三九电影网Cyclists are perhaps more intimate with bar tape than we’d like to admit. After all, it covers two of the five contact points you have with your bike, meaning the typical cyclist spends at least 10 hours a week holding onto it. That’s a lot. Quality bar tape is essential for comfort and control, especially at high speeds and in tricky corners. Plus, a newly wrapped handlebar is one surefire way to make your bike look and feel refreshed.
Check out quick info on five of the best below, then keep reading for more options and buying advice.
How to Wrap Your Handlebar
Aspects of Bar Tape to Consider
Material: Bar tape comes in various materials, the most popular of which are synthetic, leather, and cork. The synthetic materials generally consist of polyurethane, nylon, or silicone, with a foam or gel core. These are generally very durable options, and specifically designed to feel a bit more tacky under your hands, even though rain or sweat. Leather tape can be tricky to wrap, as it’s relatively stiff and lacking in cushioning (what you’d expect from leather) but once you break it in, it’s a bit softer to the touch and very sharp looking. Finally, cork is soft and cushioned, and a little on the thicker side, but tends to absorb sweat and dirt.
Thickness: Traditionally, bike racers prefer thinner tape (1 to 2mm), which offers more direct connection and input response to the bike. This category includes most leather and cork bar tapes, as well as plenty of synthetic options. As gravel rides and other off-road drop-bar adventures become more popular, the options for thicker, more shock-absorbent bar tape has increased. Companies such as Specialized, Silca, and Blackburn are designing thicker, multi-layered tapes that offer better grip and sweat absorption. These are also great for absorbing the bumps and bounces that go with road and gravel riding. A comfort-oriented bar tape will usually be somewhere in the range of 2.5 to 3.2mm thick. And one option in this list, the Specialized Body Geometry Bar Phat, is a handlebar-specific gel insert that offers a whopping 4.5mm of extra cushioning.
Backing: Most tapes have either an adhesive or sticky gel strip on the back to keep them from shifting as you ride. The gel option generally offers a little bit more damping than the adhesive, but the adhesive kind is best at staying put all season.
How We Tested
三九电影网Most of the bar tapes on this list were nominated by test editors who have experience using them in a variety of conditions—hot and cold temps, wet and dry weather. The rest made the list based on user reviews, research, and how they compare to similar products. Here are a few of our favorite options of synthetic and cork tapes with a range of thicknesses.
Deda’s Elementi is your little black dress of bar wraps—it’s inexpensive, functional, and does the job. The smooth face is easy to wipe clean, and we like its soft feel under our hands. Deda includes bar plugs and two short pieces of tape to fit under your shifters. The stretchy, perforated synthetic leather wraps smoothly. This is a less vibration-absorbing option than some of the other wraps, but the price is hard to beat. Deda offers multiple flavors to match any color scheme you might have in mind (including fluorescents), while the understated logos keep the look clean. The soft material wears quickly, so if you’re putting in long miles, you may need to rewrap your bar more frequently.
Supacaz Super Sticky Kush Classic
You might hear the term “Super Sticky Kush” and think of something entirely unrelated to cycling and bike parts. Regardless, we can assure you the 3mm wrap feels right at home on any road bike. It’s one of the longer-lasting tapes we’ve tested, and it stays grippy even when your hands are sweating mid-race. That “kushy” under layer absorbs road buzz adequately. With an assortment of colors from simple to flashy, you’ll to find something to match your style. Added bonus: It comes with screw-in aluminum bar plugs.
Specialized Body Geometry Bar Phat with Tape
If your rides tend to take you off the pavement, the Specialized Bar Phat might be the upgrade you didn’t know you needed. The 4.5mm adhesive pads stick to your handlebar to give you a whole lot more cushioning, and only where you need it—they’re designed to cover the tops, drops, and nothing else, so you’re not adding much extra bulk. You can also trim the pads with scissors to fit your specific needs, or pull them off and reuse them. Specialized says they reduce hand pressure by 50 percent, which is a huge margin (and a godsend if you’re gearing up for DK200).
