Reviews

LAST UPDATED: October 21, 2019

Best Handlebar Tapes: Ride Your Bike Like a Pro

If you want your bike to serve you well, take good care of it. Get top-tier handlebar tape

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The Review Team

  • Product Network

    18 Products

  • Clock

    9 Hours

  • Reviews

    13 Reviews

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PUBLISHED ON October 21, 2019

When it comes to bicycles, the focus is often on the parts that are really noticeable, such as the tires. But there’s one thing we sometimes overlook: the handlebars. If you want your bike to look sharp, you can spruce it up with handlebar tape. We researched numerous options and settled on three of the best.

  • Best Overall
    SRAM Supercork Bicycle Bar Tape
    SRAM Supercork Bicycle Bar Tape
    Summary
    Summary
    This tape gives you two vital things when you ride: good grip and comfort. It has an adhesive to secure it and looks really professional.
    Pros
    Pros
    It is designed to tightly fit on handlebars. It's also great for pinpoint turn control, thanks to its vinyl material, which offers a good grip. It stays in place even when exposed to water. 
    Cons
    Cons
    It is highly vulnerable to stains. It’s also not long enough to cover an entire handlebar.
  • Best Overall
    SRAM Supercork Bicycle Bar Tape
    SRAM Supercork Bicycle Bar Tape
  • Best Value
    Cinelli Cork Handlebar Tape
    Cinelli Cork Handlebar Tape
    Summary
    Summary
    The Cinelli handlebar tape brings color into the thrill of cycling with its wide range of handlebar tapes in various hues. It is also easy to install.
    Pros
    Pros
    It absorbs sweat and remains highly functional on both hot and wet days. Its adhesive secures really well to the handlebars. Its ample padding and vibration reduction make for a comfy ride.
    Cons
    Cons
    The material makes it quite difficult to clean. If you ride your bike frequently or on rough terrain, it can easily get torn.
  • Best Value
    Cinelli Cork Handlebar Tape
    Cinelli Cork Handlebar Tape
  • Honorable Mention
    Fizik Performance Bicycle Bar Tape
    Fizik Performance Bicycle Bar Tape
    Summary
    Summary
    This tape comes with bar end plugs to keep it in place. It also features a sticky strip that grips the bar as you wrap it—if you miss a spot, you can undo and re-wrap it.
    Pros
    Pros
    The microtex material makes sure you get the best grip for a long time. It also makes the tape easy to clean. The tape’s smooth surface makes it wrist-friendly, and you can ride comfortably. It is also ultra-thin for a snug fit.
    Cons
    Cons
    The tape is not grippy, and your hands will slide whether you wear gloves or not. It's also quite stiff, and you’ll have to pull tightly for it to look neat.
  • Honorable Mention
    Fizik Performance Bicycle Bar Tape
    Fizik Performance Bicycle Bar Tape

    When it comes to bicycles, the focus is often on the parts that are really noticeable, such as the tires. But there’s one thing we sometimes overlook: the handlebars. If you want your bike to look sharp, you can spruce it up with handlebar tape. We researched numerous options and settled on three of the best.

    Best Overall

    This bike bar tape provides excellent grip as well as a comfortable ride. The polyurethane tape is embedded with cork for superior grip and cushioning. The SRAM logo is embedded throughout the Supercork bicycle bar tape. It comes with handlebar end plugs and finishing tape. It is available in six color options: yellow, black, blue, pink, red, and white. This handlebar tape is lightweight, and the adhesive is extremely durable and long lasting. It is a professional tape designed to tightly fit on most handlebars. The vinyl material is great for pinpoint turn control, which offers an excellent grip. The tape will also stay in place when exposed to water or during rainy conditions. One downside is that it is highly vulnerable to stains.

    Best Value

    The Cinelli Cork Handlebar Tape is a great deal. This product is available as a value two pack with two self-adhesive tape rolls. The Cinelli handlebar tape comes in a wide range of color options and patterns, ranging from black to camouflage to the Italian flag. It's extremely easy to install and includes enough tape to wrap around one handlebar. Cinelli end caps and finishing strips are included with each purchase. The Vibra-Absorb gel layer on the innter tape surface provides great vibration dampening while riding as well as enough padding for a comfortable ride. The tape is designed to absorb sweat and moisture so it stays highly functional even on humid or wet days. 

