I've just added a pair of bar ends to my handlebar. I feels surprisingly good, except that they are too thin, compared to my grips.

Are there any options to make them more comfortable? Maybe I can put a bar tape on them? If so, should I look for some specific type of this tape?

This is a picture of them if it helps.

enter image description here

  • 2
    Most bar tape is impossible to keep in place in such situations. Try hockey tape. – Daniel R Hicks Jul 18 '19 at 12:05

I have added standard grips to bar-ends for some added comfort. Depending on the grips they can be difficult to pass over the bend. I used grips designed for Twist Grip Shifters. They are shorter and tend to be less expensive.

  • I've got a pair of old grips from my other bike, thanks for the idea – k102 Jul 19 '19 at 7:51

Adding bar tape to the bar-ends is certainly possible. What kind of tape you want to use is determined by your preference. There are both thin and thick types available. If the bars still feel to thin after applying a layer of tape you can try double-wrapping them.

Drop bars are wrapped from the ends towards the stem, with the starting end of the tape tape tucked into the end of the bar, secured with the end-plug. You may have trouble getting thick tape into the end of the bar-end as they are of somewhat smaller diameter than drop bars. The other end is simply secured with tape.

Direction of wrap is important, force from the hands tends to be downwards on the outside of the drops section of drop bars, so you will want the direction of wrap to be downwards on the outside also.

This Park Tool video may help you.

  • I heard that there will be a problem fixing it on the barends, would I need something special? – k102 Jul 18 '19 at 12:18
  • I have had success with plastic electrical tape at the ends. – Ross Millikan Jul 18 '19 at 16:26
  • I know a person who wraps his barends with tennis racket handle tape, which is much thinner and cheaper than bicycle bar tape. The goal is to add some grip and to hide bare metal which is cold to touch (metal is good heat conductor compared to synthetic tape). Electrical tape is used to keep things in place. – Grigory Rechistov Jul 19 '19 at 6:18
  • There's definitely not enough grip: I fell uncomfortable (and somewhat insecure) during the rain – k102 Jul 19 '19 at 8:00
  • @GrigoryRechistov sounds like the old 80s style of nylon-strap bartape. That stuff is plastic with some encapsulated string for texture. Its horrid to ride on. – Criggie Jul 21 '19 at 1:22

I've taped some bar ends successfully using cheap bar tape.

As a second stage I used a length of 30~35mm black electrical heatshrink tube over the top of the padding tape. Apply heat from a hot air gun and it closed up nicely holding but not compressing the tape.

At the end, there was enough heatshrink out the front that it was unsupported and shrank so I could shove the excess into the barend with a finger. As a last step I put the bar plugs in place, and it works well.

Own Work
As you can see, I had janky red foam bartape from China, cost around $2 a roll. It works fine and is thick enough for comfort, but is not very abrasion-resistant, and the red fades to pink quickly. A ~130mm length of 35mm heatshink went over the outside fine. The silver bar plugs are tamped in the end.

Own Work
This one shows a flat bar that has been given the same treatment. Bartape first, then a layer of heatshrink. This photo shows how the outer end shrinks the most, and then gets tucked into the hollow end of the bars. Barplugs would make this nicer and safer.

Own Work
Finally this shows another use for the heat shrink. Here's a pair of cheap nasty grips that have gone gummy or tacky. The rubber is breaking down and they should be replaced. But some 45mm heatshrink on top will conform to the outer shape and produce a nicer surface to hold.

Do note that concave features may not work as expected unless there's room for pull-down from adjacent areas. You can also buy heatshrink with a heat-activated glue lining to help, but I've never had success with that.

Heatshrink is also available in different colours, if you're feeling snazzy.

Lastly - here's some heatshrink used on the bottom of some drops. I don't currently have any bike with this at the top/stem area. This was just to retain the bartape in addition to bar plugs, not to cover it all.

Own Work

  • 1
    Using heatshrink tube is a neat idea. I wonder if it also could be applied to regular drop bars to keep the tape on them. I am rarely satisfied with how regular electrical tape looks/feels on my bars, as it always has probability to start undoing itself. – Grigory Rechistov Jul 19 '19 at 6:24
  • 1
    @GrigoryRechistov yes totally - you just have to cut a short ring (20mm?) and slip it on before putting the brake levers on, so its quite inconvenient. But yes that works well. – Criggie Jul 19 '19 at 8:30
  • Criggie isn't the heat shrink a little slippy? But I think you're riding with full finger gloves anyway. — Excellent idea @GrigoryRechistov. – gschenk Jul 19 '19 at 11:17
  • Not slippery at all. For the drop bar I thought you just use a small piece at the end as a retainer ring, wheras for the barends in the question it would cover the whole lot. – Criggie Jul 19 '19 at 13:17

So as @mikes suggested I've used a pair if standard grips. Before that I've tried to use a hockey tape, but it was not tight enough and could be easily twisted by hand.

To put grips I've had to use some lube on it - otherwise I could not pass through the curve on bar ends.

This gave me more comfort since grips absorb little vibrations and are not so cold as the bare metal.

enter image description here

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