LAST UPDATED: July 12, 2019

The Best Handlebar Tape (Review) in 2021

Best Choice Cinelli Cork Handlebar Tape Cinelli Cork Handlebar Tape
Premium Pick Lizard Skins Handlebar Tape Lizard Skins Handlebar Tape
Best Value TOPCABIN Bicycle Bar Tape TOPCABIN Bicycle Bar Tape

Great physical appearance, as well as high performance and convenience, are some of the few things every cyclist looks for in a bike. As insignificant as it may seem, the handlebar tape on a bike can go a long way in influencing the overall ride performance. Outdoor enthusiasts and professional bikers could agree that the color, material, and texture of a handlebar tape could actually affect major things such as the grip and convenience. It’s a classic bicycle feature unbeatable by time due to its functional and resilient characteristics. Below are some of the best handlebar tapes made to suit, personify and match your strength and drive as a cyclist.

The Best Handlebar Tape

The Cinelli Cork Handlebar Tape is a classic favorite for many riders. It features a simple yet functional design that holds firm in the most slippery or dry moments. Included in one box are two tape rolls with adequate adhesion on the base side. This tape is enough to wrap the entire handlebar while providing enough padding to cushion the hands and avoid blisters from extensive ride sessions. The highlights of this Cinelli bar tape have to be its capacity to greatly reduce vibrations resulting in enhanced performance. They effectively absorb shock keeping your hands free from numbing vibrations throughout the ride. Strap on these reliable adhesive handlebar tapes and enjoy a convenient and comfortable ride anytime.

Key Features
  • Two adhesive rolls per box
  • End caps included
  • Reduces vibrations
  • Logo on the top
Specification
  • Brand Cinelli
  • Model NMCORKN
  • Weight 3.2 ounces
PROS

Two pre-cut strips of tape

Provides adequate cushioning

Gives a good grip

CONS

The tape doesn’t clean up easily

Logos are printed unattractively (to some) all over the tape

End caps are not so secure

This product has definitely become a favorite among recreational and professional bikers alike. The high-quality material is thick yet still light enough to be well fitted.  The Lizard Skins Tape and Plugs Bar Tape adds color, style, and convenience to your already ‘cool bike’. Worn out tape will only downgrade the general appearance of the bike and make it look less cool. They also provide cushioning comfort for both long and short rides alike, ensuring the palms are blister-free after every ride. Made with top-grade materials, these handlebar grip tapes come in 3 different sizes; 1.mm, 2.5mm, and 3.2mm. With a wide range of colors to choose from, there’s no doubt that the diverse styles and designs would suit every bike and personality. It’s thick enough to absorb unpreventable vibrations from messing with your ride experience. When installing this bar tape it’s important to ensure the material is not stretched but is still placed on tightly. While this can be a challenge, it the best way to ensure this great looking, comfortable bar tape stands the test of time.

Key Features
  • Lightweight form
  • 2 bar end plugs included
  • Multiple color choices
  • Made from high quality and durable materials
Specification
  • Brand Lizard Skins
  • Model DSPDS875
  • Weight 3.2 ounces
PROS

Great cushioning

Firm and non-slip grip

Cleans out easily

CONS

Some users reported insufficient length

Questionable durability 

If cycling has become more than a hobby and is more like a healthy addiction, it’s needless to say that the handlebars may be feeling the burn too. When exploring replacement options for the best bar tapes you may want to consider the BV EVA Road Bike Handlebar Bicycle Bar Tape. Not only does it add more style and convenience to your riding experience, but it also sports quite a lightweight form and in essence, doesn’t add much volume to the handlebars. It’s made with durable, water-resistant materials that ensure this handlebar grip tape will resiliently outlive diverse weather conditions and terrains.

