How to Apply Thick Bar Tape for Comfortable Cycling

Cycling is a popular activity for both professional athletes and recreational enthusiasts. It is a great way to stay physically fit and explore new scenery. However, long hours on a bike can take a toll on your hands, wrists, and arms. This is where thick bar tape comes in. It is a popular choice among cyclists for its ability to provide extra cushioning and reduce road vibrations. In this article, we will discuss how to properly apply thick bar tape for comfortable cycling.

Invest in Quality Bar Tape

Before getting into the application process, it is important to invest in high-quality bar tape. Thick bar tape comes in various materials such as cork, synthetic cork, foam, and gel. Each material has its own level of comfort and durability. Cork and synthetic cork are popular choices for their cushioning abilities and moisture-absorbing properties. Foam and gel tape, on the other hand, provide superior shock absorption. Make sure to choose a tape that best suits your individual needs and preferences.

Prepare the Handlebars

Before applying the bar tape, ensure that the handlebars are clean and free from any residue. Remove any old tape or adhesive from the bars using rubbing alcohol or a degreaser. It is also a good idea to wrap a layer of electrical tape around the brake and shift levers. This will provide a smooth and even surface for the bar tape to adhere to.

Start Wrapping

Begin wrapping the bar tape at the end of the handlebars. The majority of the tape’s adhesive is on the back, so make sure to peel it off gradually as you wrap. Keep the tape taut but not so tight that it stretches. This will ensure that there are no gaps or loose spots in the tape. Start at the top and wrap in a clockwise direction, covering about half the width of the tape with each wrap. Overlap the previous wrap by about half of its width, working your way down towards the end of the bars.

Deal with the Hoods

When you reach the hoods, cut a small hole in the tape to accommodate the brake and shift levers. A tip for a cleaner finish is to make a diagonal cut from the hole towards the end of the tape. This will create a neat, angled edge that can be smoothed down for a clean look. Continue wrapping the bar tape until you reach the end of the handlebars.

Secure the End of the Tape

Once you reach the end of the handlebars, securely fasten the tape with an electrical tape or bar end plug. If using electrical tape, wrap it close to the end of the bars and secure it tightly. If using bar end plugs, make sure to push them in tightly to prevent them from falling out while riding.

Adjust as Needed

After securing the tape, go back and check for any loose spots or gaps in the bar tape. If you find any, simply unwrap the tape and reposition it accordingly. Remember to keep the tension even throughout the wrapping process.

Finishing Touches

To give your handlebars a polished look, cover the edges of the bar tape with electrical tape or special bar end caps. This will prevent the bar tape from unraveling and enhance the overall appearance.


To maintain the comfort and longevity of your thick bar tape, it is important to regularly clean and replace it. Use a damp cloth or mild soap and water to clean the tape after every ride. This will prevent dirt and sweat from building up and damaging the tape. Additionally, replace the tape every 6-12 months depending on your level of usage.

In conclusion, thick bar tape is an essential addition to any bike for comfortable cycling. With these simple steps, you can easily apply thick bar tape to your handlebars and enjoy a smoother, more comfortable ride. Remember to invest in quality tape and regularly maintain it to prolong its wear. So, why wait? Grab your supplies and start wrapping to enhance your cycling experience!






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