2 Feb 2016


Are your road bike bars ragged, lumpy, worn out or just plain unwinding?

As one of just three contact points with the bike, comfort and performance here is vital. Put as much time into perfecting as with your saddle and pedals and you’ll feel the benefit on every ride.

Happily, bar tape is an easy and economical fix. However, while it may seem like the most basic stuff, there’s some pretty clever tech involved even here.


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Powertouch is a synthetic / natural cork hybrid weighing just 74g

Cork has long been a favored material, but advanced versions such as Powertouch offer a long-lasting hybrid of natural and synthetic cork, backed with comfort-enhancing gel. At 74 grams per roll it’s light too, if not as light as FSA’s 61g anti-slip Ultragel. If you ride a lot in the wet, Ultragel is going to be a real help. Worried about getting the perfect wrap? It’s easy when you know how!

How To Apply Your New Bar Tape
Tape your cables firmly to the bars first, and make sure the bars are clean and dry.

Wrap electrical tape, with the sticky side facing up, on the drops. This helps keep the bar tape in place if (or perhaps when) it gets cut or torn here.

Either use the dedicated piece of tape to cover the rear of the lever brackets, or cut a section from the tape itself. The piece should follow the line of the bracket all the way around the back of the bar.

Start the process at one bar end, not near the stem. Either stick the end down inside the bar, or let half the width of the first wind hang out over the end. Later you’ll fold the excess inside the bar and secure it all with a bar plug.

The trick is to wrap the tape so the natural motions of your hands tighten, rather than loosen, the loops. Start by going under the bar away from the bike, and wrap up and over towards the bike. This means it wraps opposite ways on opposite sides: clockwise on the left, anticlockwise on the right.

Ultragel tape has amazing anti-slip grip and weight just 61g

Overlap the tape as you go, and keep a constant tension as you wrap.

There’s no need to do a figure of eight around the levers – just keep wrapping in the same direction as before.

Once you’ve reached the inside of the bar, you’ll need to cut the tape to length. Score a line into it with it wrapped, then unwrap it. Use the line to cut a nice straight line.

Stick the end of the bar tape down and bind it with the electrical tape. Wind the electrical tape around at least three times, and cut the end so it’s hidden under the bar. Insert the bar end plugs and go for a ride!