With the capacity to take in undesirable vibrations from different road types, your hands stay comfortably pampered regardless of the time and place. The EVA foam provides adequate cushioning as well as an anti-slip grip on sweaty or rainy days. What’s better? The installation has been made even easier with the BV logo on one side and the adhesive placed on the flip side for easy recognition. And for the perfect finish, there are finishing tapes that keep the edges securely in place and end bars for a clean, decent look.  

Key Features
  • Made from high-quality materials
  • EVA foam for adequate cushioning
  • Fade, water, and UV-radiation resistant
  • 3m adhesive backing
Specification
  • Brand BV
  • Model BV
  • Weight 1.6 ounces
PROS

Shock and vibration absorbent

Easy installation 

Affordable price

CONS

The sides are thinner than the middle

The adhesive doesn’t run through the width of the tape

Inadequate finishing tape

For all those who love standing out and shining, the SRAM Supercork Bicycle Bar Tape is a sure bet. Apart from its beautiful, radiant color that’s set to turn heads during the summer, it offers a neat and tight fit on handlebars. It’s an affordable option for everyone planning to change out their handlebar tapes on a budget. Made with vinyl material, it establishes a firm contact with the palms ensuring they don’t slip even during the most intense rides. The material itself can be stretched when installing it on the handlebars without fear of any heart-breaking rips. Being a super cork handlebar tape, it’s very comfortable and soft on the hands throughout the time-span of the ride. It stays firmly in place without pulling out when it comes in contact with water or sweat. For a professional and classy new look and a comfortable riding experience, the SRAM definitely lives up to the hype.

Key Features
  • Anti-slip grip
  • Anti-tear and flexible form
  • Vinyl material
  • There is an adhesive under that tape
Specification
  • Brand SRAM
  • Model 00.7915.017.030
  • Weight 3.2 ounces
PROS

Affordable and reliable

Installs and re-wraps easily

Tight fit and comfortable grip

CONS

Runs a bit short

Not easy to clean

Insufficient finishing tape

A lot of traditional bikes had handlebars without adequate taping around the surface. Of course, this resulted in tired, numb and blistered palms. Being a major means of transportation back then, that was definitely a lot to bear. However, times have changed; comfort and class are both being re-emphasized. That is why the Domain Cycling Extra Long Gel Bicycle Handlebars have been designed to stylishly help you take on the streets.

Designed to be longer in length than its competitors, this bike handlebar tape saves you the stress of re-wrapping over and over again. With an extra-long length that covers the entirety of both handlebars, enough tape would probably be left over for the levers. Measuring about 92 inches long and 1.2 inches wide, it still stretches adequately providing a tight and professional-looking finish. The adequate cushioning ensures your hands stay comfortable throughout the riding period, eliminating blister occurrences. With a non-slip surface that has you covered in wet or dry periods; enjoy a pleasurable ride without the fear of going the extra mile.

Key Features
  • Extra-long anti-slip handlebar tape
  • Adequate EVA foam cushioning
  • VEX-gel lining underneath
  • End plugs and finishing tape included
Specification
  • Brand Domain Cycling
  • Weight 3.8 ounces
PROS

Stretches well during wrapping

Logo free

Great cushioning

CONS

Color selection

Handlebar tapes don’t only enhance the look of your prized bicycle; they highly contribute to your comfort and convenience while riding. This is why not just any tape will do, but one that has the properties adequate enough to cushion and dampen vibrations. The Cinelli Special Edition Handlebar Tape is designed to bring maximum comfort and plush cushioning to the palms on the go. The streets may be rough and the off-roads bumpy, but your hands will remain softly pampered by the texture of this road bike handlebar tape. With an extra attractive, classy leather outlook and feel, your bike is sure to turn heads whether it’s parked or gliding handsomely on the streets.

Made with a polyurethane base, its form is quite lightweight and easy to handle. The top is reinforced with a soft velvet cover that provides the luxury comfort every cycler, male or female deserves. On the flip side, there’s an adhesive strip that makes it quite easy to wrap on and bar end plugs that make the perfect finish. This set includes finishing strips, bar end plugs and more than enough tape to cover the length of the handlebars.

