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Top 5

Handlebar Tape

by LemondBikes

You can make numerous upgrades to your bike to make it more comfortable, better handling, and more appealing. Handlebar tapes are among these upgrades. You have probably noticed cyclists whose bikes sported nice-looking handlebars; so nice that you said to yourself there is no way those were factory-installed handlebars. Well, handlebar tape was probably part of the aesthetic appeal. A quality tape can improve your comfort and bike control, especially at high speeds.

If you are looking to get the best handlebar tape for any of the above-mentioned reasons, there are numerous factors you need to keep in mind. These crucial factors will help you choose from the wide range of options available, with different materials, colors, and thicknesses. This guide will help you get the ideal tape by outlining these factors and the five best makes available today.

Best Handlebar Tape

Domain Cycling Extra Long Gel Bicycle Handlebar Tape

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Domain Cycling Extra Long Gel Bicycle Handlebar Bar Tape Wrap for Road...

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Last update was on: 16 June 2021 01:22

$24.99


Pros

  • Extremely long
  • Sufficiently comfortable
  • Tape surface is highly slip-resistant

Cons

  • Finishing tape is insufficient
  • Does not have adhesive backing

The Domain Cycling Extra Long Gel Bicycle Handlebar Tape is aptly named in reference to its outstanding length. The manufacturer even states that it is the longest handlebar tap available on Amazon. While we cannot substantiate that claim, that tape is indeed impressively long. You would be hard-pressed to find any handlebar that this tape wouldn’t cover. If you always run out of tape even after wrapping your handlebars extremely tight, this is the brand you should try next.

The tape is 1.2 inches wide and about 94 inches long. Its surface is made of slip-resistant PU (polyurethane) leather that provides excellent grip in all weather conditions. The foam liner is sufficiently cushioned using Vex-Gel, which results in an extremely comfortable lining. Keep in mind that this tape does not come with an adhesive backing and only has end plugs and finishing tape.

BV EVA Road Bike Handlebar Tapes

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BV EVA Road Bike Handlebar Tapes, Bicycle Bar Tape, Cycling Handle Wraps...

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Last update was on: 16 June 2021 01:22

$13.99


Pros

  • Sufficient grip even in wet conditions
  • Comes with 3M adhesive backing
  • Good shock-absorption qualities

Cons

  • Can tear if stretched too much
  • Difficult to remove

The BV EVA Road Bike Handlebar Tape is made using EVA foam that is extremely lightweight, water-resistant, durable, anti-slip, and fade-resistant. Once wrapped in your bike’s handlebars, the tape provides a safe grip in dry and wet weather conditions. Unlike some alternatives, this tape comes with 3M adhesive backing making it extremely easy to install without needing any tools. Once installed, the ends are finished using end plugs and finishing tape to keep the entire EVA tape in place.

The BV EVA Road Bike Handlebar Tape package comes with two finishing tapes, two handlebar tapes, and two handlebar end plugs. If your current handlebar feels overly uncomfortable, you will certainly appreciate the soft, comfortable feel synonymous with this tape. The tape effectively relieves pressure and fatigue during long rides by isolating your hands from vibrations and shock.

The biggest misgiving with the BV EVA Road Bike Handlebar Tape involves the considerable difficulty removing it. While this may not be a huge concern for many, it is certainly an issue for cyclists who regularly change their handlebar tapes.

KINGOU EVA Road Bike Handlebar

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KINGOU Black EVA Road Bicycle Handlebar Tape Bike Bar Wraps - 2PCS...

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Last update was on: 16 June 2021 01:22

$8.99


Pros

  • Generous 2000 millimeters length
  • Quite comfortable
  • Outstanding water resistance

Cons

  • Does not come with finishing tape
  • Has no adhesive backing

The KINGOU EVA Road Bike Handlebar tape comes in a choice of nine colors, enough for any cyclist to find the perfect one for the bike. The tape is 2.8 millimeters thick, 30 millimeters wide, and a whopping 2000 millimeters long. The tape comes in a water-resistant and anti-slip surface designed to provide maximum grip even when riding in the rain. The tape comes without a backing adhesive, which is both good and bad. On the upside, the lack of adhesive makes it easy to rewrap the tape if you get it wrong. On the flip side, it does not remain in place and variants with adhesive backing.

The package comes with two handlebar tapes and two ABS plastic plugs for the ends. Installation is straightforward, and beginners will find it particularly forgiving, unlike tapes with adhesive. Once installed, the KINGOU EVA Road Bike Handlebar Tape is soft to the touch and improves the overall grip and comfort when riding.

Cinelli Cork Handlebar Tape

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Cinelli Cork Ribbon Handlebar Tape, Natural

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Last update was on: 16 June 2021 01:22

$15.32


Pros

  • Extremely nice shock-absorption
  • Made from natural cork
  • Outstanding comfort

Cons

  • Hard to clean
  • Poor quality adhesive

The Cinelli Cork Handlebar Tape follows the company’s heritage of classic, simple, yet functional products. The cork tape has long been a favorite for many riders due to its sweat-absorbing properties and the comfortable padded feel. Cork tapes also dampen vibrations and shocks significantly better than tapes made from other materials. However, it is worth noting that this natural material is considerably harder to clean than its synthetic counterparts, such as PU leather. Additionally, cork tapes tend to fray and tear when subjected to heavy use.

