Handlebar tape padding - Road Cycling UK

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Maintenance

Handlebar tape padding

Merry Christmas from all at RCUK! Over the 12 days of Christmas, we’ll be reposting an existing article from this year – one from each month.

Just because spongy synthetic handlebar tape is reasonably comfortable doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. Foam and gel pads are available for positioning under the tape to enhance vibration absorption, which they no doubt do very effectively. Trouble is, most bulk out the overlaying tape, tending to make the bars too fat to look good or easily hold.

There is another way. The DIY way. All it needs is a few inches of unused synthetic bar tape, a pair of scissors and a roll of insulating tape. The last is to hold the first in place…

The beauty of going DIY is that the result can be tailored to personal preference. In the author’s case, this means padding out the section of bar just behind the brake hoods to create a more rounded shape for the palms of the hands and adding a little extra cushioning to the upper surface of the drops. By playing around with the underlaying tape, various effects may be achieved.

Step one is to cut a series of symmetrical pieces to ensure the symmetry of the result. These than must be taped to the bars in near-identical positions (to within about 1mm) on each side. Extra “bulge” may be created by putting a second, square section of tape under the underlay at the required point.

Now wrap the handlebar tape as usual, ensuring that it overlaps generously as it goes over the underlay and keeping a good tension to compress the underlay and obviate the possibility of subsequent slippage and “opening-up” between wraps.

Done, and with luck or practice it is possible to form a more ergonomic shape that that of the standard handlebars but with less bulk than ready-made padding; and it uses up those left-over bits from last time.

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