I would say the stock BAR and TAPE are BOTH HEINOUS!
So 2 weeks ago, after tolerating the stock bar and tape for 2 years, I finally tore that stuff off to reveal an ugly, naked, skinny bar. Did my own special rewrap and then enjoyed it while riding SYSTM “Reveal the Path” and shared pics on Strava.
KICKR bars are ridiculously small tubes, with pathetic tape. Like holding onto copper water pipe. I used what has become my own standard wrapping method:
First, a full PRE-wrap using 3M Temflex Rubber Splicing Tape #2155. Non-adhesive, sticks to itself but not anything else. Can redo the bar tape without destroying this under-wrap, and it seals out sweat, moisture, etc from your bar, as well as providing a larger diameter bar and some additional cushion. The bar is still sorry, but VERY tolerable with the extra help.
I used Bontrager Gel Cork bar tape on top. (I did this on my DOMANE as well, used Cinelli bar tape then, almost 2-1/2years and over 15,000 miles ago and it’s still in great shape, in spite of some dings from letting the bike fall over a few times when I wasn’t careful about leaving it standing on a windy day; I prefer the feel of the Bontrager and will stay with that next time.)
It is very pretty tape. I’ve changed bar tape twice, first time was a mess from the start, the second time I thought I had it but then two weeks in it started coming undone in the middle. I guess I need to bite the bullet and give it another go, at least indoors, it it all goes wrong, it isn’t going to cause any big problems.
@DameLisa yeah, the peel off with ease is critical!
@ediblehedge and @digininja
Hope the pics help some. I put off doing mine longer than i should have, but SUPER glad I didn’t wait any more. I get happy just putting my hands on the KICKR Bike bar now! I have basically ridden with my hands resting on a hand towel over each side of the bar since the beginning, telling myself it gave some cushion and also absorbed sweat, and gave me an easy grab of the towel to wipe my face from time to time.
Now I’m loving the feel of the new tape so much, I use just one towel, up out of way just behind the hood, usually, and the bar feels SO GOOD!
As for videos, I HIGHLY recommend the Park Tools video. It is superb, tells you exactly how to wrap, and if you follow it, you’ll have beaten 90% of the potential problems that cause failure later.
My own additions to that are these:
Definitely use the rubber splicing tape pre-wrap. (unless you simply don’t want ANY extra bulk thickness.) The protection afforded is a big gain, protecting from moisture and sweat corrosion, adding impact absorption, and holding your bar tape in place more effectively WITHOUT actually sticking to it. Note that you DON’T want to use rubber splicing tape that adheres to OTHER things, just the kind that sticks to ITSELF. Your non-adhesive bar tape over top will nicely stay in place against the type I use without actually being stuck to it. That’s important! (*edited to add this: The splicing tape should be stretched as you apply, following all the directions you’ll do for the final wrap with bar tape. The more you stretch, the thinner it gets, obviously, but it holds in place well with moderate stretching. I’ve read some guidelines that suggests stretching till it is only 75% of original width, which is 3/4" or 19mm to start with. That is for absolute water tightness on electrical connections. I would reduce that stretch some for this application so that I have a bit more cushion and thickness.)
Use NON-ADHESIVE TAPE ONLY. That’s MY recommendation at least. The adhesive stuff makes removal and readjustment difficult to impossible without destroying it. If you’re new to wrapping bars, you WILL LIKELY take a second try, even on the first go-round. My methods described previously with pics makes a redo very easy the first day, and possible later as well, but the tape will start to conform to specific curves that slightly complicates that if you wait too long.
As I said, you WILL likely need to rewrap if you aren’t greatly experienced. One reason is to have enough tape to complete the wrap. Sadly, any tape I’ve used (Bontrager, Cinelli most recently) fails to give as much tape as you might want, especially if you don’t want to do as the KICKR Bike wrap did, finishing without even reaching close enough to center to provide sufficient hand wrest area, even for my small hands. Don’t be afraid to stop and back up, or even fully unwrap because you come up short on the tops and need a bit more length.
The secret to having enough tape really comes down to STRETCHING the tape ENOUGH from START TO FINISH. It’s a guessing game, but you’ll get some feel after doing it, but because mine last so long with this method, it will be awhile before I do it again on the same bike. My DOMANE tape, while still perfectly in place and in good shape overall, does have some tears/scuffs on outside of the drops where the bike has tipped and hit the ground. So after doing the KICKR lately, I just may redo the DOMANE soon, and it’ll be far easier because it already has the rubber splicing tape in place.
