Dirty, smelly handlebar tape is never a pleasant sight and is definitely not pro. Putting on new handlebar tape is a relatively simple job, which when done correctly can give that perfect finishing touch to your bike.

Below is our guide on how to correctly apply tape to your handlebars.

What you will need


  • Handlebar Tape
  • A pair of scissors
  • Narrow tape (optional)
  • Electrical tape
  • Brake Cleaning Fluid or an alcohol based cleaning product (should the handlebar need cleaning)




1. Start with a blank canvas


The first thing to consider before you put your new fresh handlebar tape on is whether the old tape has left its mark on the bars. Excessive residue can make putting your new bar tape on a tricky task. If this is the case use a brake cleaning fluid or alcohol based cleaning product to remove any signs of the previous bar tape.


Pro tip: Use a screwdriver to carefully prise the old bar end plugs out of the bars.


2. Tape the cables


To keep the brake and gear cables in place, use electrical tape to wrap them tightly against the handlebars, this allows the tape to sit flush against the bar. If there are grooves on the handlebars, the cables should sit in these.


electrical tape wrapping

Tape up to the area you want it to finish at. Usually the handlebar has a natural taper where the bar tape is intended to finish. Use your fingers or a ruler to measure the distance from the end of the tape to the stem to ensure an even wrapping on both sides.

measure with fingers

3. Start at the bar end


This is personal preference but we would suggest starting by applying the tape at the bar ends. Take a centimetre or two of tape and place it in the bar end.


pro tip

Start wrapping the tape round the bar, don’t worry about excess bar tape overhanging the bar ends, this will be folded in at the end and held in place with the bar end plugs.


4. Start wrapping


We would recommend working from inside to outside to get the best finish. Keep the tension tight on the tape, using your thumb and pulling it tight. A handy tip is to make sure the adhesive strip touches the handlebar rather than the tape.


tape wrapping

5. Figure of 8 around the levers


Getting round the gear levers requires a figure of eight motion. Start by lifting the rubber shifter hoods up. Your tape may come with additional strips to fit under your brake hoods. Feed the tape under and across the top of the handlebar.


under and over

Next feed the tape under and behind the gear lever.

figure of eight

From there you can move onto the top section of the handlebar.

onto the top

6. Cut the tape


Continue wrapping. Using the electrical taped handlebar as a guide, wrap up to the end of the electrical tape.


onto the top

Using your scissors cut the tape, in a 45 degree angle, towards the centre of the bars. This is important to ensure you have a clean finish.

onto the top

7. Tape up


Take your narrow or electrical tape and line it up with the end of the bar tape. Simply start running it round the bar, cutting the excess off.


onto the top

If the bar tape comes with finishing tape add that to give your bike that pro touch.

onto the top

8. Plug the bar ends


All bar tape comes with bar end plugs. Wrap the excess tape into the end of the bar and push the bar end plugs firmly in.


onto the top

Bar taped wrapped, you are ready to rack up the miles.


Have any tips or think we’ve missed anything out? Let us know in the comments section below.