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Geert van de Meulebrocke of Team Vacansoleil-DCM show you how...

Those pros get a rough time. Look at today's stage: three HC ascents over 2,300m, an early intermediate sprint that'll ensure a furious pace from the gun and over 200km to get through. On the plus side, however, they do at least get people on hand to make sure that their bikes are in tip-top condition.

When you've put nearly 2,500km into your legs over the last two weeks, simple pleasures like new bar tape must be a joy. Anyone who's wrapped their own tape knows it's not easy to get it looking Pro, but that's what a team mechanic needs to do, and in double quick time: there's a whole fleet of bikes to attend to, and time is short.

Ever wondered how they do it? Well wonder no longer, because here's a short vid of Vacansoleil-DCM's pro team mechanic, Geert van de Meulebroecke, demonstrating the pro wrap on Stijn Devolder's Ridley. Pay close attention to the best way to kick off, and the correct method of covering the space around the back of the lever.

Vacansoleil use Lizard Skins DSP bar tape, which is one of our favourite bar tapes here at road.cc. DSP stands for Dura Soft Polymer and it's super grippy and well cushioned. It's pricey, but hey. Nothing's too good for team riders...

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

15 comments

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bazzargh [152 posts] 6 years ago
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He does make that look very easy.

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ekynoxe [49 posts] 6 years ago
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Just out of interest, does anyone know how you make it as a pro mechanic or even assist on a good race? There's obviously sh** loads to do, but working close with these guys must be an awesome experience!

That said, I'll have the noah any time to practice my skills at taping the bars! (I might ride it a little too  3 )

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diggerpull [38 posts] 6 years ago
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not really very informative 'cos it's just too fast  2

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michophull [143 posts] 6 years ago
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Interesting. It looks like those bars are already taped with electrical tape. I always start at the stem and work to the bar ends. I nearly always make a right pig's arse of it somewhere behind the brake levers.  39

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Tony Farrelly [2893 posts] 6 years ago
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diggerpull wrote:

not really very informative 'cos it's just too fast  2

You should see how fast some of those guys go, I reckon Geert slowed down for the camera, and it's got to be said Lizard Skins is probably a tad trickier to apply than some bar tapes.

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viveLaPants [94 posts] 6 years ago
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he's winding the tape the wrong way. It should be clockwise on the right hand side.  26

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Qwerm [16 posts] 6 years ago
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TheHatter [770 posts] 6 years ago
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guessing he's not using though small bits for behind the lever? I've found that 'double-back' approach is a much better idea and still covers the bar at that point.

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Tony Farrelly [2893 posts] 6 years ago
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Last year Mat and I watched some pro mechanics wrapping bars at the Tour and they all seemed to do it differently even the guys on the same team - watched 2 AG2R mechanics working side by side both had completely different techniques - both ended up with a very pro looking finish as you'd expect, reckon it took them about a minute.

Microphul - it makes it a lot easier if you tape the cables down first.

ekynoxe - your first step would be to get the highest qualifaction as a mechanic, and then ideally get a job with a manufacturer, there is talk I think of introducing a degree level qualification in the UK for the very best mechanics which I presume would take in a fair amount of engineering and maybe some materials science possibly. I'm sure there'll be someone out there who will know better than me though

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viveLaPants [94 posts] 6 years ago
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Qwerm wrote:

Incorrect ^

http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/handlebar-tape-installation-dro...

nope, correct.

'When riding on the drop section of the bars, it is the tendency to rotate the hands outward. It is possible to reverse wrap direction from start to finish in order to match this tendency'

from that very website. horses for courses I guess. I wrap it my way (the right way), monsieur mechanic does it his way (the wrong way)....he is foreign after all....mind you so am I,  39

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WolfieSmith [1380 posts] 6 years ago
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If you're south of the equator do you wrap them the other way? If you look at Cadel's tape it seems that way....  4

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scook94 [40 posts] 6 years ago
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viveLaPants wrote:
Qwerm wrote:

Incorrect ^

http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/handlebar-tape-installation-dro...

nope, correct.

'When riding on the drop section of the bars, it is the tendency to rotate the hands outward. It is possible to reverse wrap direction from start to finish in order to match this tendency'

from that very website. horses for courses I guess. I wrap it my way (the right way), monsieur mechanic does it his way (the wrong way)....he is foreign after all....mind you so am I,  39

Have to agree with viveLaPants.

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dlp [51 posts] 6 years ago
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The first Park method leaves the tape 'self loosening' though does it not? I have a tendancy to rotate my hands back/down when I'm on the tops and doing this with tape wrapped front to back (from the top) would mean stretching the bartape towards the 'leccy taped end.

A nice looking figure of eight at the levers allows you to start at the bar end, rotate outwards on each side and wrap from back to front on the tops: meaning that you're stretching tape (by natural rotation) towards the lever where any slack will be taken up by the inherent tension of the bar tape.

This method also covers your lever bodies without needing the little extra bit of tape always helpfully provided by the manufacturer.

I also reverse PVC tape the start and can highly recommend it.

I love this kind of high-brow world-changing discussion.

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handlebarcam [988 posts] 6 years ago
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I put self-fusing silicone tape under mine, for a bit of extra girth, and some vibration dampening effects.

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Municipal Waste [241 posts] 6 years ago
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In reality if you do a good job of it, which way you wrap won't make too much difference but there are a couple of factors that make a difference.

Firstly, there's the rotation of the arms when sprinting... The idea is to go anticlockwise on the RH and clockwise on the LH. Then on the tops you'll want to counter a backwards movement of the wrist and so go from front to back.

But secondly, some tapes you just can't tape in opposite directions! I did some fizik tape for a customer on Friday and it was totally awkward with the way they had put a tapered cut on the start of the tape which went the wrong way on the LH so it would either be wrap it the wrong direction or have the logos upside down  2