Top 10 Best Bar Tapes For Cycling — Get A Comfort boost and make your bike look fresh

Best Bar Tapes For Cycling — Get A Comfort boost and make your bike look fresh
Best Bar Tapes For Cycling — Get A Comfort boost and make your bike look fresh

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Best Bar Tapes For Cycling — Get A Comfort boost and make your bike look fresh
Best Bar Tapes For Cycling — Get A Comfort boost and make your bike look fresh

The best handlebars offer the right combination of cushioning, grip and durability to protect your hands and make your riding more comfortable. 

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To do its job well, handlebar tape has to be comfortable, hard-wearing and grippy, and it doesn’t hurt if it looks good. We’ve wrapped scores of handlebars and ridden thousands of miles or Tarmac and gravel to bring you the best bar tapes you can buy.

Your handlebar tape is the essential interface between your bike and part of your body that’s full of nerve endings, sensitive tendons and small bones: your hands. It needs to provide both cushioning to reduce the road buzz a bit, and a grippy surface for your hands to hang on to in all weathers.

And since handlebar tape it subject to pressure and friction from your hands, plus damage from falls and leaning against walls and the like, it also needs to be robust. Balancing those requirements is no easy task and is why there are so many different tapes on the market. These are the handlebar tapes that have won the road.cc team’s approval.

The 10 best handlebar tapes

Best overall: Enve Handlebar Tape

2021 Enve Handlebar Tape 2.jpg

£35 is a lot of money to pay for duct tape, but believe me when I say that if you want more comfort, good grip and a stylish look, ENVE tape could be the choice. Match ever comes your bike with drop handlebars.

“ENVE claims to have engineered a special compound for the tape that provides grip, comfort and elasticity, and lined it with a silicone band that helps reduce vibration. It is extremely efficient in doing everything that is required and it is also reusable. Since it’s covered with silicone, there’s no glue, just an adhesive strip to keep it in place when you rewind it. This is a huge bonus for anyone with a lot of bikes or if you’re changing handlebars. Now, after three measurements, I no longer worry about this cost.

“It’s so pleasant, whether you’re wearing gloves or not, whether it’s raining or not. The embossed ENVE logo on the ice really provides a great grip and a very secure connection between you and the bars, which gives a lot of confidence when moving around the bars going down nasty trails , even when it’s wet. The anti-vibration silicone strap works wonders and reduces noise on the go better than any other strap I’ve used. 

Read the review of the Enve Handlebar Tape

Best for maximum cushioning: Wolf Tooth Supple Bar Tape

2020 Wolftooth Supple Bar Tape On Bike 3

“The Wolf Tooth soft handlebars are a great choice for mountain bikers and those looking for a more luxurious tape to smooth rough surfaces. Packing is easy and no sticky backing means you can repack countless times. I used more tape but it still sticks to the bar.

“The soft steering wheel provides exceptional damping on rougher surfaces and isolates the hand from road noise. It’s both wide and thick, to be exact, 40mm wide and 5mm thick. Wrapping is quite simple but requires you to use a slightly different technique than using regular tape. Wolf Tooth’s self-fusing silicone decorative tape completes the wrap in a very elegant way.

“The tread thickness is the main feature here and I have to say I really enjoy using this tread for casual riding and on some of the gravel roads I’ve been on. Mendip Council’s local paved trends provide an ideal test surface and the ice did a great job of keeping me out of the way of road noise. 

“The surface of the tape is, according to Wolf Tooth, very sticky, but although it feels solid in my hand, it is not the most sticky tape I have ever used. Overall, I really like Wolf Teeth. It lives up to its performance expectations and rolls up easily. However, the pricing is a bit tricky. 

Read the review of the Wolf Tooth Supple Bar Tape

Best on a budget: Prime Comfort Handlebar Tape

2021 Prime Comfort Bar Tape - on bike 1.jpg

Prime Comfort handlebar tape is a great way to add comfort to your road bike, while improving grip – and it’s affordable. The tape wraps easily, adheres well in both dry and wet conditions, has a good end cap and seems to last a long time. The gel backing also makes it easy to repack. 

