Ask a Mechanic | Taping Aero Bars

Question: Terrance wants to know: Can you make a video on how to wrap aerobars and base bars on TT or Tri bikes? From: Terrance

Answer: It’s actually easier to wrap bars on these bikes than on road bikes in my opinion, because you don’t have to deal with the big shape changes in the bar or wrap around brake hoods.

Keep in mind that like all bar tape jobs, there are different ways to do it and more than one way to get the job done well. With that said, here’s how I do it:

Grab your favorite bar tape and let’s start on the drive side. Take your tape and cut off the left corner of the end of the tape. This will help to get the tape off to a smooth start. Wrap the cut end around the aero extension starting at the base of the shifter. Orient the end of the tape so that the cut edge is on the underside of the bar. Hold the tape down with your right hand while you wrap the tape around with your left hand. Pull the tape tight as you wrap so that it won’t come undone later.

As you go, pay attention to the gaps between each wrap. Keeping them even isn’t just pro, it’s key to helping the tape stay put. Continue to wrap the bars until you get about a palm’s width away from the shifter and then use your scissors to cut the tape so that the cut edge is perpendicular to the aero extension. I like to have a long tail on my cut edge so that I can wrap it evenly around the extension. I also like to cut the tape so that it ends on the inboard edge of the underside of the bar, which makes the end virtually invisible when finished.

Cut a section of electrical tape or finishing tape that is longer than you think it needs to be and apply it to the edge of the tape so that the electrical tape begins on the underside of the bar and is flush with the cut edge of the bar tape. Now pull the tape snug as you wrap the electrical tape around the edge of the bar tape. I like to do 3 laps of finishing tape. I always avoid pulling the finishing tape tight on the final lap so that the tension won’t pull the tape apart when the glue gets soft on a hot day. Be sure to end your finishing tape where you started on the underside of the bar. Once again, this not only looks pro, but it will prevent the tape from coming loose later.

Repeat the whole process on the drive side base bar. I like to end the tape about a palm’s width back here too, but the choice is yours if you want to go a little further.

Begin the whole process again on the non-drive side of the bike. The difference is that on the non-drive side you start by cutting off the right corner of the end of the bar tape. This will ensure that both sides of your bike will look like a mirror image of each other when you are finished.

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