I've gotten good at wrapping drop bars, using conventional cork tape: You start at the end and work your way up, keeping the tension even and watching the overlap, and it works perfectly for me.

But the H-bars on my Bike Friday have aways been a challenge. They're smaller and more finicky to wrap, but that's just a matter of time and practice. Specifically, getting the intersections at the bar joins to wrap cleanly has always been a problem:

H-bars wrapped terribly

Over time, the tape will invariably loosen because of this.

Can anyone suggest a method for doing this that will stay for longer? Should I wrap the main bars separately from the vertical bars? Is there some special secret way to do this? Or is this just a downside to this kind of bar?

Edit: I wrapped the bars from the top of the barend down to the bottom, then getting the main handlebars. The below picture shows the problem area; note the separate piece of tape.

enter image description here

  • Could you show a close of of the circle and describe how you did that wrap.
    – paparazzo
    Aug 4, 2014 at 17:55
  • @Blam - Done, see edit. Aug 4, 2014 at 18:52
  • 1
    Not having seen or wrapped these, I imagine there are 3 challenges: neat, tight, and no lumps at the join.
    – andy256
    Aug 5, 2014 at 0:58

2 Answers 2


I'd wrap in two passes: first, from the bottom stubs to the join, just crossing over onto the ends of the main bar. Then tape this up tight, to squash it down. Secondly, I'd wrap from the tops of the bar ends around the joins and all the way up to the stem. The second pass should cover up the tape holding the first bit of wrap.

Maybe something like this (excuse terrible paint skills)?

Suggestion for H-bar wrap

  • On reflection, this approach may not be ideal - twisting backwards on the flat bars would loosen the tape. Perhaps it would be better to do step 2 from the inside out, and step 3 from the outside in... YMMV. If it's tight enough, it shouldn't loosen. At least this technique (or a variant, mirrored around one axis or the other) should avoid excess overlap. Aug 5, 2014 at 12:15
  • +1 for pictures! Similar to what I was thinking, except I'd start from the junction. Tricky.
    – andy256
    Aug 5, 2014 at 12:26
  • Yarp, this is a tricky one indeed! My thinking was that starting from the bar ends means the tape can be tucked into the open tubes and held in place with the bar-end levers and shifters. Aug 5, 2014 at 12:27
  • My thinking is that it would be neater to go the other way. Interested to hear what Neil does and how successful it is.
    – andy256
    Aug 5, 2014 at 12:30
  • @NeilFein If you manage to improve the wrap, please could you post a picture when it's done? Aug 5, 2014 at 12:33

Then this is what I would try. Call the corners of the T of the H NW NE SE SW.

  1. On left side start from inside and wrap going forward on the top of the bar to the T
  2. from NE across bottom to SW
  3. across top back to NE
  4. across bottom to SE
  5. across top to NW
  6. across bottom to SE
  7. one full wrap on South
  8. across top to NW
  9. wrap to north to bar end

Some combination of crosses with a full wrap on south.
If south is longer than one wrap then I don't think you can do it in one pass.

On 2 you kind of need to deal with where you are. You may need to start with pass over the top.

6,7,8 are the hard one as you have to come back on yourself. That is why you want 6 on the bottom as it will be the ugly one. You may need to move the starting point or wrap the other direction to get 6 on the bottom.

An alternate would be 1 1/2 on 7 then across the bottom to NE

Notice 1 and 3 are over and 2 is under
First 3 steps

  • I'm not quite sure I follow all of this. What are south and north? Aug 4, 2014 at 22:18
  • @NeilFein South is where I live. North is where you live :-)
    – andy256
    Aug 5, 2014 at 0:35
  • @Blam I have to agree with Neil, it's not clear. Even an old-style text diagram would help us understand you.
    – andy256
    Aug 5, 2014 at 0:36
  • Really north at the top of map is not a standard convention? Substitute North for 12 o'clock.
    – paparazzo
    Aug 5, 2014 at 2:30
  • No, I get what you mean by NE, SW, etc. But what do north and south mean by themselves? Aug 5, 2014 at 14:10

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