Key Features
  • Rubberised, elastomer compound
  • Leather-like look and feel
  • Adhesive backing
  • Cinelli bar-end plugs and finishing tape
Specification
  • Brand Cinelli
  • Model NMBNR
  • Weight 4.2 ounces
PROS

Has a strong and durable form

Can easily be unwrapped and re-applied

Soft texture with a good amount of tackiness

CONS

Finishing tape is not quality

Adhesive tape is a bit too strong

Some users still complain it runs a little too short

Are you a fan of wearing gloves when cycling? Does the mere thought of it make your palms sweat? Good news: there are a whole lot of people who don’t fancy wearing restrictive gear whether cycling for comfort or competitively. And now with modern and high-tech options that provide comfort anyway, you never have to feel guilty going out without a pair of gloves. Made with a durable and sturdy microtex material, the Fizik Performance Bicycle Bar Tape is lightweight enough for an easy application. With an ultra-thin form for a more flexible and stable fit, the sizes run in 2mm, 2.7mm, and 3mm. It comes in more than 12 colors that would definitely suit any bicycle regardless of the brand and type. The variety of colors also makes it easy to pick out a design that best suits your personal taste. Durable enough for regular rides, it doesn’t matter how many miles you cover, this Fizik bar tape was designed to go the distance without wear.

With 0.8mm more padded filling, this handlebar tape keeps the user comfortable all ride long. It also comes with a distinctive file tread texture that enhances the grip while providing a smooth surface where the hands can move smoothly. The tackiness of this handlebar tape is on par with what is expected of high tech tapes. Even when the handlebars get wet due to sweat or rain, the texture remains viscous enough to stably keep the palms on.

Key Features
  • Sturdy and tacky grip
  • Textured surface for enhanced traction
  • Ultra-thin tape
  • Made with microtex
Specification
  • Brand Fizik
  • Model F1703900
  • Weight 1 pounds
PROS

The tape never loses its traction even when wet

Looks great and sticks on easily

Great length

CONS

Insufficient padding

Does not dampen vibrations

Doesn’t stretch much

Cycling is an amazing hobby and sport. It’s extremely healthy, very relaxing, and therapeutic. Sometimes it’s the little things we rarely pay attention to that influence performance the most. Handlebars determine the control you have over the bike and how much it can be accurately maneuvered. Weighing 56 grams, the Lizard Skins DSP Bar Tape sports a shiny and attractive looking polymer material sure to last. It has been reinforced with even more padding providing a satisfying, cushiony feel on the palms whether they are resting on the handlebars or gripping tight while cycling.

With 0.8mm more padded filling, this handlebar tape keeps the user comfortable all ride long. It also comes with a distinctive file tread texture that enhances the grip while providing a smooth surface where the hands can move smoothly. The tackiness of this handlebar tape is on par with what is expected of high tech tapes. Even when the handlebars get wet due to sweat or rain, the texture remains viscous enough to stably keep the palms on.

Key Features
  • Comes in different colors
  • Made of polymer material
  • Weighs 56 grams
  • Comes with even more padding
Specification
  • Brand Lizard Skins
  • Model DSPDS600
  • Weight 4 ounces
PROS

Great cushioning

Tacky texture

Sustains a good grip even when wet

CONS

It is relatively expensive

Not great for bikers who love to change hand positions while riding cause of its grip-y texture

Installation is a bit hard

Your weight shifts mostly to the arms when cycling especially if the bike is on top speed. This tells on your elbows and wrists when they are not comfortably positioned. Your comfort can only be assured if the right materials are used and in place for enhanced riding experience. The Planet Bike Comfort Cork Handlebar Tape promises optimal convenience not just for you, but the handlebar too. It promises to be soft on the palms and gentle on the skin while providing a secure and easy grip.

