Best Handlebar Tapes of 2019
|Cinelli Tape Special Edition (Editor's Choice)||Leather, eco-leather, cotton, polyfoam, EVA foam, polyurethane, velvet||+||+||1 - 3 mm||39 colors|
|Lizard Skins Bar Tape||Polymer||+||+||3.2 mm||28 colors|
|Fizik Performance Bicycle Bar Tape||Synthetic||+||2, 2.5, 3 mm||20 colors|
|KINGOU Road Bike Tape||EVA foam||+||2.8 mm||10 colors|
|Planet Bike Comfort Cork Tape||Cork||-||-||3 mm||16 colors|
1. Cinelli Tape Special Edition – Best Design
The Cinelli Special Edition Handlebar Tape stands out from the rest. The artwork on this tape is unique and exclusive.
Mike giant is the designer of the artwork, and it’s a reflection of his interpretation of vintage tattoo designs.
The Cinelli Special Edition Handlebar Tape doesn’t just look good. It feels great too. The tackiness of this tape is just the right amount to provide a good grip without your hands feeling stuck.
Since this tape comes with two eight feet rolls, it should be enough tape to create bullhorns on your bike.
This Cinelli Special Edition Handlebar Tape comes with two matching end caps.
High-Quality Cool Look
We cannot overstate the quality of this handlebar tape. The adhesive on the back of this tape helps make wrapping your handlebars a simple task.
This handlebar tape provides comfort, stability, and design without breaking your bank. The cool design of this tape looks professional and catches the eye.
If you want to show off your style and personality, you can’t go wrong with this Cinelli Special Edition Handlebar Tape. Priced at just under $40, it is well worth the money.
This handlebar tape should last you a long time.
One downside to this handlebar tape is there could be a learning curve if you’ve never wrapped handlebar tape around your handlebars before. This tape doesn’t have much stretch, so wrapping it around your handlebars can be difficult.
Also, since this tape has elaborate designs on it, you must wrap this tape in a specific direction. If you don’t, the artwork will not show.
Overall, we recommend buying this Cinelli Special Edition Handlebar Tape.
2. Lizard Skins Bar Tape – Best Grip
This Lizard Skins Tape is the thickest handlebar tape ever offered by Lizard Skins. This tape comes with two end plugs, and it provides a very comfortable grip.
This handlebar tape comes in a wide variety of colors and designs. Many of the color shades can be seen at night.
Comfort at an Affordable Price
Gripping this handlebar tape can feel like gripping pillows. If you are used to gripping cork tape, you should feel a noticeable difference.
This handlebar tape is very shock absorbent. You may find it easier to ride longer distances without growing tired or feeling pressure in your hands or wrists when using this tape.
Where this handlebar tape really shines, however, is in its performance on rainy days. This handlebar tape should still provide you with a good grip even when you’re trapped in a rainstorm.
This comfortable Lizard Skins tape costs just around $40, and it is made in the United States of America (USA).
One downside of this handlebar tape is its durability. Though this handlebar tape provides superior comfort, it doesn’t last long.
This handlebar tape not only wears down fast but also, it can be hard to clean. Still, this is good handlebar tape, especially if comfort is your priority.
We recommend this Lizard Skins handlebar tape for its comfortable grip.
3. Fizik Performance Bicycle Bar Tape – Best Variety
This Fizik Performance Bicycle Bar Tape comes in a variety of styles and colors. This variety gives you the option to customize the tape to your exact needs.
The “Standard” bar tape is 2 millimeters (mm) thick, and it has a smooth and comfortable grip. It’s made of Microtex material, and it is very lightweight.
The “Classic” style is also 2mm thick, and it is also made from Microtex material. This style of Fizik tape has a “leathery” feel that feels like synthetic leather.
The “Soft” style of this Fizik handlebar tape comes in three sizes: 2 mm thick, 2.5 mm thick, and 3 mm thick. This style of the Fizik handlebar tape is washable and very durable. It is also lightweight and feels like a cushion.
The “Superlight” version of this Fizik handlebar tape is 2 mm thick, and it is also washable. This style of Fizik bar tape is also breathable and designed to last.
The “Superlight Glossy” style of tape is 2 mm thick. It’s made of Microtex material. This style of Fizik tape is stretch resistant and durable.
The “Tacky” style of this tape also comes in three sizes: 2 mm, 2.5 mm, and 3 mm. This style of Fizik tape has a tackier grip than the “Classic” and “Superlight” styles. This Fizik style of tape has a “gummy” feel.
