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How to Wrap Motorcycle Handlebars

How to Wrap Motorcycle Handlebars

 From handling to styling, motorcycle handlebars affect how two-wheelers move and look. This is why handlebars are one of the most frequently customized motorcycle parts

Motorcycle handlebar wraps are a great way to customize your bike’s front without buying new handlebars. While wrapping motorcycle handlebars may seem like a simple process, wrapping tape or other materials on the handlebars does require a certain level of skill. 

Luckily, with a little practice and easy-to-follow instructions, you should be able to complete this project within minutes. To get started, all you need is a pair of scissors and wrapping material. This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to wrap motorcycle handlebars.

1. What to Consider When Buying Handlebar Tape

When buying handlebar tape, evaluate the following aspects:

1.1 Material

Handlebar tape can come in the following materials: leather, faux leather, polyurethane, silicone, and nylon. Whether made of synthetic or natural materials, handlebar tape is durable and creates a protective layer around the handlebars.

Soft polyurethane or nylon tapes with gel or foam cores are the easiest to wrap around handlebars. Meanwhile, leather tape is quite stiff and difficult to wrap. Another advantage of leather tape is its high-quality and scratch-resistant finish. If you use a handlebar bag, then consider buying tape made of the same material as the handlebar bag

1.2 Adhesive Strength of Backing

Motorcycle handlebar tapes have gel or adhesive backing to keep them in place. Compared to gel backings, adhesive backings are more durable and stay sticky in every season.

1.3 Thickness

The thickness of the tape also determines how easy it is to apply. Thick tapes are more difficult to wrap. Also, if they lack strong adhesive backing, thick tapes tend to come off more than thinner tapes. However, thicker tapes are more durable and can resist wear and tear. If you are inclined to get a thick tape to wrap your handlebars, use electric tape and zip ties to keep it from coming loose.

2. Step-by-Step Guide on How to Wrap Motorcycle Handlebars with Tape

After bikers, motorcycle riders are the most keen on wrapping their handlebars with tape. However, bicycle owners wrap their handlebars to improve control, comfort, and stability. Meanwhile, motorcycle enthusiasts wrap their worn-out handlebars to give them a new look. Handlebar tape can also prevent rusting, provided you invest in high-quality tape that costs more than $10.

2.1 Tools Required

  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Electric Tape

2.2 Steps

  • Start from one end of the handlebars and wrap from the inside to the outside until it creates a figure-eight pattern.
  • Maintain tension in the tape to ensure you wrap it tightly. However, do not pull too hard on the tape or you risk wrinkling or ripping it. Just make sure there is enough tension so there are no gaps between the loops and the tape does not come off.
  • Wrap the right handle in a counterclockwise direction and the left handle in a clockwise direction.
  • Once you reach the end of the handlebars, secure the ends of the handlebar tape with electrical tape. For extra strength, wrap the electrical tape 3-4 times around the ends of handlebar tape. Keep tension on the electrical tape for a smooth finish. Make sure that the color of the electrical tape is the same as the handlebar wrapping.

2.3 Cost of Handlebar Tape

The cost of handlebar tape can vary based on its features. A good-quality tape with an anti-slip design can cost about $7 for two rolls. Besides handlebar tape, you would also need electrical tape, which can cost around $3.

Therefore, the overall cost of your DIY project, if you use tape, would be about $10 or less if you already have electrical tape at home.

2.4 How Many Tapes Do You Need to Wrap the Handlebars

A single role of handlebar tape is enough to cover the entire length of the handlebars.

Handlebar Tape 
Pros Cons
Mountain Bike Styling  Unravels Quickly 
Improves Comfort and Control  If You Replace Handlebar Grips  Leaves Sticky Residue When Removed 
Adaptable  Easy to Apply on Different Handlebars 
Wide Color Range 

3. Practical Alternatives to Wrap Motorcycle Handlebars

While handlebar tape is for cosmetic purposes, you can use other materials to cover the bars. All of these materials are cheap and often readily available in your garage or at the store. The alternative types of paint include:

  • Paracord
  • Hockey Grip Wrap
  • Fabric

4. Wrap Motorcycle Handlebars with Paracord

Paracord wraps are comfortable, slip-proof, and can resist high temperatures. Available in multiple colors, textures, and patterns, paracord wrapping can help give your motorcycle a new look. You can buy multiple paracords due to them being budget-friendly and easy to maintain. Paracords can also be used for motorcycle camping, including setting up a tarp for shelter, a clothing line to hang wet clothes, a fishing line, and support tent stakes.

