Best Handlebar Tape For Your Road Bicycle

As serious bikers, whether it’s our main mode of transportation or the way you prefer to get you daily dose of calorie burning, we want to make sure that our ride is not only the most efficient but also the safest for our bodies as possible. Believe it or not, the shock of riding over a pothole you didn’t notice can do some damage to your joints.

Taping your handlebars are an added level of protection. Let’s take a closer look at the advantages of using handlebar tape, how to apply it, and our selections for the best road bicycle handlebar tape for you.

Best Road Bicycle Handlebar Tape Comparisons

Brand

Details

Our Rating

bicycle handle tape, handlebar tape, bike tape

Cinelli Cork Ribbon Handlebar Tape

  • Material: Cork
  • Colors: Variety of solids and stripes
  • UV Protection: Yes
  • Warranty: None
bicycle handle tape, handlebar tape, bike tape

Vex Gel SuperSuede Bike Bicycle HandleBar Tape Bar Wraps with Bar Plugs by Weanas

  • Material: EVA material and Vex Gel
  • Colors: Designs made of white, red, and black
  • UV Protection: No
  • Warranty: None
bicycle handle tape, handlebar tape, bike tape

Planet Bike Comfort Cork Handlebar Tape

  • Materials: EA foam and real cork flacks
  • Colors: 15 solid colors
  • UV Protected: Yes
  • Warranty: Good Gear Guarantee
bicycle handle tape, handlebar tape, bike tape

BV EVA Road Bike Handlebar Tapes

  • Material: EVA Foam
  • Colors: Black
  • UV Protection: Yes
  • Warranty: None
bicycle handle tape, handlebar tape, bike tape

BV EVA Road Bike Handlebar Tapes

  • Materials: Polyurethane, cork, 3M adhesive
  • Colors: Yellow, Blue, Red, and Black
  • UV Protected: No
  • Warranty: No

Handlebar Tape; What Is It?

You may be thinking, “Won’t any tape work?”  No. While duct tape might hold things together well, security and connection are not the ideas behind handlebar tape. The type of tape created specifically for your handlebars have more to do with comfort and ease on the joints than holding things together.

bicycle handle tape, handlebar tape, bike tape

What is Handlebar Tape Made Of?

bicycle handle tape, handlebar tape, bike tape

There isn’t just one answer to this question since there are a variety of materials that can be used to make handlebar tape. I’ll list a few common things found in today’s market.

Cork

The first material on our list is used quite a bit when it comes to handlebar tape. Cork offers a lot when it comes to absorbing shock and moisture.

bicycle handle tape, handlebar tape, bike tape

Perforated Leather

Tape like this will add a nice look to any bike and users love the way it feels after it has time to wear in. Once that period is over the comfort is top notch.

Synthetic Materials

There are a number of man made materials that are perfect for handlebar tape. A few of them include polyurethane, synthetic nylon, and silicone. All of them are lightweight, durable, and strong. When fashioned to a cushioning material like gel core and made with a texture that is easier to grip, these materials can make for some sturdy and durable handlebar tape.

Benefits of Handlebar Tape On You Road Bike

Holding on to our bike’s handlebars is one of the most important factors of riding, especially when we are maneuvering around city streets and wet roads. There are bumps in those roads and those bumps lead to shocks on your wrists, elbows, and shoulders.

If the shock isn’t absorbed well you could find that those joints will get inflamed over time, which could impair their use for future riding as well as other activities. Comfort and diminishing shock to your joints is the purpose of handlebar tape.

Shock absorption isn’t the only benefit of handlebar tape. It also increases comfort, enables you to get a better grip during the wet weather, soaks up moisture, and lengthens the life and durability of your handlebars.

bicycle handle tape, handlebar tape, bike tape

How To Choose The Right Tape For You

When shopping for this type of tape you should consider a few things.

bicycle handle tape, handlebar tape, bike tape
bicycle handle tape, handlebar tape, bike tape

Color

Density

Most tapes are black, which is the perfect color when you consider all the sweat and dirt this tape is going to be exposed to. Of course, there are a variety of options when it comes to color so finding one that appeals to you shouldn’t be difficult. You may want to look for UV-protected tape if you choose a bright color so it doesn’t fade over time.

How much your tape weighs makes  a big different, which is why you should pay attention to the type of material you choose. Weaving in and out of traffic and picking up speed on those long country roads requires your bike to be lightweight. You don’t want to add to your sluggishness with heavy tape.

Thickness

Adhesive

The thicker the tape the more shock it will consume but the thinner the tape the more you will be able to feel the road. People who race use thin tape for that very reason. You need to decide what thickness will work best for you.

How does it stick? We hope well because I personally can’t think of anything worse that riding around while my bike tape is peeling off. That’s not only ugly and annoying, it can be dangerous if left ripping for too long.

Durability

Money isn’t easy to come by so it makes sense that we would want to get the best deal for the money spent. There are a lot of durable materials used to make handlebar tape, you have to decide which works best for you and your bike.

How To Use Handlebar Tape

Applying this type of tape to your handlebars might seem simple but it is actually quite precise. And, depending on the thickness of the tape, the ease of application will vary from tape to tape. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

What You Should Know About Handlebar Tape

Even though some brands may say they are easy to install, applying tape to your handlebars takes time and diligence. Some of them require you go over the handlebars with different layers and others have strong adhesives so you want to get it right the first time. Also, you need to have a working knowledge about how to remove and replace brake cables and housings.