How much to stretch the tape? It’s really a learning thing and probably varies some from brand to brand, but if your tape is coming loose, it maybe was simply not stretched enough, (ASSUMING that you wrapped in the right direction to begin with! Watch the video.)
(this isn’t my secret; I learned this from the ParkTools video) You wrap starting from the DROPS, going CLOCKWISE (looking from the back) on the RIGHT side, then REVERSING THE DIRECTION OF WRAP when you pass the Shiftersl/Hoods (see how on the video!) and finishing in that opposite direction.
That is all OPPOSITE on the LEFT SIDE DROPS, going COUNTER-CLOCKWISE (looking from the back) on the LEFT SIDE, and reversing again at the Shifter/Hoods. Watch the video a couple times, and have it handy again when you do the wrap.
This process uses your natural tendencies of pushing a little outwards on the drops and pulling backward on the tops to keep the tape tighter, rather than causing it to loosen and start gapping apart.
When I did my KICKR, I thought I was stretching enough to begin with, and probably was, on the first wrap, but I came up short at the top and had to undo all and go again. It PROBABLY would have stayed in place anyway, with the pre-wrap rubber tape, but I wanted it to reach closer to center of bars for more grip area. When I did it again, I pulled even more on the tape and I got it to reach and didn’t tear it anywhere. I do wish there was about 5-6 inches or 12-15cm more length provided with tapes so that I could leave it stretched just a bit less, which would also give more cushion, but that’s no more than a wish.
Do pay attention to the method #3 on the video when you reach the shifters. I took notes and still watched again when it came to that point so that I could get the direction, etc correct. And I DID have to use the short pieces that come for covering a bit that would otherwise show once the hoods are pulled back over the tape. I thought I’d get by without it but no, it had to be there.
That’s a lot of info and I’ll now feel very guilty if I don’t do it. I might be going past a bike shop tomorrow so I’ll pick some up if I do.
I’ve got two sets of Wahoo bars as I put aerobars on one set and my wife complained so I picked up a full second bar so she can swap that in the odd time she uses it. I’ll probably test on the aerobar version first as that doesn’t need to get as close to the middle as the other one will.
Also, pay attention to the size of the hoods. I’ve been wrapping my bars for 20 years, exclusively on Campy shifters. The KICKR Bike hoods must be slightly smaller, because habit caused me to leave a gap where a spot of bar is visible which I noticed too late when I flipped the hoods down. A relatively cheap learning experience, since I bought a bunch of different Supacaz bar tapes when they were on sale, and while the one I installed looks flashy and adds color to an otherwise dark pain cave, the feel while riding really is unpleasant so I’ll install a grippier choice soon. I will say the Supacaz bar-end caps which tighten into place with a hex wrench are worth the cost of the tape by themselves, I can’t count the number of times I’ve noticed a missing plug mid-ride outdoors and wondered where it fell out…
While doing it, I noticed that Wahoo had wrapped their bars the opposite way round to Parktool. It really confused me as I used the marks left from theirs as a way to see which way to start, then I got to the hoods and realised something was wrong.
Here’s my final install! I’m using an FSA k wing carbon flat top bar from one of my old race bikes. Love this bar, it has a roomy flat area behind shifter, this helps to avoid inadvertently hitting shift buttons in a sprint. I double tape with cork first then I use Lizard Skin 1.8 bar tape, it’s the best tape out there, super grippy! You’ll also notice my handle bar comfort hack! Pool noodle cut down on bar tops, this really eliminates hand pressure, makes it super comfortable for those long rides!
I found LizardSkuns wear out really fast. I mean a month and I had wear through places. I’ve Mount Supercaz Chromillusion tape and it’s lasted two seasons. Time for a change and I’ll probably mount the same tape. One word of warning, this tape has very little stretch and getting the hoods right can be a chore.
I have 6 year old Supacaz on my race bike and its still like new 25,000km later. Unreal. I have Supacaz on another bile and it didnt last near as well so will be hanging onto my ancient supacaz, its awesome. Was their old carbon tape. Wanted it for the Kickr bike but didnt dare unwrap it