    Honorable Mention

    The Fizik Performance Bicycle Bar Tape is available in five different styles, including classic, super light, soft, tacky, and super light glossy. It also comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns, ranging from apple green to metal blue. This diverse handlebar tape is ideal for riding in a variety of conditions, including pavement, off-road, and triathlons. The tape comes with handlebar end plugs to keep it securely in place while riding. A sticky strip grips the bar as you wrap it and is extremely easy to install. This product is designed to fit most bicycle handlebars. It is made from a microtex material, ensuring you get a supreme, long-lasting grip. The smooth surface of this tape is very easy to clean compared to other products on the market. Its ultra-thin, 2mm thickness provides a snug fit.

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    Best Overall
    SRAM Supercork Bicycle Bar Tape

    This bike bar tape provides excellent grip as well as a comfortable ride. The polyurethane tape is embedded with cork for superior grip and cushioning. The SRAM logo is embedded throughout the Supercork bicycle bar tape. It comes with handlebar end plugs and finishing tape. It is available in six color options: yellow, black, blue, pink, red, and white. This handlebar tape is lightweight, and the adhesive is extremely durable and long lasting. It is a professional tape designed to tightly fit on most handlebars. The vinyl material is great for pinpoint turn control, which offers an excellent grip. The tape will also stay in place when exposed to water or during rainy conditions. One downside is that it is highly vulnerable to stains.

    Best Value
    Cinelli Cork Handlebar Tape

    The Cinelli Cork Handlebar Tape is a great deal. This product is available as a value two pack with two self-adhesive tape rolls. The Cinelli handlebar tape comes in a wide range of color options and patterns, ranging from black to camouflage to the Italian flag. It's extremely easy to install and includes enough tape to wrap around one handlebar. Cinelli end caps and finishing strips are included with each purchase. The Vibra-Absorb gel layer on the innter tape surface provides great vibration dampening while riding as well as enough padding for a comfortable ride. The tape is designed to absorb sweat and moisture so it stays highly functional even on humid or wet days. 

    Honorable Mention
    Fizik Performance Bicycle Bar Tape

    The Fizik Performance Bicycle Bar Tape is available in five different styles, including classic, super light, soft, tacky, and super light glossy. It also comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns, ranging from apple green to metal blue. This diverse handlebar tape is ideal for riding in a variety of conditions, including pavement, off-road, and triathlons. The tape comes with handlebar end plugs to keep it securely in place while riding. A sticky strip grips the bar as you wrap it and is extremely easy to install. This product is designed to fit most bicycle handlebars. It is made from a microtex material, ensuring you get a supreme, long-lasting grip. The smooth surface of this tape is very easy to clean compared to other products on the market. Its ultra-thin, 2mm thickness provides a snug fit.

    Tips

    • When you buy handlebar tape, get several pieces. A lot of handlebar tape manufacturers provide multiple color options to fit your specific needs and preferences. 
    • Be careful not to overstretch the tape during installation. Overstretching compromises the thickness of the tape, greatly reducing its durability. And if the tape is thin, it is more likely to tear.
    • Handlebar tape is susceptible to dirt. It is advisable to select colors that hide dirt. But if you pick a material that is easy to clean, you can improve your bike’s visibility. 

    FAQs

    Q: Which is the best handlebar tape?

    A: The best handlebar tape for your bike is determined by your cycling needs. If you typically cycle in gravel or off road, the handlebar tape will need to be cushioned so it is kind to your hands and dampens vibrations. 

    Q: When do I need to replace my handlebar tape?

    A: Handlebars get plenty of contacts. For this reason, handlebar tape is likely to wear out very fast. If you notice your handlebars getting slippery even in dry conditions—when they were previously snug—it may be time to replace the tape. 

    Q: Is expensive handlebar tape better than other tapes?

    A: Handlebar tape comes with varying features. Many tapes on the higher end of the price spectrum have features that set them apart, like vibration dampening, extra padding, and bar end plugs. However, handlebar tape can be both functional and affordable. 

    Final Thoughts

    If you are looking for handlebar tape that will withstand frequent use, you will love the SRAM Supercork Bicycle Bar Tape. But if you want one that combines affordability and functionality, the classic Cinelli Cork Handlebar Tape is a great alternative.