“On the road, comfort is immediately noticeable. Thickness is appreciated on imperfect surfaces, and this tape does an impressive job of reducing the road noise my SL7 can throw at me. After being ripped off by a pothole in my hand, I became a fan of duct tape again. That grip is there whether you’re wearing gloves or not, and it’s even great in wet or sweaty conditions. 

“If you’re looking for an upgrade but the price of your fancy tapes puts you off, then Prime Comfort Handlebars are a top contender. It’s thick, grippy, easy to pack, and holds well. 

Read the review: Prime Comfort Handlebar Tape >

Best value silicone tape: Tortec Super Comfort Handlebar Tape – £16.99

Tortec Super Comfort Handlebar Tape 2

I found this cassette a lot of fun to pack. “Tread Super Comfort by Tortec fulfills all requirements: it’s super grippy in use, with just the right amount of cushioning for miles of comfort.” It is also very pleasant to install. Instead of an adhesive strip, Tortec uses a silicone grip strip on the back, very similar to the one on the bottom of a jersey. It’s non-sticky so you can make as many adjustments as you need and you can even reuse it as it will come off the bars without leaving a residue. “There’s also great stretch so you can get around the corners of a series of drops with no problem, and it’s not one of those bands that feels like it could break if you pull. Once installed, the silicone does a great job holding it in place – I never noticed any movement.

“On the road, it’s a nice strip of dirt, with a sticky surface that (in a good way) offers excellent grip, even when the road is wet. I almost always wear gloves when driving, but there’s also a lot of feel to bare skin if that’s how you ride.

“You’re spoiled for choice, but this one looks just as good as any I’ve used: comfortable, super grippy, and reusable. Beautiful Tortec handlebars. Encourage. 

Read the review of the Tortec Super Comfort Handlebar Tape

Best artwork by a road.cc contributor: Kinesis Anti-Slip Handlebar Tape — Jo Burt Edition — £22.00

2020 Kinesis Signature Jo Burt Tape Close up.jpg

The Kinesis Signature handlebar is really comfortable and easy to set up, and this special edition, with text and a touch of humor from Jo Burt, adds a bit of style and fun to a pretty set of accessories. standard.

The material is very grippy and the term “anti-slip” in the name seems appropriate. Even when wet, it grips well, suitable for typical UK weather – maybe even more so if you put it on a gravel bike, like I did. The water flows out of the ice so it doesn’t absorb as much rain or sweat as some ices can.

“There is no size listed in terms of thickness, but it has just the right amount of depth with Vex Gel in the material to provide a good amount of cushioning. “It works great, is comfortable, all-weather and easy to pack, with Jo’s artwork adding a touch of style and fun.” 

Read the review of the Kinesis Anti-Slip Handlebar Tape — Jo Burt Edition

Wolf Tooth Supple Lite Bar Tape — £29.00

2021 Wolf Tooth Supple Lite Bar Tape

The extra-wide Wolf Tooth Supple Lite handlebar makes it easy to achieve a sleek look, and you can over-wrap for added comfort. How wonderful. It is also very broad:
40 mm, with my ruler. The idea of ​​Wolf Tooth is that you can double pack your bars in one sitting thanks to the huge overlap potential. 

I love driving with this cassette. High flexibility foam; you can feel it forming under your weight, but it’s not porous or spongy. Changing positions feels natural; Sticky enough to keep you from slipping, but without stopping you from moving. It is especially effective in wet weather because it is water resistant. There was no sign of movement during testing and conversely, I think it looks better after running a few kilometers. 

Read the review of the Wolf Tooth Supple Lite Bar Tape

Acros Silicone Wrap Handlebar Tape — £23.00

Acros Silicone Wrap Handlebar Tape - Orange

Pebble and cyclo riders are the target market for Acros Silicone Wrap handlebars. They will benefit from shock absorption and ease of maintenance, like most runners – assuming you’re willing to shell out £35, of course.

The 3mm thickness of Acros tape does an excellent job at isolating low level vibrations. Silicone bands are known for their grip and I’m not immediately surprised by the sticky, stubborn feel and the feeling that it’s always dry, wet, and regardless of glove type.

“I expected a £35 bar wrap to live up to its hype, and the Acros Silicone Bar Wrap certainly did, in every way.” 