Fizik Tempo Bondcush Soft
At 3mm thick, the Tempo Bondcush is Fizik’s most padded option. It’s comfortable and durable, made of a polymer foam bonded to a microtex outer layer. It will lessen the discomfort caused by road buzz and last a couple of seasons longer than some of the more affordable options on this list. The outer layer is soft and moisture-absorbing, with a matte finish. It comes in classic black, as well as bold yellow, green, red, and orange.
Silca Nastro Fiore
三九电影网This tape is made from a proprietary material that Silca created by blending a few of its in-house synthetics. The result is a soft, more comfortable feel, better grip in wet and dry conditions, and improved vibration isolation and durability. It’s 2.5mm thick, and the company claims it’s as comfortable as 3.2mm-thick tape made of other materials. Testers said it was a bit difficult to wrap because of the lack of stretchiness, but once it’s on, it’s worth the struggle. Like everything Silca does, this tape is made with ridiculous attention to detail and classy execution.
Simple and classic, Cinelli Cork gets the job done. It’s a long-time favorite for many riders due to its simplicity. The cork absorbs sweat on hot days and offers a padded feel under the hands. It’ll also dampen road vibrations, though maybe not enough for full-on gravel jaunts三九电影网. One downside: The natural material is more difficult to clean than some of the synthetic alternatives, and it can tear and fray under heavy use. Similarly to the Deda tape, you may find you have to wrap your bar regularly. But we like the low price and many options. Is your favorite color light blue? Cinelli has a cork wrap for that. Bar plugs and finishing strips are also included.
Arundel Rubber Gecko
Easy to clean and on the hands, Arundel’s Rubber Gecko combines EVA foam and ventilated polyurethane for a comfortable grip. The textured surface helps keep your hands on the bar, even in hot or wet weather. It’s also durable and works well for all your on- and off-road adventures. And it cleans up well with soap and water. Arundel provides traditional bar plugs to keep things tidy, and the Rubber Gecko tape wraps smoothly and tends to resist water. Basic black works with every frame color, so no need to worry about whether it matches.
ESIgrips RCT Wrap
RCT stands for “Road, Cyclocross, Triathlon,” the disciplines this tape is designed to perform best for. It’s stretchy, so depending on how tight you wrap it, you can customize the thickness of your handlebar cushioning. It’s 100 percent silicone, which is non-porous (meaning it won’t collect dirt or absorb sweat) and washable. Our staff mechanic has had this tape on every road bike he’s ever owned because he loves the tacky feel of this long-lasting wrap. It’s also a great one if you’re wrapping your bars yourself for the first time—since there’s no glue backing, you can redo it as many times as you need to get it just right.
This multicolored tape is made of bright, silky threads that are sure to turn some heads and get you compliments on the group ride. With over 120 color and pattern options, there’s definitely a style that will suit your setup. The fabric is lined with sticky silicone dots on the outside that enhance grip, and beneath the woven fabric is high-density EVA foam for a bit more cushioning. The tape is relatively thin—it varies from 1.5 mm to 2mm, based on the pattern. All BTP woven tape comes with two end caps and black finishing tape. If you’re really into the woven stuff, also check out (we like the taco print).
Zipp Service Course CX Bar Tape
Designed and intended for cyclocross riders, this tape has extra stickiness and grip you’d want in a muddy, wet ’cross race. The exterior is etched with a tight cross-hatching pattern that makes an excellent nonslip surface for any ride, whether you’re wearing gloves or not. It comes with carbon fiber bar ends and is subtly embossed with the Zipp logo.
If you like to head off the beaten track, Blackburn’s Cinch might be the ideal option for you. The 3.1mm gel-backed tape is super cushioned and features a textured surface that looks similar to a topographical map. It’s designed to provide a grippy contact point, even if you don’t typically wear gloves. We liked the tacky feel and gel padding of the Cinch. Blackburn also includes a bolt-in bar plug with the Cinch, which is said to stay put even on the roughest terrain. Aimed at adventure riders, the grippy Cinch is also a solid option in hot-weather.