Top 5 Road Bicycle Handlebar Tape Reviews

Now that we’ve gone over exactly why handlebar tape is important and what you need to consider when choosing some let’s take a look at five of the best handlebar tapes available for you to purchase.

Cinelli Cork Ribbon Handlebar Tape

  • Material: Cork
  • Colors: Variety of solids and stripes
  • UV Protection: Yes
  • Warranty: None
bicycle handle tape, handlebar tape, bike tape

The first tape on our list is made by Cinelli, a company founded by professional road cyclist Cino Cinelli. This tape first came on to the market in 1987 and it is still a strong tape by today’s standards. It offers comfort and attaches with a self-adhesive. 

Cinelli Cork Ribbon Handlebar Tape is easy to apply cutting pieces that will fit under your brake hood is simple. The cork is strong and the tape stretches well when applying. It has a nice feel on the riders hands and offers that extra comfort you might be looking for. It comes in a wide array of colors and patterns that should appeal to a lot of riders with different aesthetic tastes.

Pros

  • Made with cork and GEL
  • Becomes tacky when wet for better grip
  • Comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns
  • UV protected colors

Cons

  • The grey is lighter than it seems
  • It’s hard to remove if you make a mistake
  • No warranty to be said of 

Vex Gel SuperSuede Bike Bicycle HandleBar Tape Bar Wraps with Bar Plugs by Weanas

  • Material: EVA material and Vex Gel
  • Colors: Designs made of white, red, and black
  • UV Protection: No  
  • Warranty: None
bicycle handle tape, handlebar tape, bike tape

This company focuses on a lot of outdoor activities like climbing, camping, and cycling. Working in layers, this version of their handlebar tape is made of a series of high tech layers. One of them is Vex Gel, a patented cushioning material that works wonders when it comes to heat, water, wear marks, and overexpansion. 

It also comes with EVA material, which is soft, comfortable, flexible, and durable. When you purchase this tape is comes with finishing tape and end plugs. The high tech layers were put in place to help your ride be shockproof. This tape is perfect for anyone who races or tours. It comes in a few designs with the primary colors being black, white, and red.

Pros

  • There is a lot of tape on the rolls
  • Easy to install
  • Good padding  
  • Stretches well

Cons

  • Might unravel
  • Red looks orange next to some other reds
  • No warranty to speak of

Planet Bike Comfort Cork Handlebar Tape

  • Materials: EA foam and real cork flacks
  • Colors: 15 solid colors
  • UV Protected: Yes  
  • Warranty: Good Gear Guarantee
bicycle handle tape, handlebar tape, bike tape

This Madison, Wisconsin company started in 1996 with the idea of bringing a change to their community that was positive. Their handlebar tape is made of EVA foam tape and cork flacks to give the rider comfort and grip. Comiing in a wide variety off colors, this tape has UV protection so your color doesn’t fade. 

It’s easy to install and elasticity. This tape becomes tacky when wet for a better grip on your handlebars. When purchasing you also get reflective bar end plugs. All products from Planet Bike comes with their Good Gear Guarantee, which is a limited lifetime warranty.

Pros

  • Soft with good cushioning
  • Wrap around bars well  
  • Can unwrap easily if you make a mistake
  • It works for other products like strollers and lawn mowers

Cons

  • The red color has faded
  • Weak adhesive
  • Too thick for some riders

BV EVA Road Bike Handlebar Tapes

  • Material: EVA Foam
  • Colors: Black
  • UV Protection: Yes  
  • Warranty: None
bicycle handle tape, handlebar tape, bike tape

Next we have some EVA road bike handlebar tapes that don’t come in any other color but black. That’s okay though because, as we said, lighter colors will probably get dirty. IT has a no slip grip and the foam material provides the added comfort. This tape is lightweight and resistant to UV radiation, water, and fading. 

The backing adhesive is provided by 3M, a leader in the industry. Installation is simple and it come with two finishing tapes and a set of end plugs. Of course, the eva foam, which is a soft polymer that is used for a wide variety of things from comfort to insulation. It can be found in several different types of sporting gear. 

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Comfortable when using  
  • No-slip grip

Cons

  • May rip easily
  • Roll could use extra length

SRAM Supercork Bicycle Bar Tape

  • Materials: Polyurethane, cork, 3M adhesive
  • Colors: Yellow, Blue, Red, and Black
  • UV Protected: No
  • Warranty: No
bicycle handle tape, handlebar tape, bike tape

This last brand of handlebar tape that we put on our list is made by SRAM, a globally conscious company that focuses on being good to the environment. Made from cork this tape is durable and light at the same time. It is also made from polyurethane, which is imbedded with the cork so the grip is fantastic. 

3M is the supplier of the adhesive on this tape as well and this set comes with end plugs and finishing tape. It comes in a few colors like yellow, blue, red and black. On top of a mission to create quality products, SRAM is also dedicated to building a better world via cycling. They do this with the SRAM Cycling Fund and World Bicycle Relief.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Comes with end plugs and finishing tape  
  • Offers superior grip

Cons

  • Can feel spongy
  • Color can fade

Conclusion

There are several types of tape on the market, although the most widely used materials seem to be cork and EVA foam. Whichever material appeals most to you be sure to research how to apply it to your handlebars thoroughly before attempting to do this. The process can be tricky and isn’t something you should just jump into.

If you liked this piece please let us know in the comments section.

Leave a Comment