The tape’s inner surface contains the Vibra-Absorb gel, responsible for damping the shocks and vibrations. This current variant has softer and thicker gel, resulting in better shock-absorption than previous variants. The tape itself is made from concentrated natural cork wrapped around a PU base. The package comes with the tape, finishing strips, and end plugs. The tape is self-adhesive, making installation a breeze. Keep in mind that the two tape rolls included are designed to fit a single handlebar.

The only minor issue with the Cinelli Cork Handlebar Tape is its less than impressive adhesive quality. While it works, it is not as good as variants with different types of adhesive backing.

MARQUE Suede Bike Handlebar Tape

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MARQUE Suede Bike Handlebar Tape - Road Cycling Bicycle Handle Bar Wrap...

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Last update was on: 16 June 2021 01:22

$13.99


Pros

  • Wide range of colors to choose from
  • Ideal for different handlebar types
  • Extremely wear-resistant

Cons

  • Adhesive strip is too narrow
  • Tape is not as wide as other alternatives

The MARQUE Suede Bike Handlebar Tape comes in a choice of seven colors. It is easy to find one that complements your bike’s color perfectly. The tape’s shock-absorbing material is sufficiently soft to the touch and immensely improves ride comfort. Measuring 2.5 millimeters thick, the material is thick enough to damp off minor and medium vibrations and shocks. The tape is also flexible enough to wrap around any drop handlebar easily.

Unlike tapes that easily tear or fray, the MARQUE Suede Bike Handlebar Tape is extremely wear-resistant, resulting in good durability. With the perfect level of stretch and sufficient adhesive backing, this tape is easy to install. The package includes finishing tape and end plugs to ensure the tape does not unwind. Feel free to wrap this tape around bullhorn handlebars, aero bars, or the common drop bars.

The most significant issue with this tape is the somewhat narrow strip of adhesive on the back. It is not as good as those with adhesive on the entire back surface.

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What to Look for When Buying Handlebar Tape

For most people who do not own road bikes, handlebar tape is probably among the most easily-forgotten bike upgrades. While these tapes may seem overly simple, they can make a significant difference in your riding experience. However, if you have browsed an online store for these tapes, you have probably come across almost countless options. With these, it is easy to make the wrong purchase and regret the entire decision. However, we have come up with the essential factors to look out for when choosing handlebar tapes.

Easy to Install

Tape is not just tape. Some variants are considerably more difficult to install on your handlebars than others. The ease of installation is determined by the type of adhesive on the tape, its width, length, and finishing accessories availability. Tapes without an adhesive backing are easy to install for beginners since they provide room for error correction. You can easily rewrap these tapes as many times as you want. Tapes with an adhesive backing or self-adhesion can be trickier for a beginner but are ideal for a more experienced cyclist. The presence of the adhesive back ensures the tape stays in place.

The tape’s width also contributes to its ease of installation. Thicker tape requires fewer turns and is, therefore, easier to install than overly narrow tapes. Lastly, make sure that the tape you purchase has finishing strips, end plugs, or both. These help secure the ends of the handlebar tape once you are done wrapping.

Adhesion

Adhesion determines how well the tape stays put on the handlebar surface. If you choose to buy the tape with adhesive backing or self-adhesion, ensure that it is strong enough and high-quality. Poor quality adhesive will deteriorate in the sun and make a mess of your handlebars. The adhesive strength is also an important factor to consider; keep in mind that overly strong adhesive might pose a problem if you ever decide to replace the handlebar tape.

Comfort

Comfort is arguably the biggest reason why people install handlebar tapes. Conventionally, handlebars are made from metal, which is not exactly the most comfortable material. When choosing the tape, it is important to get one with sufficient cushioning. Tapes made from natural cork or synthetic foam tend to be among the most comfortable. Tapes with thinner cushioning such as PU leather, rubber, and plastic are also okay but may not be ideal for extended use.
For comfort, always remember that thick padding helps even out the road’s vibrations but sacrifices your connection to the road. Generally, 2.5-3.2 millimeters of padding should be comfortable enough for most people.

Recommended

Before purchasing any handlebar tape, it is good to head over to an online store and check out the product’s reviews. Normally, people who already own the product and have used it have a better picture of its quality, durability, comfort, and any other attribute you might be interested in. Check out whether the tape you intend to buy leans more on the ‘recommended’ sections, four and five stars, or the ‘not recommended’ ones, one and two stars. If the negative reviews are overwhelming, the safest bet would be to avoid that product altogether.

Easy to Clean

Your handlebar tape will obviously become dirty due to sweat, dust, gravel, and many other things. This makes it important to have an easy-to-clean tape. Unfortunately, some materials are harder to clean than others. You will find that natural cork, for example, is considerably harder to clean than synthetic materials. If you frequently cycle in areas that expose your tape to dirt, you will be better off choosing tapes made from synthetic materials such as nylon or PU leather.

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Summary

Choosing the ideal handlebar tape shouldn’t have to be a daunting task. Hopefully, the five best options listed above have narrowed down your options and made the purchase decision easier. By considering the pre-purchase factors described above, you are assured of getting the best handlebar tape for your bike.