 The tape comes in multiple colors that would suit a wide range of bicycle saddles and personal style. All the available colors and designs come UV-protected to ensure you enjoy their vibrant look and feel over time. It equally sports a durable construction that will last a long time. Even when it drizzles or you work up a little sweat when cycling, these handlebar tapes remain tacky enough for a good and secure grip.

Key Features
  • Durable design with gel
  • UV-protected colors
  • Anti-fade and water-resistant
  • Remains tacky even when wet
Specification
  • Brand Planet Bike
  • Model 5078
  • Weight 4 ounces
PROS

Limited lifetime warranty

The versatile tape can be used for other handlebars

Great cushioning feel

Cleans out easily

CONS

Back is not adhesive

Provided electrical tape isn’t so sticky

Unclothed handlebars deserve appropriate dressing that protects them from the sun and other elements while providing you with optimal comfort. Good handlebar tape actually lengthen the lifespan and appearance of the actual handlebars. Choosing the right tape doesn’t just benefit you but the bicycle as well, that’s why its importance cannot be overemphasized. The Fizik Performance Bicycle Bar Tape is designed to promote top performance while providing the required fitted protection the handlebars need.

It’s no doubt why a good number of athletes choose this Fizik bar tape as their go-to handlebar dressing. The design puts comfort, convenience, and optimal performance first by innovatively combining the required technology with innovative ideas. The materials form and texture is anatomically designed to appropriately cushion the hands during every ride while the form remains beautifully lightweight. With different designs and colors to choose from, Fizik is definitely a reliable option for the rider who loves comfort, sophistication and drive.

Key Features
  • Lightweight design
  • Comes in different colors and designs
  • Comes with finishing tape
  • Includes two rolls and end plugs
Specification
  • Brand Fizik
  • Model Fi'zi:k
  • Weight 4.8 ounces
PROS

Durable tape that’s easy to clean

Lightweight and easy to stick on

Attractive look and tight, professional finish

CONS

The tape runs a bit short

Leather has to be one of the most attractive types of handlebar tape materials found in the market. Their expensive, classy and shiny finish definitely adds a lot of swag to the bike. They also serve as great protection for the handlebars as well, and thanks to their long term durability they are changed out less. Made with PU Leather, the KINGOU Carbon Fibre Road Bike Handlebar Tape definitely stands out among the rest. It’s padded with an EVA foam that serves as adequate cushioning to the firm leather material.

Measuring about 79 inches it runs long enough to cover both handlebars, while the width runs at 1.2” with a 0.11” thickness. This makes it easier to install when the tape is lightweight and a bit on the slim side. The material itself is very breathable adequately absorbing sweat and moisture. Contrary to what you’d expect, the texture is not slippery and provides great traction even when wet. Enjoy a vibration-free glide even when riding on the bumpy off-roads.

Key Features
  • Made with PU Leather and lined with EVA foam
  • Includes ABS plastic plug with reflective metal coating
  • Anti-slip surface
  • Breathable and sweat-absorbent
Specification
  • Brand KINGOU
  • Weight 3.2 ounces
PROS

Easy to install

Easy to wrap and un-wrap

Shock absorbent

CONS

runs a bit too short

finishing tape doesn’t stick on well

For an effortless, cool and classy look, this camouflage series is a must-have for those who love the design. It runs in three different colors: black, blue and silver. Made to soften the contact your hands have on the handlebars, the TOPCABIN Bicycle Bar Tape EVA Camouflage Series are a perfect choice.

A good and comfortable grip adequately cushions your hands and reduces the stress your wrists and elbows normally experience. These soft and comfortable tape does just that while providing a great grip. The tape is fade resistant, and even after washes and a lot of gripping during ride sessions, the colors stay vibrant over time. Another benefit to this bike handlebar tape is its water-resistant feature; this allows users that don’t mind a few raindrops to continue on in the rain without too much concern.

