What is handlebar tape?
Handlebar tape is a crucial component of a bicycle's handlebars. It is a padded covering that provides grip, comfort, and shock absorption while cycling. The tape is wrapped around the handlebars to create a cushioned surface for the rider's hands.
Why is handlebar tape important?
Apart from your tyres, your handle bars will be one of the most used pieces of equipment. Handlebar tape serves multiple purposes. Firstly, it enhances grip, especially in wet conditions, preventing the hands from slipping off the handlebars. Secondly, it absorbs vibrations and shocks from the road, reducing fatigue and discomfort during long rides. Additionally, handlebar tape can add a touch of style and personalisation to a bicycle.
Types of handlebar tape
At Trevs Cycle Shop we stock three types of tape from Arundel:
1. Gecko Grip bar tape made from EVA foam and ventilated polyurethane in a laminated, layered construction:
2. Gecko Pave bar tape, which is fabric based foam with a layer of silicone in the form of cobble stone pave, which is designed to channel sweat into the fabric, keeping the tape dry and grippy all ride:
3. Gecko Rubber bar tape is made with foam and an outer layer of natural rubber. Rubber Gecko offers a soft tactile grip with a bit of give to it:
How to wrap handlebar tape
Wrapping handlebar tape may seem daunting at first, but with a little practice, it becomes a straightforward process. Here's a step-by-step guide:
- Clean the handlebars thoroughly to remove any dirt or residue.
- Start at the end of the handlebars and secure the tape with the adhesive side facing down.
- Wrap the tape tightly, overlapping each layer by about half of its width.
- Continue wrapping until you reach the end of the handlebars.
- Secure the end of the tape with electrical tape or the provided finishing tape.
Arundel have some handy tips in this video:
How often should you replace handlebar tape?
Handlebar tape should be replaced periodically, especially if it becomes worn, torn, or loses its cushioning properties. Think of how much your hands sweat out on a hot ride, or the dirt and dust from the road making its way to your handlebars. It can get pretty nasty looking, especially if it’s white tape, so you’ll want to make a habit of changing it out.
What to look for in handlebar tape
Handlebar tape does more than just make your bike look good, it serves as your main point of contact. So, it’s important to choose tape that provides adequate grip for the handling of your bike. Look for something with a tacky finish to ensure you get grip even in wet conditions. This is especially important if you are riding without gloves.
Handlebar tape provides a nice bit of cushioning for your hands, reducing the vibrations that travel from the road up into your arms. Choose tape that provides the right amount of padding for you and the type of riding you do. Many cyclists choose to double wrap their bars for a little extra cushion, especially when riding on rougher roads.
There are all sorts of unspoken rules out there. Some say your bar tape should match your saddle, or your kit, or your head tube…the list goes on. The truth of it is, you should chose whatever tape feels the best in a colour that you enjoy!
Handlebar tape is an essential accessory for any cyclist. It provides comfort, grip, and shock absorption, enhancing the overall riding experience. By choosing the right type of tape and following the proper wrapping technique, cyclists can enjoy a more comfortable and enjoyable ride.