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Handlebars are often overlooked. This critical contact point between the bike and the rider needs some care and love too. Bike bar wraps don’t only protect your handlebars from the element. They also provide that much-needed cushion to protect your hands from fatigue when tackling long and challenging rides.
There are lots of bar wraps to choose from. They come in a myriad of colors. Some are made from plastics, others from cork and leather. Whatever they are made of, no one can deny how important bar wraps are in terms of comfort, grip, and functionality.
Below are our recommendations.
The Best Bar Tape You Should Buy for 2023
VW EVA Handle Bar Wrap
Looking for the best bar wrap? The VW EVA Handlebar Wrap comes with various color options. This bar wrap is made from lightweight and comfortable EVA foam designed to help reduce hand fatigue during long rides.
The VW EVA Handlebar Wrap also comes with premium end plugs that expand inside the handlebar for a perfect, snug fit. You don’t have to worry about falling end plugs at all! This package contains 2 rolls (2000mm long x 30mm wide) of adhesive handlebar wrap with tapered edges, 2 pieces finishing tapes, and 2 premium end plugs.
Do you know what’s even sweeter? This deal comes with a 90-day money-back guarantee just in case you change your mind.
Carbon Fiber Handle Bar Wrap
This high quality product from Mantain is made from EVA foam and Carbon Fiber. The Carbon Fiber Handle Bar Wrap is 2000mm long and 30mm wide. Elastic, comfortable, water proof, shock proof, non-slip, and wear resistant, this bike bar wrap is designed to help reduce fatigue on your hands when tackling these challenges trails.
The Carbon Fiber Handle Bar Wrap is easy to install and can fit most standard bike handlebars. Aside from the bar wrap, the package also comes with a pair of plastic bar plugs made from ABS material.
BV EVA Road Bike Bar Wrap
The BV EVA Road Bike Bar Wrap is made from EVA foam that’s designed to keep your hands comfortable throughout the ride. It has anti-slip properties, is ultra-light, and very durable. This bar wrap can absorb shock and vibrations when riding, effective protecting your hands from fatigue.
This amazing bike bar wrap is also fade, water and UV-resistant. With a 3M adhesive back, installing the BV EVA Road Bike Bar Wrap is a breeze. The package comes with 2 finishing tapes and 2 end plugs.
Domain Cycling Extra Long Gel Bar Wrap
This quality product from Domain Cycling is the longest road bike bar wrap in Amazon! Making this gem of a wrap ideal for those who seem to get enough out of a normal bar wrap. So, how long is this bicycle tape?
The Domain Cycling Extra Long Gel Bar Wrap is 2400mm long and 30mm wide. That means its 400mm longer than what you can find in the market today! In terms of construction, the Domain Cycling Extra Long Gel Bar Wrap is made from an anti-slip polyurethane leather surface lined with EVA foam. Underneath the wrap is a Vex-Gel lining that’s designed to absorb shock and vibrations when riding.
The entire package comes with a finishing tape and handlebar plugs.
Blackburn Cinch Handlebar Tape
The Blackburn Cinch Handlebar Tape features a unique topo map design that helps keep the sweat off your palms and hands when riding. It comes with bolt end handlebar plugs that’s easy to install and remove.
This bar tape sports a 3.2mm thick soft gel backing that helps you ride more comfortably.
Kingou Carbon Fiber and Leather Bar Wrap
The Kingou Carbon Fiber and Leather Bar Wrap is made from high quality PU leather on the surface, lined with EVA Foam. It also comes with a pair of ABS plastic plugs with metal reflective coating.
This bar wrap is breathable. It has anti-slip properties, is sweat absorbant, and boasts high tensile strength. Durable but cushiony, this amazing bar wrap is designed to minimize fatigue on your hands when riding for long periods of time.
The Kingou Carbon Fiber and Leather Bar Wrap is easy to install and comes with various color options. Since it doesn’t have a back adhesive, you can easily rewrap this bar wrap into position.
Cinelli Cork Bar Wrap
The Cinelli Cork Bar Wrap was first introduced in 1987 and remains a favorite among bikers up to now. This award-winning handblebar wrap is made from cork and polyurethane that provides excellent vibration and shock dampening.
The entire package contains 2 self-adhesive rolls of Cinelli Cork Bar Wrap and a pair of Cinelli end caps. There are lots of colours to choose from.
