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How to wrap a handlebar

Getting a proper wrap on a road bike handlebar is a true test of any bike mechanic’s skills, and it’s one of those simple projects that can puzzle even the savviest DIYer. It’s true that it takes some finesse and practice, but getting a perfect bar tape wrap is easier than you might imagine—as long as you have the right instruction.

Here, Trek-Segafredo Service Course Manager Kenneth Van de Wiele gives you the tips, tricks, and insider knowledge you need to get a perfectly wrapped road bike handlebar every time you change your bar tape.

All you need to get started is a roll of Bontrager bar tape, some black electrical tape, and scissors.

Start from the bottom of the drop

Leave about 1/3 of the width of the tape off the edge. You’ll be able to fold this excess material into the bar with the bar plug when you’re done.

Wrap from the outside in

You want to wrap the bar so your hands will tighten the tape while you’re riding. That means circling your handlebar in bar tape from the outside of the bar, downward toward your frame.

Keep some tension on the tape

You want the wrap to be tight, but not so tight that you rip the bar tape as you’re wrapping. The key is keeping enough tension on the tape that it won’t unravel as you’re riding.

When you get to the shifter…

You can use the small piece of adhesive bar tape in the box to cover the outside of your shifter, or you can use Kenneth’s looping method, which is a bit cleaner. Check out the video at 1:15.

When you get to the stem...

Cut your bar tape at an angle so the final wrap lies parallel to your stem. Cut the pointed tip off the tape, then secure it with electrical tape, wrapping from the front of your bike to the rear.

Don’t forget the finishing details

Set the bar-end plugs in place and wrap the included Bontrager finishing strips over your electrical tape.

The wide world of bar tape

Swapping out your bar tape is the perfect way to put some signature style on your bike, and it’s also a great way to dial in the way you feel on your bike. Bontrager handlebar tape is available in multiple textures and thicknesses, and each lends a different quality to your ride.

Bontrager Supertack

As the name implies, Supertack has a tacky texture for extra grip, so it’s great for rainy or muddy weather. It also has adhesive backing and an ideal stretch for easy installation. It’s 2.7mm thick and made with a microfiber shock-absorbing foam.

Shop Supertack

Bontrager Gel Cork

Our most popular handlebar tape has a natural cork feel, a great stretch, and adhesive backing. It’s 2.7mm thick and made with a gel strip for extra comfort. Plus, it’s available in more colors than any other kind of tape.

Shop Gel Cork

Bontrager Double Gel Cork

If you’re riding in the rough or just want a little extra vibration-damping for a smoother ride, our thickest tape is just your ticket. It’s 3.0mm thick, has gel padding, and includes adhesive backing for easy installation.

Shop Double Gel Cork

Bontrager Perf Line

Confidently ride in all conditions with a tacky texture that provides extra grip . This tape also adds an extra layer of awesome with shock-absorbing foam and keeps things looking classy with stylish perforated details. It is 2.7mm thick and features an adhesive backing for easy installation.

Shop Perf Line

Bontrager Grippytack

This tape is thinner than most, but it packs a whole lot of grip. Our grippy-est tape is great for foul weather, cyclocross, and riders who want extra security on the bar. It’s 1.6mm thick and made with shock-absorbing foam.

Shop Grippytack

Bontrager Velvetack

Who knew a bar could feel so nice? If you’re into the little luxuries in life—like bar tape with a smooth, velvety texture—you’re in the right place. It’s 2.7mm of shock-absorbing foam with adhesive backing for easy installation.

Shop Velvetack

30-Day Unconditional Guarantee

You should love the feel of every part of your ride, including your bar tape. That’s why all Bontrager gear is backed by the Unconditional Bontrager Guarantee. Ride it and love it. If you don’t, we’ll take it back.

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