Read the review of the Acros Acros Silicone Wrap Handlebar Tape

Fizik Vento Solocush Tacky Tape — £22.99 – £26.00

Fizik bar wrap roadcc.JPG

Fizik Vento Solocush handlebar tape is a high performance, high quality handlebar tape aimed primarily at racers and light builders and it certainly lives up to the hype. Even the cleanup turned out to be much easier than I expected.

“Installation is simple, although it requires a sturdier approach than many laminated tapes. It is less flexible than cork or even old bicycle tape. The adhesive backing is very resistant to unrolling if editing is required. The end caps are also sturdy and the bands finish better than most. Buy and control are always good, dry or wet – peace of mind when you’re tired and have to navigate very long twists and turns, filled with potholes and similar imperfections, or when circling the city as well as when the winter rains come.

“The Vento Ribbon lives up to the hype and is certainly on par with some of its similarly priced competitors. Some people won’t be happy with the £33 price tag for the bar wrap, but this is a high quality band that offers exceptional comfort and is worth considering. And as you can see, it can be heavily discounted compared to its RRP. 

Read the review of the Fizik Vento Solocush Tacky Tape

Joystick Analog Bar tape — £31.99

joystick_analog_bar_tape_3.JPG

The analog joystick control strip is easy to install and comfortable to use, with a wide range of wet and dry grip possibilities. In fact, it’s pretty good — as long as you’re willing to pay the most for a tape.

If you ride without gloves, you need a handlebar that is comfortable but thin enough; I’m not a big fan of high volume. This analog impresses with its 2.8mm thickness and sturdy yet slightly compressed material. It is quite soft to the touch and thanks to its compound it has a very light stickiness, which is ideal for holding in the rain or when your palms are sweaty. Here “milestone” also helps a bit.

“It’s really easy to wrap around because it’s pretty soft and you can really stretch it around the bends of the gearshift and steering wheel. The tape adheres well to the handlebars and can be easily removed and reattached without damage, which is to be expected for a tape at this price point. To finish things off neatly, install the plugs at the end of the bar with hex bolts to adjust the tension and tighten the handlebar tape inside the bar. In my opinion, this still gives a much better finish than the press-fit options. “While its price is comparable to some of the more expensive cassettes, so is its performance and for those willing to pay for it it’s a good investment.” 

Read the review of the Joystick Analog Bar tape

FSA Power Touch Bar Tape — £21.62

FSA Power Touch Bar Tape

FSA Power Touch Bar Tape Deals

The FSA Power Touch Bar Tape is comfortable to the touch and easy to use. The tape is just the right thickness, really adds to the overall feel and the price is quite reasonable

Made from a blend of synthetic and natural cork with 2.8mm thick padding and gel on the inside, it’s comfortable and easy to hold in the hand. I immediately noticed the gloveless handle and felt that even in wet conditions it worked very well. I usually ride with gloves on, but I skip them just to give it a chance to shine. Grip is more than excellent, even in wet weather. The gel lining seems to absorb any bumps I can feel and if combined with gloves, your hands will hardly hurt.

This is an easy to apply tape that doesn’t cost much and is well worth considering for longer trips. If you’re a fan of cleaning your bike, you can buy some white Electric Touch Tape for just £12 from Chain Reaction. 

Read the review of the FSA Power Touch Bar Tape

Prologo Onetouch Gel Bar Tape

“Prologo is best known for a variety of saddles, but also produces a variety of adhesive tapes, so if you use a Prologo saddle, you can combine it with your bike tape. There’s nothing better than a proper saddle and handlebar band if you care about the form of your bike, and the grip and cushioning it offers make it a good choice, even if you’re not looking for looks.

“This Onetouch handlebar tape is made from what Prologo calls ‘Polygrip’, a foam core sandwiched on the outside of polyurethane and is about 2mm thick. I prefer my tape to be thin rather than thick; I like the feel of the ride well. This strap is quite thin but padded enough to keep you really comfortable even on long rides without wearing gloves. Prologo offers a gel version if you want even more comfort.

“The best thing about the ice is the diamond texture that enhances grip. This makes it the ideal choice for all those readers who like to ride without gloves, because even if you sweat a little, the steering wheel stays in place. Your hands also feel safe with gloves on. It is also very effective in the rain because it simply provides a better grip than most conventional handlebars. “It’s not too expensive either. There are cheaper bands but in terms of performance, grip and soft padding, this is a very good choice. 

