Copper wire handlebar twine

Grant Petersen of Rivendell Bicycle Works has popularized “twining and shellacking” bicycle handlebars to finish off the bar tape.

I agree with Grant Petersen most of the time; I’ve gone back to cloth tape, tried a Brooks saddle, and I haven’t ridden clipped-in in two years, even on technical-ish singletrack. I don’t know where my cycling gloves are.

While my bars are an inch above the saddle (but not with a Nitto stem), and I only use electrical tape on black cork bar tape, I don’t like the idea of melted bug parts coating my handlebars, and I think hemp twine looks pretty darn rustic. I’ll stick a feather on my bike any day, but I’m not into the twine look.

I wanted something that made a fancy transition, without going all nature-boy, and I have a spool of copper wire left over from an art project. We put on a kids’ collage festival with decent materials, not egg cartons and toilet paper rolls*.

So… copper wire bar twine.

Make a little loop-y, and place it across the area you’ll wrap. Here I’m covering a half-assed wrap that has lasted for more than a year, but I want a more substantial and clean ending for my bar tape.
You begin wrapping from the open end of the loop, up to, but not over, the closed part.

Wrap, wrap, wrap. The new wire kind of slides in between the old wire windings, and fills them in.
When you get to the end, you poke the free end through, in order to pull the free ends back under the wire.

Pulling the beginning strand pulls the loop and free end back underneath the wire wrap.

I hope you like the look, and consider wrapping your bars with any twiny, wiry material you may find. Brightly insulated phone wire might look cool…

*It’s a crime to give students crappy art materials, even if they’re making trash art.

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UI/UX Designer, bike nerd, artist.

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