Handlebar Tapes : The 9 Most Comfortable Bar Tapes for Road, Touring, and Gravel

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best handlebar tape

Get your hands on the best handlebar tape!
The 9 most comfortable bar tapes for road bike, touring, gravel, bikepacking.

The coolest drop-bar grip tape from thin to thick, reviewed!

When it comes to perfect handling and enhanced stability while riding a bike, there are various factors to consider, like wheel size, brakes, traction, etc. But, only the most dedicated cyclists would know that it is equally essential to equip your bike drop handles with the best handlebar tape. Why?

Well, there are a plethora of reasons to upgrade your handlebars with the best bar tape, here are a few:

  • Shock absorption
  • Excellent grip over the handles
  • Enhanced comfort level
  • Improves aesthetics

Other than these features, getting a cool bar tape also makes your bike look a bit unique. The most comfortable bar tapes come in various materials of varying thicknesses that can provide your bike a customized look along with utility.

All of these points are enough to convince you that if you are a cyclist, you are in dire need of the best road bike grip tape. So, here are some of the most interesting products you should consider before making your final pick.

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How we compile our gear guides: during the almost 10 years of cycloscope.net our team personally tested dozens of similar pieces of gear. For what we can't test personally, we involve other people in the cycling community to give their feedback and opinion about gear they have used. Our decade-long experience in bicycle touring enables us to find the key cons and pros of every product we mention.

best road bike bar tape

The Best Handlebar Tape in a Nutshell



The 9 Best Road & Gravel Bike Handlebar Tapes


1. Supacaz Super Sticky Kush Star Fade Handlebar Tape

World’s #1 selling bar tape

Handlebar Tapes : The 9 Most Comfortable Bar Tapes for Road, Touring, and Gravel 2

SPECS

  • Color: 26 different options, from 29USD for the classic black tape.
  • Material: PU + nano amount of foam.
  • Package Contents: 2-Super Sticky Kush tape rolls. 2-Aluminum Laser Etched Powder Coated Star Plugz. 2-High End Rubberized Finish Tapes.
  • Thickness: 3 mm
  • Length: 2160mm
  • Width: 30mm


This is one of the best handlebar tapes on the market, chosen by several professionals, including Peter Sagan. It is super comfortable and looks great, it doesn’t matter which one of the numerous color combinations you choose. It is not the cheapest handlebar tape on the list but it is one of the most durable, a good investment worth every penny.

The Supacaz Super Sticky is pretty easy to install, even if it is your first time, just remember that the two rolls exhibit mirror-image characteristics. This means that the color transition between each tape is in the opposite direction, you might notice the color change isn’t perfect. But if you switch sides, it looks great. The tape is super grippy and has a bit of stretch, which is nice when you’re wrapping.


Pros

  • Durable.
  • Grippy, even in wet weather.
  • Shock Absorbent.
  • Resistant to UV rays.

Cons

  • Not very elastic during installation.

2. Brooks England Microfiber

Handlebar Tapes : The 9 Most Comfortable Bar Tapes for Road, Touring, and Gravel 3

SPECS

  • Color: Honey
  • Material: Polyurethane coating, Synthetic Microfiber fabric
  • Thickness: 3 mm
  • Size: OS (One Size)


This aesthetically pleasing bar tape from legendary Brooks is made from a synthetic textile for road bikes or any other drop-bar bike, that makes it stand out from the crowd.

To make it absolutely abrasion and moisture resistant, the tape is coated with Polyurethane. This also enhances its durability.

If we talk about the design, it has a pretty simple dotted design that elevates the hand’s grip over the handle. The comfortable construction makes it one of the best bar tapes for touring.

If you want to get more stylish, you could go for the classic leather handlebar tape by brooks.



Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Moisture resistant
  • Abrasion Resistant

Cons

  • May get dirty in a short time due to light color

3. Lizard skin bar tape

Handlebar Tapes : The 9 Most Comfortable Bar Tapes for Road, Touring, and Gravel 4

SPECS

Color: 10
Material: Polymer
Thickness: 2.5mm



This Made in the USA handlebar tape had a remarkably grippy feel that seems to cling to your hands. The tape also provided a comfortable, cushioned sensation, effectively reduces vibrations, offering a smoother riding experience.

The white version of the Lizard Skin Bar Tape is easy to keep clean compared to other options.

Impressive adhesion, and when wrapped correctly, there’s ample material to cover both handlebars. It proves its durability through extended hours of riding, and the noticeable thickness of 2.5 units truly pays off when you spend extended periods resting on the bars!


4. Domain Cycling Silicone Self Fusing Tape

Handlebar Tapes : The 9 Most Comfortable Bar Tapes for Road, Touring, and Gravel 5

SPECS

  • Color: Black, Blue, Red, White, Yellow, Orange
  • Material: Silicone, Rubber
  • Package Contents: Silicone Tape
  • Length: 10 feet
  • Thickness: 0.5 mm


The aspect that makes this Domain Cycling tape one of the most interesting drop-bar grips is its self-fusing property. The tapes only stick to itself, and once it sticks, it will not unpeel. The cool thing here is that it does not leave any residue like regular bar tape.

It comes in a longer 10 feet variant for wider handlebars and quite a few colors to choose your style and match the bike look.



Pros

  • Self-fusing property
  • It will not leave a sticky residue
  • A number of colors

Cons

  • You cannot reuse it.