Read the review of the Prologo Onetouch Bar Tape

Things to know about handlebar tape

Modern handlebars are a wonderful thing, bringing comfort to your hands; more or less gripping surface depending on your preference (though as you can see in our recommendations, our testers mostly liked their tapes to be as grippy as possible); and lots of colors and finishes so you can achieve exactly the look you want. 

Materials

ENVE Handlebar Tape RCCR-1

The handlebars are made from quite diverse materials, with many variations in details; It is the materials and the way they are used that will determine how the tape feels in your hand. Adhesive tapes can be made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), poly(ethylene-vinyl acetate) foam (EVA), polyurethane (PU), polyester microfiber, silicone or leather, often mixed and bonded to achieve the feel of the tapes. desired designer. . For example, Brooks Cambium rubber band has a polyurethane coating on top of a polyester and EVA blend, while cork tape combines small pieces of cork with an EVA matrix (an idea confirmed by Antonio Colombo by Cinelli). You may also come across the abbreviation TNT, which stands for the Italian Tessuto Non Tessuto. This indicates that there is a nonwoven fabric somewhere in the mix and not your handlebars that are at risk of coming apart. If you’re old, you can still buy Velox edge tape for just £2 each (external link) and still have moisture-free Benotto edge tape (external link).

Silicone tape is the newest addition to your bar wrap options, and it’s quickly becoming hugely popular. Silicone is a synthetic polymer whose molecular framework is made up of silicon and oxygen atoms (link is external), while more conventional polymers such as polyethylene have a framework made up of carbon atoms. Shaped like a stick of tape, is sticky, easy to clean and can be made in different thicknesses depending on the desired level of cushioning. It is also reusable because its light stickiness allows it to stay in place on the handlebars without the need for the non-stick coating commonly used on other tapes. Silicone bandages are usually more expensive, but if you reuse them just once, you’ll usually break even.

To trace the origins of modern adhesive tape, we have to go back to 1975, when Ermanno and Rosita Alberti founded La Spirale snc, to produce a new type of adhesive tape that Ermanno invented:
Bicycle ribbon. Ermanno’s genius breakthrough was the realization that you can have a thicker handlebar tape than today’s fabric or plastic tapes if you taper the edges so that the overlap of the handlebars is neat, even and not too thick.

La Spirale still manufactures the Bike Ribbon at its small factory in Carate Brianza, north of Milan, where Stefano, son of Ermanno and Rosita now takes the helm. The guys from CyclingTips had an interesting interview with him(link is external) a few years ago. Bike Ribbon uses only all of the materials and finishes listed above, and manufactures adhesive tapes for many other brands. It is safe to say that most of the bands above began life in Carate Brianza. Like many other adhesive tape manufacturers, they also recently introduced silicone adhesive tapes.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office no longer expects inventors to demonstrate that they have “creative genius” when pitching their ideas, acknowledging in the Patents Act of 1952 that inventions can be patented can be the result of “long labor and testing” because as well as the bulb moments. However, if you haven’t seen Marc Abraham’s 2008 film Flash of Genius starring Greg Kinnear, Lauren Graham, and Alan Alda, then I highly recommend you watch it. Intermittent wipers have never been so dramatic. 

Bike Ribbon Gel Pad

Extra padding

Some companies offer gel pads that you can place under the ice for extra cushioning on the fall and on top. 

Finishing tape

In the pack of duct tape you will find several strips of adhesive plastic to hold the tape at the end of the body of the tape. Many of these tapes are really useless and it’s best to use good quality electrical tape (I like Nitto’s). Enve and Wolf Tooth props for their reusable silicone finishing tape. Brooks uses a nice cotton finishing tape that works just as well. 

End plugs

2021 Wolf Tooth Supple Lite Bar Tape end.jpg

Most handlebar tapes have end caps to keep the tape in place at both ends of your handlebars. We prefer forms that use extended mechanics; they tend to stay in place better than plugs that just plug in. However, they tend to be heavier and more expensive: you can pay up to £20 for a pair of self-contained aluminum end caps although you can get very similar items for 5 from Amazon or eBay. 

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Top 10 Best Bar Tapes For Cycling — Get A Comfort boost and make your bike look fresh

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