Can I Reuse Handlebar Tape?

Your ride’s quality is measured mainly by how much comfortable it was. Handlebar tapes are necessary for damping road vibrations that travel to your arms. You could be asking, “Can I reuse a handlebar tape?”

You can reuse handlebar tape if you happen to change your bike’s bars and the tape is still in good condition. As you undo the tape from the old handlebars, take care that it doesn’t tear. Also, as you put the tape back, pull it snuggly to avoid damaging it.

If the tape is still as good as new, you don’t have to spend cash on a new handlebar tape. You still wrap the old one on and keep going. All you need is an electrical insulation tape to get you started and neatly end the rewrap.

Can I reuse a handlebar tape? Bike handlebars with blue tape

When Can I Reuse Handlebar Tape? (3 Instances)

As we have observed above, it is possible to reuse your handlebar tape. Unfortunately, there are times when it’s hard to reuse the tape.

Therefore, let’s look at some of the instances when you can reuse your bar tape.

1. When The Tape Is As Good As New

When your handlebar tape is just a few weeks old, you don’t have to get a new package if you change the bars. On the contrary, you should reuse the tape on the new handlebars.

Therefore, if your current tape is still as good as new, go ahead and reuse it.

However, if you just got a brand-new bike, it is better to get a new tape. Fortunately, a handlebar tape such as the BV EVA Road Bike Handlebar Tape doesn’t cost a fortune. In addition, it measures, 3M long and comes with 2 handlebar finishing plugs and 2 finishing tapes.

Not that reusing your previous handlebar tape on a new bike has any adverse effects; it only looks a bit odd.

2. If It’s Not A Sticky Backed Tape

Some handlebar tapes have an adhesive at the back, which makes them sticky. While this could be desirable when wrapping a new tape, it can be a challenge when it comes to re-wrapping it on another set of bars.

Notably, the adhesive helps to keep the tape in place at all times. However, the tape will tear in some instances if you try to peel it off for reuse.

On the other hand, non-sticky handlebar tapes are easy to unwrap and reuse on another set of bars.

Therefore, if your bike has the sticky type, buying a new tape may be a better option.

In most bike forums, some riders claim to have successfully reused handlebar tapes that have sticky backs.

For non-sticky back handlebar tape, you may consider going for the KINGOU EVA Road Bike Handlebar Tape. It comes in different colors and each package contains two rolls spanning for up to 2M.

Can You Reuse Handlebar Tape

3. When The Tape Isn’t Torn

In case the tape is torn, the best solution is to get a new one. However, if the tape you currently have has no tears or any other physical damage, you can go ahead and reuse it.

Re-wrapping a torn or worn-out tape will not produce a good finish. On the other hand, a small force applied when winding the tape on the bars will just rip it off.

Therefore, if the tape isn’t torn, you can go ahead and reuse it.

Can You Reuse Handlebar Tape And Put A New One Over The Old One?

You can put a new tape on an old one for enhanced vibration damping. However, there is a catch.

The old tape should be in good condition for you to wrap a new one over it. However, if the current tape is torn or worn out, it is advisable not to place a new tape on it since it will feel bumpy and weird.

To double-layer the bar tape, ensure the first layer starts about a centimeter from the end and finish it short. Also, make sure it is tight enough to avoid unnecessary movements.

If possible, the inner layer should be thinner than the outer one.

Afterward, wrap the second layer as you usually do with a single layer of tape.

How Often Should You Change Bar Tape Even With Reuse?

Every component in a bicycle has an expected lifespan, and handlebar tapes are not an exception. With time, every part deteriorates with use. So while it’s possible to reuse handlebar tapes, how often should you replace them?

Well, there isn’t a precise answer to this question due to factors such as:

  • Climatic conditions – extreme weather adversely affects the handlebar tape.
  • Type of terrain and riding style – Different surfaces such as gravel, dirt, and road have different wear rates on the handlebars.
  • Usage intensity – The more you use your bike, the sooner you will need to change the handlebar tape.
  • Eventualities and accidents – An unfortunate crash or knock will most likely damage the bar tape before it wears out.

All the same, most experienced riders propose that you should change your handlebar tape after every six months.

However, this is just an average. Therefore, if your handlebar tape gets torn, grimy, or it’s peeling, it’s time to replace it.

How Long Should Handlebar Tape Last?

One factor that would make reusing handlebar tape reasonable is its life expectancy. As we had earlier noted, different factors would affect how long your bar tape can last.

A handlebar tape can last for up to 20 years, depending on usage and the prevailing weather conditions. For example, a typical bike rider who does just a few miles in a week can stay with the same bar tape for 15 to 20 years without any need for replacement.

Also, the quality of the tape matters a lot when it comes to the tape’s endurance. In addition, wrapping the tape as directed by the manufacturers helps in reducing frequent replacements.

A good quality cork tape such as Cinelli Cork Handlebar Tape comes with a moderate amount of padding can last for a long time.

So long as the tape doesn’t get any tears or twists from your hand pressure, you can expect it to last almost forever.

What Can I Do With Leftover Bar Tape

Other Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Can I Do With Leftover Bar Tape?

You can use leftover handlebar tape for several hacks in your garage. First, you can use the extra tape to protect your chainstays from chain slaps.

Also, you can use the leftover tape to protect your seat post from scratches caused by sandal bags.

On the other hand, you can use it to rewrap tennis racquets or your car’s steering wheel.

2. Can You Clean Handlebar Tape?

You can clean a bar tape by wrapping a rag around the bars and pulling it back and forth as though you are polishing a shoe. Actually, soapy water will help get rid of dirt and stains faster. For stubborn stains, you can apply soap directly on the rag and rub it on the spot.

3. Does Handlebar Tape Make A Difference?

If you choose the tape that provides the proper padding for you, it will make a whole lot of difference in your ride quality.

Handlebar tape helps to reduce road vibrations that reach your arms through the bike. In addition, a new tape will make your old bicycle look and feel new once more.

4. How Thick Should Handlebar Tape Be?

For most riders, a bar tape thickness ranges from 2.5mm to 3.2mm thick. All the same, there isn’t one size that is ideal for all cyclists.

For example, the Fat Wrap handlebar tape happens to be the thickest, and it’s ideal for touring and bike packing.

5. How Do You Wrap A Bar Tape Like A Pro?

To wrap your bar tape like a pro, you have to start from the drops towards the stem. From a cyclist’s point of view, wrap the left side counter-clockwise and the right side in the clockwise direction.

Final Word

If you got new handlebars and your bar tape is still in good condition, you can go ahead and reuse it. However, if the tape is torn or worn out, it is advisable to get a new one.

Notably, bar tapes that have foam inside can be problematic to remove, especially if they have adhesive on the backside. Therefore, take extra care when removing them to avoid tears.

So, if you had been wondering whether you reuse handlebar tape, yes, you can do it without any adverse effect.

Also Read: Best Bicycle Handlebars For Sitting Upright