SRAM Supercork Bar Wrap
The SRAM Supercork Bar Wrap is a crowd favorite. With raving reviews, this bicycle wrap is made from light, durable, and high quality polyurethane embedded with cork for superior grip and cushion. The SRAM Supercork Bar Wrap comes with a 3M adhesive on the back with the SRAM logo embossed throughout the wrap’s length.
This package comes with 2 rolls of bike wrap, a finishing tape, and a pair of end plugs.
Domain Cycling Silicone Bar Wrap
Another quality product form Domain Cycling, this bar wrap features a self-fusing silicone wrap that’s 10 feet long! Works best as a finishing tape, this bar wrap don’t have any adhesive. It only sticks to itself and is ONE-TIME use only. Once it sticks, you can no longer reposition it.
Unlike electrical tape, this finishing bar wrap don’t leave any nasty residue when peeled. If you already have an existing bar wrap and just need something to cover it up, the Domain Cycling Silicone Bar Wrap is your best choice.
Origin8 Pro Cork Bar Wrap
Made from real cork, you can expect nothing but the best cushion and vibration dampening from the Origin8 Pro Cork Bar Wrap. It features an adhesive back with tapered edges. Inside the package is a pair of handlebar plugs and 2 rolls of bar wrap.
The Origin8 Pro Cork Bar Wrap comes in various colors. Some popular choices include honey brown, black, light blue, camo pink, white, and more!
Planet Bike Comfort Bar Wrap
This quality product from Planet Bike features a soft and durable construction. Because its embedded with cork, the Planet Bike Comfort Bar Wrap offers nothing but the best protection against vibrations and shock — keeping your hands relaxed even after long rides.
The Planet Bike Comfort Bar Wrap becomes tacky when wet, giving you an even better grip. It comes in various UV-protected colors like yellow, white, orange, green, black, blue, and more! Pick a color that’s perfect for you and wrap your bars in comfort!
Alien Pros Bike Bar Tape
The Alien Pros Bike Bar Tape boasts a strong and sturdy grip. Made from top quality carbon fiber, this bike bar wrap is soft to the touch. It comes with just the right amount of padding to make your ride comfortable without compromising your ability to control the bike.
Easy to install, the Alien Pros Bike Bar Tape comes with 2 end caps. At 2 meters each, there’s plenty of tape to wrap around each handle.
Different Types of Bar Tape
Do you know that one of the most overlooked parts of your bike is the bar wrap? Your handlebar is one of the three contact points between you and your bike. And the bar tape covers it. The handlebar tape is responsible not only for protecting your handlebars but also for absorbing the vibrations and keeping your hands from sliding.
There are different types of bar tape in the market. Let’s talk about each one briefly below:
Cotton Handlebar Tapes – these are the earliest types of bar wraps that came into production in the 1920s. Cotton is easy to use, cheap, and widely available. Early forms of cotton handlebar tapes were coated with shellac to improve its durability and to give it a deep brown look. There are still a handful of manufacturers producing cotton handlebar tapes today and they usually come in various vibrant colors.
Plastic and Vinyl Bar Wraps – invented in the 70s, bar wraps made from plastic and vinyl are famous for their affordability, durability, and beauty. Unlike cotton, you did not need to apply shellac on plastic wraps to achieve a lustrous, glossy finish.
Cork Bar Tapes – cork bar tapes are famous for their ability to absorb moisture. They are also lightweight and very comfortable to hold on to.
Synthetic Bar Tapes – most modern bar wraps are now made from synthetic materials, usually polyurethane and microfiber. These materials are often combined to create a cushioned tape that’s durable, beautiful, and comfortable to use. Synthetic materials also allow for various thicknesses, finishes, and textures.
Leather Bar Tapes – although a bit pricier, leather handlebar wraps are timeless. Leather is extremely durable and will last you for years. Bar tapes crafted from leather also come with a unique texture and fragrance that you can’t replicate somewhere else. Aside from the price tag, another downside of leather is that it doesn’t offer much padding.
When to Replace Your Bar Tape
The quality and condition of your handlebar tape will have a significant impact on your overall riding experience. Although often neglected, it’s important to replace your bar wrap once it has served its purpose. But when is the right to replace your old bar tape? Read below:
- One of the tell-tale signs that your bar tape is due for a replacement is when it’s starting to unravel and loosen. But remember, this could happen earlier too if you did not wrap your handlebar tape correctly. If this is the case, then consider rewrapping your handlebars. A loose bar tape will negatively impact your ride and could compromise your safety.