4.1 Tools Required

  • Paracord
  • Scissors

4.2 Steps

  • Place one end of the paracord at one end of the handlebars. Depending on the shape of your handlebars, you may need to use a single 50 ft paracord or two 25 ft long strings to wrap the handlebars. But it is best to start at one end without cutting the cord.
  • Wrap one end of the paracord around one end of the handle. The bar should come in the center of the paracord. The paracord should be three times longer than the length of the handlebars. Cut and remove the extra cord at the end of the wrapping. You should have one length of the cord in front of and behind the handlebars.
  • Pull the back of the cord from under the handlebars and loop it over the front. At the same time, pull the front of the cord and loop it over the back of the handlebars. Continue wrapping around the cords so that they crisscross across the length of the handlebars.
  • Pull the paracord to maintain tension as you loop it around the handlebars. When you finish wrapping, the right and left ends of the cord should be resting on opposite sides.
  • Crisscross the loops until they reach the ends of the handlebars.
  • Tie the ends into tight knots. Cut the extra cord to finish the look.

4.3 Cost of Paracord

A paracord bundle will cost about $2-$5, depending on your location, the store you buy it from, and the quality of the cord.

4.4 How Much Paracord Do You Need to Wrap the Handlebars

You typically need 40-70 feet of paracord to wrap your motorcycle’s handlebars.

Paracord Handlebar Wrap
Pros Cons
Cheap - Complete Package Costs Less than $10  Not Suited for Rain 
Durable  Absorbs Moisture and Emits Unpleasant Smell
Versatile - Can Be Used When Camping Prone to Wear and Tear 
Easy to Wrap and Remove
Readily Available 
Stays Secure if Wrapped Tightly 

5. Wrap Motorcycle Handlebars with Hockey Grip Tape

Hockey grip tape can be a reliable handlebar wrap. Available in several colors, hockey grip tape has a unique fabric look that can complement the simple chrome or blacked-out handlebars. The highly adhesive hockey tape eliminates the need for zip ties and electrical tape to secure it to the handlebars.

5.1 Tools Required

  • Scissors
  • Hockey Grip Wrap

5.2 Steps

  • Clean the handlebars to remove dust.
  • Apply the hockey grip wrap on one end of the handlebars. The sticky side of the tape will grip the handlebars immediately, eliminating the need for extra tape or zip ties to keep it in place.
  • While wrapping, make sure that the loops of the hockey tape slightly overlap with each other and leave no gaps.
  • Cut the tape once it reaches the handlebar riser assembly.
  • Repeat the process when wrapping the other side of the handlebars.

5.3 Cost of Hockey Grip Tape

A single roll of hockey grip wrap will cost about $5-$8, depending on the brand.

5.4 How Much Hockey Grip Tape Do You Need to Wrap the Handlebars

You only need one roll of hockey grip wrap to cover the entire length of the handlebars.

Hockey Grip Handlebar Wrap 
Pros  Cons 
Super Cheap  Adhesion Becomes Reduced After a Few Months 
Long Lasting  Prone to Wear and Tear
Easy to Apply  Not Waterproof 
Preserve the Paint or Chrome 

6. Wrap Motorcycle Handlebars with Fabric Strips

Fabric strips can be made of several materials, including leather, cotton, linen, silk, etc., with different colors, prints, and textures.

6.1 Tools Required

  • Zip Ties
  • Scissors
  • Fabric Strips
  • Measuring Tape

6.2 Steps

  • Determine the required length of the fabric strip by measuring the distance between the handlebar grips.
  • Cut the fabric strip about 3-5 inches longer than the length of the handlebars.
  • Make a knot where the handlebar grip ends and start wrapping. Overlap the fabric and move along the curved and flat parts of the handlebars.
  • Keep the fabric straight and taut while wrapping. Loose fabric will come undone even if secured with tape or zip ties.
  • Once you reach the ends of the handlebars, tie them using a tight knot.
  • Secure zip ties on the ends of the handlebars to finish wrapping.

6.3 Cost of Fabric Handlebar Wrap

If you choose to wrap your motorcycle’s handlebars in fabric strips, then you only have to pay for a couple of zip ties as you can easily find old pieces of fabric at home. The cost of zip ties is usually less than $5.

6.4 How Much Fabric Do You Need to Wrap Motorcycle Handlebars

The average width of motorcycle handlebars from the ends is about 37 inches. The length of each handlebar grip is about 5 inches, covering about 10 inches of the handlebars. You would fabric strips about 27-32 inches long.

Fabric Handlebar Wrap 
Pros Cons
Less Cost  Not Waterproof 
Large Variety  Can Become Undone 
Easily Available  Can Wear Out Quickly and Must Be Replaced Frequently
Dries Quickly
Improves Aesthetics 
Easy to Wrap and Remove 

7. Takeaway

Wrapping motorcycle handlebars is a time-efficient and cost-effective way to change the style of your motorbike, protecting the finish, or hiding any scratches and rust.

It is best to practice wrapping handlebars by using a steel rod, pipe, or tube. But if you want to start wrapping right away, then go ahead. Even if you don’t get it right the first time, you can remove the tape and start all over again. To clean off the sticky residue, make sure you have adhesive remover spray near you.

Also Read: How to Heat Wrap a Motorcycle Exhaust

Photo Credit: @Marks Misfit World

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