Monday, October 26, 2009

HOW-TO: Tips for finishing your bar tape

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Grip Tips
Five unique techniques for putting the final touches on handlebar tape
By Jennifer Sherry

Wrapping a bar takes practice, and there are plenty of step-by-steps out there to guide you through the process. Still, there are functional wraps and there are those that approach the level of fine art. Use this expert advice, and your bar will be riding in style.

FLIP IT TO STICK IT "When working with bar tape that has no sticky back, first wrap electrical tape around the bar end once, then flip the roll—don't cut it—so the sticky side is up, and wrap it around so it covers a couple inches. Turn the tape over again so the sticky side is down, and wrap it once more. This creates a very tacky start to a good tape job."—Mike Spilker, High Gear Cyclery;

WHIP IT GOOD "Rather than finish off the wrap with electrical tape, I spend a little extra time to cord-whip it. I make a loop with the cord—I like to use thin, round leather cord that you'd find at a craft store—and hold it with one hand under the bar while I start winding the cord around it. After a couple turns over the loop, it will hold itself in place. Start the cord neatly against the ferrule so you start winding nice and square, and wind back over the tape, which I like to stop about one-quarter-inch short of the ferrule to avoid bulkiness under the cord. When the cord covers about an inch of the tape, put one end through the loop and pull the other end, stopping when it's tucked neatly under the wound cord. Trim the ends of the cord with a sharp knife and apply several coats of clear urethane to waterproof and seal it so it doesn't unravel."— Dave Moulton, ex-framebuilder for Paris Sport, Masi Bicycles and under his own name;

MAKE IT SHINE "I'd heard about shellacking handlebars and kind of laughed. I thought it might make the bar slippery or that it would ruin in the rain. Well, I finally caught the bug and shellacked my cork tape (it's usually done on cloth tape). A few coats made my cork glow—it almost matched my honey-colored Brooks leather saddle. Downside? I put the bike in a hot car and took it to my bike shop to show off. When I removed it, the finish had peeled. Disaster! So much for impressing the shop guys. Then I learned from iBOB, an online bike-lore group (see,that a light rubdown with denatured alcohol revives rumpled shellac. I tried it and it worked great."—Jeff Potter, publisher of Out Your Back-door;

HEAT TREAT IT "End the tape at the bar top and finish it with electrical tape to hold it in place. Use scissors on the finish tape—don't tear it off. Begin and end the finish wrap on the underside, then use a soldering gun or hex-wrench end heated by a cigarette lighter to spot weld the finish tape so it doesn't come loose."— Calvin Jones, director of education, Park Tool;

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