.
Having chosen the desired team, nationality or personal favourite colours of electrical tape you’ll need a cutting board, sharp knife or razor and a ruler.
Make sure your cutting surface is ultra clean and dry and lay down your first colour about 15-20cm, try not to stretch the tape at this point as it will make things easier and then cut.
Next take your secondary colour and lay this over the top overlapping the first layer, I left about a 5mm gap between each layer as I didn’t want the bands to thick, again cut using a sharp blade. Laying the final colour is a bit tricky as the tape already laid wants to roll back on its self so you may need to firmly push the leading end down to stick to the cutting board.
I then cut the final black layer down to the required depth of 5mm, giving me a 15mm width holding tape which is the common width for most major brands. The next step is to cut it in to strips; I cut mine to 17cm which again is about the same length as standard tape holder.
Now before applying the tape I sealed both ends with a hot knife, this prevents the layers from separating. All I had to do then was secure the bar tape ribbon in the usual manner and again using a hot knife bonded the end to prevent it from unwrapping. Again you should always wrap the holding tape anti-clockwise as this will tighten the tape when riding on the tops.
The final effect is exactly what I wanted incorporating all the colours of the bike and giving some clear lines between where the bar tape ribbon ends and the bars start as well as keeping with the overall design of the bike.