25 February, 2014

Wrapping Handlebars Alex Singer Style, Re-Post

Things are busy at VO. I just got back from Frostbike and am off to Taiwan on Friday, then we're on our way to  NAHBS. So I thought I'd rerun this short blog post from March 2006, rather then writing a new one. This is still my favorite way to wrap bars:
The wrapped bar after Shellacking.
I decided to wrap the handlebars of my new bike in the style I've seen on some Alex Singer bikes. I think his method differs from that used by other constructeurs, for those of you who follow such trivia. Both methods involve starting the wrap at the stem-end of the bar, thus eliminating the electrical tape or twine required to finish a wrap started outboard and leaving a cleaner looking bike. But Singer's method involves wrapping the top half of the bar from the center out, and the bottom half from the end in. "But why is this better and who cares?" you ask. Well, Singer's method not only looks better, but it prevents the rider's hands from 'curling' the tape as he pushes forward on the drops.

If using brifters or aero levers, I like to secure the cables with duct tape (the good metal foil type) rather than with black electrical tape which can show through light-colored cotton tape. The metal duct tape is also used to secure the ends of the cotton tape under the brake lever hoods.

Wrapping bar tape is not easy and it often takes me several tries to get it looking nice and even. It usually takes 3 rolls of tape for any, but very narrow, bars.

Wrapping from the bar's center toward the brake lever. Note the lack of twine
Wrapping from the bar's end toward the brake lever.


Anonymous said...

can you show a pic of what happens where they meet at the brake lever?

being cheap, and enjoying reusing old tape as much as possible, i like the idea of using two half rolls of tape for each side...


twotired said...

If you start from the stem and shellack the cloth tape sufficiently, the "curling"* problem is eliminated. My bars are all taped from the bar end to the stem, shellacked and with hemp or leather twining. I like the look of the twining.

*Some would like to see the curling problem eliminated from the Winter Games!

Velomann said...

I've taken to doing all my bars in a 2-color harlequin wrap now. Takes some learning, and 4 rolls per bar, but I'm getting better at it. It's similar to this in that you start from the ends and go to the brake lever. And I agree, shellac pretty much eliminates any curling.

Mark Holm said...

Try it this way.

Anonymous said...

Would be nice to see how you mate up the two sections in the middle.

Mark Holm said...

Is it me you want to answer about meeting the two sections in the middle? That is perhaps the easiest part. I put a couple short pieces of tape across behind each brake, per normal procedure, then just wrapped from the bottom of the bar to the brake and from the top of the bar to the brake and ended the free ends of the tape under the hoods. You roll the hoods back, like normal, and just stick the cut ends where the hoods will cover them and roll the hoods back. It helps to use tape with a pretty grabby adhesive on it, otherwise you might have to help it stick somehow to keep it from working out from under the hoods. I've never had a problem with it working out from under the hoods. With the harlequin wrap, you get 4 cut ends (not counting the short pieces, 6 or 8 counting them) under each hood. Sounds like a lot, but it really works out OK. The hood is slightly bulgy afterward, but you don't really notice it. I used 2 or 3 coats of thinned shellac. I didn't want the shiny "plastic" look of tape fully filled with shellac. I mostly wanted to make the tape less water absorbent, a bit more durable and a bit less likely to absorb dirt.

Trevor Boddy said...

I've been doing this for a while, where the tape meets i just put a tiny strip of tape or two over the exposed part. I wrap my cloth tape really really really tight and never encountered irregular overlap. Never had a problem with the tape curling either.


philcycles said...

I wrapped my bars from the bar end to the stem and I've found that the shellac does an excellent job of sticking the end of the tape. If it comes loose a bit of carpenter's glue-the white stuff-will stick it forever.
Phil Brown