Key Features
  • Fade-resistant
  • Water-resistant
  • Made with polyurethane
  • Includes finishing tape and end bars
Specification
  • Brand TOPCABIN
  • Model FBA_TOP520006277348
  • Weight 2.4 ounces
PROS

Offers great grip and cushioning

The length runs long

Great looking camouflage tape

CONS

Doesn’t stretch much

No installation instructions 

The Newbaum’s Cloth Bar Tape has to be one of the best and leading cloth handlebar tapes in the industry, providing one of the most durable and breathable handlebar dressing you’d find. Users who prefer natural, soft material bar tapes to the synthetic products could easily go for this cloth tape. The fabric is durably milled in the US and designed to live through different weather conditions and terrains.

It also gives users the versatile options of combining fabrics for a spontaneous, customized and personalized look. Colored with eco-friendly dyes, this soft, cushioning cloth bar tape is a great choice for all those who love the environment and love to support its cause. The manufacturing process poses less risk to the environment while providing you with the traction you require on the handlebars.

Key Features
  • Made with durable milled cotton
  • All materials made from renewable natural resources
  • Eco-friendly dyes used for coloring
  • Adhesive back
Specification
  • Brand Newbaum's
  • Model 26312
  • Weight 1.6 ounces
PROS

Made with eco-friendly materials

The adhesive sticks well

Easy installation

CONS

Runs a bit short

Just like other parts of the bicycle wear out with time, so will the handlebar wraps. Tires, chains, and other gear need frequent maintenance or replacements every now and then; this is what keeps the bike in top-notch appearance and performance. Handlebar tape is relatively inexpensive, so there is really no excuse to keep on the custom wraps that have evidently worn out.

The Brooks England Microfiber Bar Tape is made from a synthetic microfiber material that is meant to last longer while providing a smooth and breathable surface. It’s quite lightweight measuring 3mm in width which makes it thick enough to cushion your palms and slim enough for an easier installation. Apart from the ease it provides during wrapping, thinner bar tapes help athletes and cyclists that love to feel the ground when cycling, do just that. This is especially common with professional athletes that use this to their advantage. All in all, this durable and great looking bar tape would make a great choice.

Key Features
  • 3mm in width
  • Made with synthetic microfiber fabric
  • Easy installation
  • Includes vulcanized rubber end plugs
Specification
  • Brand Brooks England
  • Model BT03A05205
  • Weight 5.6 ounces
PROS

Durable and functional

Great appearance

Very comfortable feel

CONS

Some users reported complicated installations

Tape runs short

Get a grip with the Vinqliq New Super Soft Cork Bike Handlebar; the perfect companion for your long-distance rides. It’s made with soft and lush materials that are gentle on the hands and convenient for those extra-tight grips when you hit uneven grounds on the road. Cork tapes are the go-to handlebar wraps when you’re looking for great cushioning and reduced vibrations on the road.

This road bike handlebar tape is adequately cushioned with EVA foam while the cork provides superior gripping quality. It comes well reinforced for top road performance with shock and vibration absorbent features that ensure you’re on top of the game at all times. When you’re cycling long distance, continuous vibrations can end up numbing your arms and the feeling isn’t so great. That’s why these bar handles come with more comfortable, stable and secure features that will definitely rock on your bike. 

Key Features
  • Easy installation
  • 6.6-foot length
  • Skidproof design
  • Shock, tear and sweat resistant
Specification
  • Brand Vinqliq
  • Weight 3.4 ounces
PROS

The length runs long

Adhesion sticks on well

Durable and solid tape

CONS

Doesn’t include strips to cover the back levers

Best Handlebar Tape Buying Guide &FAQ

No matter how much you love and cherish your custom handlebar tapes, they are bound to wear or tear eventually. There are many smart replacement choices to make, and we have made the choice a lot easier by outlining the best handle bars the market has to offer. As a bonus, there is extra information that will definitely benefit you before and after the desired handlebar has been purchased.

