How to Tape Handlebars

The original tape on your bicycle handlebars will wear out with time. Replacing the tape on your handlebars will allow you to maintain a firm grip on the bars, and will keep the tape from looking dirty. Use these tips to tape your handlebars.


  1. 1
    Remove the old tape. Using your fingers, peel off the existing tape from the handlebars. Do not cut off the tape. You may scratch the metal on the bars if you use a razor blade or scissors to remove it.
  2. 2
    Detach the bar plugs. Pull off the bar plugs at the ends of the handlebars. Bar plugs hold tape ends inside the handlebars.
  3. 3
    Clean the handlebars. Remove dirt and glue left behind on the bars. Go over the bars with rubbing alcohol and a cloth to clean stubborn spots. Allow the handlebars to dry completely.
  4. 4
    Adjust the brake levers. Brake levers are located at the front of the curved part of the handlebars. They are depressed to bring the bicycle to a stop. The bottom of each handlebar on one side should match up with the bottom of each corresponding lever. Each brake lever should also be level with the side of its corresponding bar.
    • Unscrew the brake lever to move it up, down or to the side of the handlebar if needed. Screw it back tightly into place.
  5. 5
    Wash your hands. Clean your hands with soap and water. You may wear gloves to keep from getting the tape dirty.
  6. 6
    Tape down the cables. Secure any cables that run along the handlebars with strapping tape or electrical tape. Some bikes feature cables that run along the handlebars to the brake pads. This cable system allows you to brake the bike with your hands instead of using the pedals to come to a stop.
  7. 7
    Tape the brake lever.
    • Remove the brake hood. The brake hood lies on top of the brake lever and protects it from damage.
    • Detach the two short pieces of tape that typically come with a new roll of handlebar tape.
    • Place each one of the strips over the back of each brake lever.
    • Bring the tape up around the brake lever.
    • Wrap the break lever a few more times.
    • Replace the brake hood.
  8. 8
    Tape the handlebars.
    • Attach the beginning of the roll of tape to the bottom end of the handlebar. Keep some extra tape loose at the end of the bar.
    • Wrap the tape around the handlebar. Move up the curve and along the flat part of the bar towards the center of the handlebars.
    • Wrap in a counter-clockwise direction on the right handle and a clockwise direction on the left handle.
    • Keep the tape tight as you wrap. Do not pull so hard that you wrinkle the tape or tear it.
    • Overlap each pass slightly as you continue taping. Make sure all spots are taped.
    • Wrap past the brake lever. You have already taped the levers with the smaller portions of tape.
  9. 9
    Secure the wrapping.
    • Cut the bar tape with scissors. Stop wrapping the tape as close to the middle of the handlebars as desired.
    • Wrap electrical tape around the end of the bike tape and the bar. Ensure that the electrical tape sticks to the bar.
  10. 10
    Insert the bar plug.
    • Place the remaining tape at the end of the curved part of the handlebar into the hole at the end of the bar.
    • Insert the bar plug into the hole at the end of the bar.


  • You can purchase handlebar tape at a bicycle shop or hardware store.

Things You'll Need

  • Handlebar tape
  • Strapping tape
  • Electrical tape
  • Scissors
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • 1 piece of cloth
  • Soap and water
  • Gloves (optional)

Article Info

Categories: Bicycles