Stays Clean and Easy to Install
One thing you may love about this Fizik handlebar tape is how easy it is to install.
This Fizik Performance Bicycle Bar Tape is easy to install because there’s a wide adhesive on its back. The adhesive on the back of this tape helps keep it flat as you wrap it around your handlebars.
Cleaning this handlebar tape is easy because it doesn’t move or unwrap while you clean it. This handlebar tape is also easy to keep clean because it doesn’t attract much dirt.
One downside of this handlebar tape is its length. This handlebar tape is short, so if you have bigger handlebars or want to make bullhorns, you will have to buy more than one of this tape.
The price of this handlebar tape varies from about $20 to $50, with the average price being around $35.
This handlebar tape comes in a variety of bright colors that are easy to see at night. This Fizik Performance Bicycle Bar Tape ranges in thickness from 2 mm to 3 mm, and the diverse style options allow you to customize your tape to your specific needs.
If you want a smooth grip, then we recommend buying either the “Standard” or the “Classic” style of tape.
If you want a tackier grip that is more secure, then we recommend buying the “Tacky” style of tape.
If a comfortable grip is most important to you, then we recommend buying the “Soft” tape style.
If you need to maneuver your bike easily on city streets, then we recommend buying one of the “Superlight” styles of tape. The reason the “Superlight” tapes may be best for city bikers is because of their light weight.
These tape styles add nearly zero weight to the bikes they’re on, and since these “Superlight” tapes add very little weight to the bikes they’re on, they have less of an effect on the agility and performance of bike compared to heavier handlebar tapes.
4. KINGOU Road Bike Tape – Best Value
This stable anti-slip handlebar tape comes with two bar ends. It is made from EVA foam material, and comes in ten colors. The KINGOU EVA Road Bike Handlebar Tape absorbs water and has a comfortable touch.
The thickness of this handlebar tape is 2.8 mm thick, and it has a width of 30 mm. The length of this tape is 2000 mm.
This handlebar tape doesn’t have any adhesive but it is still easy to install. You just have to use more strength when wrapping it around your handlebars. The extra strength will make sure the tape is wrapped tight enough to not unravel.
There should not be a gap when you wrap this handlebar tape.
Great Wrap Better Value
This affordable handlebar tape wraps well, and it is long enough to use on drop handlebars.
This KINGU EVA Road Bike Handlebar Tape can be secured to your handlebars with electrician’s tape on top.
This handlebar tape does not have small holes in it, but it still provides a good grip. This handlebar tape is textured so that you can still have a good grip on this tape even when you’re sweaty.
This handlebar tape can even be effective in the rain. The water-absorbent feature of this handlebar tape can keep your hands from slipping when your hands or your handlebars are wet.
Though this handlebar tape is good, it does have some flaws. For starters, the end plugs that come with this handlebar tape isn’t very visually appealing. The second downside to this handlebar tape is its durability. This handlebar tape does not last long.
However, since this handlebar tape is very inexpensive, its lack of durability may not be a problem for you.
We recommend this KINGOU EVA Road Bike Handlebar Tape. Priced at just over $7, this handlebar tape is an inexpensive alternative to pricier handlebar tapes; but despite its affordable price, this is some good tape.
This quality handlebar tape stays in place, and when it i wrapped correctly, it looks great.
Despite its thickness, this handlebar tape still somehow manages to be lightweight, so the maneuverability of your bike shouldn’t be affected by the weight of this tape.
5. Planet Bike Comfort Cork Tape – Best Gel Tape
This water-resistant Planet Bike Comfort Cork Handlebar Tape has UV-protected colors and becomes “tacky” when it is wet. When this handlebar tape is tacky, it improves your grip.
This soft handlebar tape is durable, and it is constructed with gel. The colors of this tape are fade-resistant, and there are 16 colors to choose from.
This easy-to-install handlebar tape has a simple design, but its vivid colors are eye-catching.
Long lasting and Easy to Clean
This long handlebar tape has a comfortable grip and looks good when it is wrapped well. This long handlebar tape can cover both of your handlebars.
This Planet Bike Comfort Gel Handlebar Tape is very easy to install, and it comes with everything you need in the box.
This tape can get dirty quite quickly, especially the white tape, but it is easy to clean.
This handlebar tape can last you a while, and it has thicker padding for a better grip.
One thing to consider before buying this handlebar tape is certain colors fade more than other colors. The red tape, for example, fades much faster than many of the other colors.
