How to wrap bar tape

Learn how bike mechanics fit handlebar tape perfectly

Don’t feel like reading? Check out this how to guide on our YouTube channel

There’s nothing quite like re-wrapping your bars to make an old tired bike feel like new.


Wrapping bars well is an acquired skill, but luckily BikeRadar is on hand to talk you through the process.

Unsure what tape to buy? Check out this roundup of six of our very favourite options.

You will need

  • Scissors
  • Electrical tape
  • Screwdriver, Allen key or mallet for bar plug
  • Solvent to clean bars

1. Out with the old

Remove the old tape and clean off any sticky residue

Take out the bar end plugs and roll forward the rubber housings on your shifter levers to reveal the tape beneath, then peel off the finishing tape near the stem and unravel the tape from your bar. Clean any sticky residue off with a light solvent. 

2. On with the new

Start wrapping the bars from the bottom, keeping even tension on the tape

Start at the bottom of the bar, keeping tension on the tape and wrap moving out from the bar. The tension will ensure an even thickness all the way up, around the brake lever to the top of the bar.

3. Mind the gap

Place the supplied extra piece behind the levers

Most bar tape comes with two small sections of tape — sometimes called cheater pieces — designed to make it easier to hide the small gap left when you wrap around the brake levers. Hold these in place behind the levers and wrap over the top.

4. Cutting edge

Cut the end of the tape at an angle for a neat finish

Make sure that you always cut the end of the tape into a point, so that when you wrap the final piece over the top of the bar you will achieve a nice, smooth edge.

5. Secure in place

Finish off the wrap with a strip of electrical tape

Use some electrical tape to secure the bar tape in place so that it can’t come loose.

6. Finishing touches

Remember to replace the cover of the hoods

Pop the lever covers back and fit the new bar-end plugs that will have come with your new tape and you’re good to go. If you like white bar tape, get used to performing this task!