5. Cinelli Cork Gel Handlebar Tape

Handlebar Tapes : The 9 Most Comfortable Bar Tapes for Road, Touring, and Gravel 6

SPECS

  • Color: White, Black
  • Material: Gel, Polyurethane, Cork
  • Package Contents: Handlebar tape with two end plugs
  • Heatproof: Yes


With this Cork Gel handlebar tape by Cinelli, you can ride as long as you want without getting tired. The layer of VibraSorb gel provides great comfort with its shock-absorbing property. You can easily wrap it over the handlebar without hassle.

This highly elastic tape is heat-proof up to 60 degrees that makes it ideal for tough climate conditions too.


Pros

  • Shock Absorbent
  • Highly elastic
  • Available in multiple colors

Cons

  • Maybe not the grippiest

6. MARQUE Suede Bike Handlebar Tape

Handlebar Tapes : The 9 Most Comfortable Bar Tapes for Road, Touring, and Gravel 7

SPECS

Color: Urban Camo Gray/Black
Compatible Material: Plastic
Wear-resistant: Yes
Thickness: 2.5 mm
Length: 2000 mm



If you are looking for an all-rounder handlebar tape, then this one from Marque is the best. The smooth to touch and cushiony design of this tape makes it an ideal bar tape for gravel rides and touring.

The lightweight and flexible material excellently adjusts to the contours of the handle. The water-resistant design maintains proper traction and hand grip even when wet.


Pros

  • Shock Absorbent
  • Flexible and lightweight
  • Available in multiple colors
  • Water-resistant

Cons

  • It is not for wide handlebars

7. Fizik Performance, Vento, Tempo, Bicycle Bar Tape

Handlebar Tapes : The 9 Most Comfortable Bar Tapes for Road, Touring, and Gravel 8

SPECS

  • Color: Black, available in many others
  • Material: Microtex
  • Package Contents: 2 Handlebar tapes
  • Thickness: 2 mm
  • Styles available: 4


If you are looking for a handlebar tape that does not increase the gripping surface of the bar, go for this one.

The Fizik handlebar tape is the thinnest handlebar tape in this list, but still pretty comfortable. The perforated leather-like design of the tape provides a smooth touch. Besides, it is made from Microtex fabric that offers superior grip no matter the type of terrain.


Pros

  • Highly durable
  • Excellent and versatile performance
  • Available in Classic, Vento Microtex Tacky, Tacky, and Soft style

Cons

  • Not enough padding for some

8. Zipp Course Bicycle Handlebar Tape

Handlebar Tapes : The 9 Most Comfortable Bar Tapes for Road, Touring, and Gravel 9

SPECS

  • Color: CX Black
  • Material: Cork
  • Package Contents: 2 Handlebar tapes, Oval Z bar-end plugs
  • Length: 1.9 m (each)
  • Non-Slip: Yes


What to expect from the best bicycle handlebar tape? All that this Zipp Handlebar Tape has!! The tape features super thick padding that will never let you know how rough the surface is.

On top of that, a cross-hatch patterned design over the surface will make your hands stick to the tape irrespective of the type of weather. It comes with carbon-fiber bar end plugs.


Pros

  • Non-slip design fit for all weather
  • Patterned surface for traction
  • End plugs for secure fixing

Cons

  • A bit short in length

9. SRAM Supercork Bicycle Bar Tape

Handlebar Tapes : The 9 Most Comfortable Bar Tapes for Road, Touring, and Gravel 10

SPECS

  • Color: 6
  • Material: Synthetic Cork


Let us wrap up this list with another awesome bar tape! This Supercork bicycle bar tape from SRAM has indeed a knurled texture on it that takes traction to another level. The finely crafted curves fix into your hands and prevent slipping while in motion.

Other than this, the Silicone gel backing on the tape prevents road shocks to distract your hands. You can use this tape both with or without gloves.


best bar tape

Handlebar Tape Buyer’s Guide

As you have explored some of the coolest handlebar tapes in the preceding section, it is time for you to make a choice! But wait! It is not over yet.

As there are multiple characteristics in the above-described products, you need to sure about what to look for. So, let us dive into the factors that you need to keep an oversight on while making your final pick.

Thickness: The core feature of the tape that you need to consider is the thickness. This is essential as enough thickness will prevent your hands from getting blisters while riding. The cushioning also prevents sore palms. The most comfortable bar tapes are usually the thickest!

Traction or Grip: The traction offered by the right handle tape is one of the most crucial attributes that you need to check. The better your grip on the handlebar, the best and most comfortable the handling. Check for the knurled or cross-hatch design on the tape surface.

Flexibility: If you are worried about tapes hanging loose from the handlebar, then you need to focus on this aspect. Thinner and more flexible tapes wrap better around the handlebars and are easier to install.

Material: The choice of material affects the comfort level of the tape. Most of the best handlebar tapes are available in cork, rubber, leather, or synthetic material. It depends on you which one you want to choose. If you want to give your bike a luxurious look, go for the cork tape. It will be expensive, though. For better durability and vibration absorption, choose leather tapes. They wear out really slowly. For gel-based cushioning and lightweight design, you can go for the synthetic handlebar tape.

Color: You must be thinking why color is a deciding factor, right? Well, if you go for light-colored taps, the probability of them losing their graceful look will be high. On the other hand, going for dark colors will free you from the hassle of changing the tape after some time.



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