Bicycle Bar Tape

What to Look for in a Handlebar Tape

  • The Grip:

Handlebars are undoubtedly a very attractive part of a bicycle. However, the taping does a lot more than just sitting pretty. The grip it provides is extremely important as the handlebars are the major contact point your hands have on the bike. This influences your control, direction, and general safety. A good handlebar tape should provide a firm, non-slip grip that keeps the user’s hands securely on the bars at all times.

  • The Padding:

When considering comfort, the padding on the handlebars is extremely important. The handlebars should adequately be able to cushion the hands throughout the time-span of the ride. This eliminates the occurrences of painful blisters and sore palms.

  • Flexibility:

Thinner tapes will actually wrap better around the handlebar whether it hangs low or is positioned sideways. It is important that the tape is ‘flexible’ enough to go round the length of the handlebars without posing serious installation issues.

  • Colour:

While a lot of people preferably go with white, others prefer colors that would wash easier without evident stains. Cyclists believe that the color of the handlebar tape should match with the head tube or saddle. Get colors you feel will match the vibe and design of the bike without glaringly standing out too much. At the end of the day, the color option is solely up to up you.

Why You Should Use a Bar Tape On Your Road Bike

The handlebars are actually the most important contact point you have with the bike in terms of control. It may seem insignificant but the grip and comfort will enhance control when riding especially at top speed. A non-slip base with adequate cushioning will deliver the much-needed comfort your palms require to ride long distances. This is even more important when you’re not wearing gloves and the palms of your hands have no protection.

Different Types of Bike Handlebar Tapes

Handlebar tapes are most commonly made from one of the three;

  • Cork:

This tape is a traditional and classic material still used for wrapping handlebars today. They deliver a more luxurious and comfortable feel on the hands. This is probably the reason why it may seem more expensive than the rest. Users have to be careful when wrapping cork tape on the handlebars, if it’s stretched too much it will most likely be prone to wears.

  • Leather:

Leather is that go-to material that is practically compatible with all related applications. It feels good on the hands and looks great on the bike too. They are also an extremely durable option and won’t wear anytime soon. However, when looking for materials that will absorb vibrations, leather isn’t the best choice.

  • High-tech synthetic:

Many handlebar tapes are made from synthetic materials that are lighter and durable in the long run. They are also used to provide a tacky feel to the handlebar that facilitates a better grip. They are mostly combined with foam or gel cores for an enhanced cushioning effect. They also provide good vibration and shock absorption despite their slim, modern form.

Active lifestyle

Best Handlebar Tape FAQ

Q: What is a handlebar tape?

A: Handlebar tape is the material wrapped around the length of the handlebars on your bicycle. They provide a more comfortable feel when riding and also enhance the general look of the bike. These tapes also provide a better grip ensuring a safe, non-slip surface you can always rely on regardless of the weather.

Q: How do I use bicycle handlebar tape?

A: The tape is neatly wrapped around the handlebars on your bike and secured at the ends by finishing tape. This cushions the hands when riding and dampens vibrations while enhancing a firmer and more secure grip.

Q: How long does handlebar wrap last?

A: It definitely depends on the materials used, maintenance and how it is wrapped. Most manufacturers advise that cork tape should be stretched as minimally as possible to preserve the materials used. Overstretching the tape may shorten the lifespan of the tape or even cause breakages, tears, and frequent unwrapping. Usually, when cork tape unravels, the adhesive allows it to be placed back and it could last for years. Gel tape doesn’t fare as well as cork tape, as the pressure from continued use keeps separating the particles, causing easy wear.

Our Top Pick

We highly recommend the Cinelli Cork Ribbon Handlebar Tape that comes with two roll tapes adequate enough to securely cover both handlebars. The thick and comfortable tape is soft on the hands and provides sustainable cushioning that prevents sore palms and blisters. With the Cinelli Cork handlebar tape, be assured of a fun and convenient ride, free of annoying vibrations all ride long.

Source:

  1. How to Tape Handlebars – Wiki How