We recommend this Planet Bike handlebar tape. Priced at just under $15, this handlebar tape is well worth its money. It lasts a long time. It’s easy to install, and it’s easy to clean.
If you want handlebar tape that is both affordable and works well, then the Planet Bike Comfort Gel Handlebar Tape may be the best tape for you.
Why Buy Handlebar Tape?
Comfort is not the only reason you should buy handlebar tape. Handlebar tape can also make your bike riding experience more safe.
Handlebar tape helps you grip your handlebars more securely. As you ride your bike, you are likely to increase your body temperature. Your increased body temperature will likely cause you to sweat.
As you sweat, your grip on your bike can become less secure. This could lead to an accident or you falling off of your bike.
Handlebar tape can make your bike riding experience more safe because it can prevent your hands from slipping when they are sweaty.
You may also want to buy handlebar tape if you want to improve your bike riding performance.
Good handlebar tape can improve your riding performance because it is designed to take away some of the shock that comes with riding your bike on city streets and dirt roads.
This shock absorption feature of handlebar tape can protect your hands, shoulders, wrists, and elbows from inflammation.
If the shock isn’t absorbed well while you are riding your bike, your joints can get inflamed.
Handlebar tape can also keep your ride more safe if you’re caught in the rain. As the rain falls on you and your bike, your handlebars will become more slippery.
If you have handlebar tape on your handlebars, then your grip on your bike may not be as affected by the rain. The stronger grip could prevent you from falling or having a serious accident.
Who Should Buy Handlebar Tape?
Anyone who wants to improve their bike riding performance or increase their safety should consider buying handlebar tape.
Handlebar tape is an inexpensive way to increase your handlebar grip and decrease your risk of joint inflammation.
Handlebar tape also comes in a variety of bright colors. These bright colors can not only help personalize your bike but also increase your visibility at night. This increased visibility can help prevent you from being hit by a vehicle.
Why Choose the Right Handlebar Tape?
It’s important you choose the right handlebar tape if you want to get the full benefits of using handlebar tape. Handlebars come in different shapes and sizes.
To get the full benefits of handlebar tape, it’s important to get handlebar tape that is the right length, thickness, and density for your needs.
Things to Consider before Buying Handlebar Tape
There are some things you may want to think about before buying handlebar tape.
- Is the handlebar tape made out of the right materials for your needs?
- Do you like the feel of the materials the handlebar tape is made out of?
- Does the color of the handlebar tape match the color and design scheme of your bike?
- Can the color of the tape help your visibility at night or harm it?
- Is the thickness of the tape comfortable for your hands?
- How shock-absorbent is the handlebar tape?
- Is the handlebar tape slippery when wet?
- For how long do you plan on using the handlebar tape?
- Do you want an adhesive backing on your handlebar tape?
- Do you want to make bullhorns using your handlebar tape?
- How are your handlebars designed? Are they long? Are they drop handlebars?
- How do you usually use your bike?
The answers to these questions will determine which handlebar tape is best for you.
Types of Handlebar Tape Materials
Cork is a popular handlebar material. Cork tape is also referred to as synthetic sometimes due to it usually being a blend of cork and ethylene vinyl acetate.
Cork tape tends to be more expensive than many of the other tape materials, but it has great features.
If having shock-absorbent handlebar tape is important to you, then you may prefer handlebar tape made out of cork because this is one of the most shock-absorbent materials for handlebar tape.
Cork tape is also very water-resistant. If you ride your bike long distances or if you live in a rainy climate, then you may like cork tape for its water-resistant properties.
Even though cork tape has great features, it also has a few downsides. Cork tape has to be stretched cautiously when you’re wrapping it around your handlebars because cork tape tends to unravel easily.
If you’re new to wrapping handlebars, then this flaw in cork tape can make it hard for you to install it on your bike.
Cork tape, however, does usually have an adhesive backing, and this adhesive backing can help you in the installation process.
Leather handlebar tape looks and feels great, but it’s usually expensive. However, if the look and feel of your handlebar tape are most important to you, then leather handlebar tape may be worth the cost to you.
Cotton Handlebar Tape
Cotton handlebar tape is very affordable, but it’s hard to find. Cotton handlebar tape usually has an adhesive backing to make the wrapping process easier.
Multiple coats of shellac are often applied to cotton handlebar tape to protect the material and prevent it from unwrapping.
Gel Handlebar Tape
Gel is commonly used in the core of handlebar tape because it provides extra cushioning.
