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Should I try to change my bar tape & shifters myself? (scared newbie)

chincitop2012-06-08 22:16:36 +0000 #1
Hey girls, I'm pretty new to working on my own bikes, and I've just purchased a used Concord Freedom10. There's something I couldn't resist about a bike older than I am that's in such great shape. I did some basic maintenance on her (Changed one bad tire out, cleaned & lubed chain & rings) and will eventually change both tires to matching whitewalls, but there's 2 things I want to do that I'm pretty intimidated about them. I wanted to see if you girls had any advice for me.

1.) Bella has stem shifters. They work, and are actually in amazing condition, but they drive me crazy. I'm considering bar end shifters, and want to try to do them myself, but I've never even touched shifting systems before, so I'm kind of terrified I'll royally screw her up.

2.) Bar tape! It seems just so simple, but, remembering arts and crafts as a kid, I remember how my projects were pretty easily the ugliest of them all in almost all those classes. Is it hard, or am I just psyching myself out?

Thank you girls, I don't think I could have survived some of the disasters without your help, especially tackling those first months of hills when I started commuting!

And, because I want to share her, here's Bella:

Owlie2012-06-08 22:27:54 +0000 #2
Bar tape is theoretically possible to do yourself. I don't have the patience for it, so I'll be getting DBF/the LBS to do it for me when I have to replace it (which will be soon).

I don't know if it's even possible to put bar-end shifters on this thing, but if you're relatively new to bike maintenance, I wouldn't touch it and would let the shop do it.
Hartmame2012-06-08 22:28:06 +0000 #3
I'm hoping taping the bars isn't too tough, I have my new frame built up and ready except for the bar tape so while I'm dragging my feet I really feel its doable. You tube has several videos.

As for the barend shifters, what size is the cassette ? 6 speed? My brother wants to do the same and I saw some compatible friction shifters at orangevelo that would work. Though I agree that it would be easier and less time consuming to have a shop do it. When I did mine I scheduled for someone at the shop to take a look at the job I did to make sure I got it right.
OakLeaf2012-06-08 23:24:16 +0000 #4
Heh, maybe it's just me, but I find shifter installation and adjustment WAY easier than wrapping bars.

With bar tape there's finesse every single turn of the tape - shifters are just a matter of install, position, adjust. I've never done bar-ends, but I can't see how they'd be much different from other types.

It seems to me that wrapping handlebars is mainly a matter of practice and patience. Your LBS mechanic who does it a dozen times a day can do it in three minutes and have it look perfect. Me, who might do it once every other year, it always takes at least five re-wraps and even then it's lumpy at the bar end.

But heck ... your question was should you try. If you're asking the question, that means you want to, and so the answer to should you try is absolutely! It's a really good skill to have, and even if it doesn't look perfect, you'll have the sense of accomplishment, and you'll have that much practice under your belt for the next time you do it.
Becky2012-06-08 23:33:29 +0000 #5
Oak is right- taping is all about patience and practice. Go slow, be prepared to unwrap and re-wrap sections, and check out the instructions at .

But you should definitely try it yourself!



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