Gel is also used as a material in handlebar tape because it tends to become tacky when it’s wet. This feature can help the grip of handlebar tape be resistant to water and sweat.
Some handlebar tapes with a gel core have a smoother texture. These handlebar tapes can have the opposite effect of some gel handlebar tapes, and they can be slippery when wet rather than tacky.
It’s important when buying gel handlebar tape to make sure it has an outer material that is either textured or water-resistant. Doing so can help you prevent an injury while you’re riding your bike in the rain or while sweating.
Foam Handlebar Tape
Foam is also added to handlebar tape to help it feel more comfortable while riding. Foam is usually an inexpensive material, so handlebar tape with a foam core can be on the more affordable side of the handlebar tape price spectrum.
Foam handlebar tape can often be water-resistant. This feature can help be helpful while you’re riding your bike long distances and sweating. This feature can also be helpful if you ever have to ride your bike in the rain.
Handlebar Tape Color
Handlebar tape comes in a wide variety of colors and designs, and if the aesthetics of your bike matter to you, then it’s important that you choose the color and design of your handlebar tape carefully.
Some handlebar tape colors fade faster than others. For example, colors that are a shade of red or burgundy tend to fade the fastest.
Some handlebar tape colors are designed to resist fading. This is a great feature to look out for if the appearance of your handlebar tape is important to you.
If you ride your bike at night or on the road, we suggest buying handlebar tape that is bright or neon-colored. Bright or neon-colored handlebar tape can potentially increase your visibility and prevent you from being hit by a car.
The downside of brighter or lighter colors, however, is that they tend to fade faster. Lighter colors also get dirty faster. If you choose to buy light-colored handlebar tape, then it’s important that it’s easy to clean.
Some handlebar tapes can lose their grip and unravel when they are cleaned. This handlebar tape flaw can cost you in both time and money, so make sure you buy durable handlebar tape that is easy to clean. It’ll likely be worth its extra price in the long run.
Handlebar Tape Thickness
How thick handlebar tape is can affect how comfortable it is to grip and how shock-absorbent it is. Thicker handlebar tape may be best for you if you have larger hands. Thicker handlebar tape may also be best for you if you frequently ride your bike on city roads, especially roads that aren’t well maintained.
The reason thicker handlebar tape can be better for city riders is because the extra padding in thicker handlebar tape absorbs more shock.
A downside to thicker handlebar tape is it can be harder to wrap.
Thinner handlebar tape, on the other hand, may be the best choice for you if you have small hands. Thinner handlebar tape may also be a great choice for you if you like to layer your handlebar tape.
If you don’t like taking your old handlebar tape off when adding on new tape, then you may want to buy a thinner handlebar tape.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How often should handlebar tape be replaced?
A: How often you should replace your handlebar tape depends on how much you ride your bike, how often you leave it outside, the quality of your handlebar tape, and the color of your handlebar tape.
If you ride your bike more often or leave it outside frequently, then you may need to replace your handlebar tape regularly. Handlebar tape that is lighter in color may also need to be replaced frequently.
We recommend replacing your handlebar tape at least once a year, but lower quality handlebar tape will likely need to be replaced on a more frequently.
Q: How much tape is needed for drop bars?
A: It depends, but buying one pack of handlebar tape is usually enough. Two rolls of handlebar tape are usually sold at a time, and only one roll of tape is usually needed per handlebar.
Handlebar tape is a useful accessory for your bike. It can improve your bike riding performance and take pressure off of your hands, wrists, and elbows.
Handlebar tape can also be useful while riding your bike in the rain, especially if you buy water-resistant handlebar tape.
We hope you have found our review of the best handlebar tapes helpful. Review our buyer’s guide and comparison table before buying handlebar tape to make sure you buy the best tape for your needs.
Remember, the Cinelli Special Edition Handlebar Tape has a great design that helps it stand out from the rest. It also has an adhesive backing, and it is long enough to create bullhorns.
The Lizard Skins Tape is comfortable, and it’s also easy to wrap.
The Fizik Performance Bicycle Bar Tape is the most customizable to your needs. It comes in multiple sizes and six styles, so you don’t have to settle for anything less than what you want.
The KINGOU EVA Road Bike Handlebar Tape is the best value tape on our list. If you’re shopping on a budget, then this may be the best handlebar tape for you.
The Planet Bike Comfort Cork Handlebar Tape is arguably the most durable handlebar tape on our list. It is also very affordable.