- Old and worn-out bar wraps tend to be brittle. Some products even tend to bind onto the handlebars. Handlebar tapes in this condition tend to be quite firm and smooth. If this happens to you, start looking for a replacement right away. Riding with your bar tape in this condition defeats the purpose of buying and installing a bar wrap on your bike. Remember that you bought a bar tape to improve your grip and make your hands more comfortable on the road — not the other way around!
Things to Consider When Buying the Best Bar Tape
So, it’s finally time to replace your bar tape? Great! There are hundreds of bar wraps available online and in your local bike shop. How will you know which one to get? Consider these tips:
Tip 1. Decide on the material you want
The material used on a bar tape can make it or break it. Most modern handlebar tapes are made from leather, cork, and synthetic materials like silicone, nylon, and polyurethane. These are often combined with a gel or foam core to provide some degree of cushioning. Synthetics are great in terms of quality, comfort, price, and durability. Cork offers the best cushion but is relatively thicker. It absorbs sweat and moisture too which can be a deal-breaker for some. Leather, on the other hand, lacks padding and can be quite stiff to install. However, once you break it, it’s one of the best handlebar wraps available — just be ready to pay a steeper price tag.
Tip 2. How thick do you want it?
The thickness of your bar tape will depend on the type of biking that you do. If you are a road biker and are more concerned about speed, go for thinner wraps (usually between 1 to 2mm). There are lots of synthetic, leather, and cork handlebar tapes in this domain.
If you are a mountain biker, then go for thicker handlebar tapes. Remember that the thicker your bar tapes, the better they are in absorbing vibrations and shock which you will need when tacking a technical, dirt, and gravel terrain.
Tip 3. The backing matters
To prevent the tape from shifting or moving when you ride, most modern bar wraps come with either a sticky gel or adhesive strip at the back. Personally, I prefer a gel backing as they provide an extra level of cushioning. The only downside is that they are not as effective as adhesives in making sure that your bar tape stays put all year long.
How to Replace Your Old Bar Tape
- tape measure
- electrical tape
- Allen wrench
- razor blade or a sharp knife
- a new bar tape
Best Bike Bar Wrap Tips and Tricks
Start with clean bike bars
Make sure your bike’s handblebar is squeaky clean. Remove any old tape or residues before wrapping a new one. Most bike wraps have adhesive backs. So, just pull slowly. If you pull it too quick, you’ll risk leaving bits and pieces of tape around your bars which are quite a headache to get rid of.
Before wrapping your handlebar, do a test wrap first to see how the tape fits. Most bar wraps come in standard sizes of 2000mm x 30mm. Shorter tapes can be challenging to work on as you might run out of tape before reaching the end of the bar. If you can get your hands on a longer tape, the better. There’s no need to be meticulous at this stage. So don’t aim for a perfect finish — yet.
Don’t tape brake or shift cables
Many so-called experts out there recommend that you tape your brake or shift cables to the handlebar first using electric tape before using a bar wrap. Actually, you don’t have to. The bar wrap is more than enough to hold these cables in place. Just make sure you hold them in place while wrapping. Save yourself some time (and electrical tape!).
Always overlap by a third
Overlapping by a third of the wrap before makes sure that there’s no gaps in your handlebar and that you cover the handlebar entirely. As you work, make sure to look under and around the bar wrap to make sure you don’t miss a spot. The only way to fix this gap, in case you miss an area, is by unwrapping and rewrapping. Both very time-consuming compared to going slow and constantly checking as you go.
Make sure the finish is clean
The last wrap of tape is the deal breaker when it comes to edge of the tape. If you want to get a pro look, cut the bar wrap on a diagonal line. This makes sense because bar wraps are always installed at an angle.
Best Bar Wrap Frequently Asked Questions
How do I clean my bar wrap?
Cleaning and maintaining your bar wrap don’t require ay special tools. All you need is a light dish soap, clean rags or spongers, and water. Just dab your rag or sponge in a light soap solution and scrub those dirt and grime away from your bar wrap. When all is done, rinse away!
How do I choose a bar wrap?
There are lots of bar wraps in the market. And they all come in various colors, materials, and sizes. Generally, cork or foam bike wraps are a good choice for riders who are looking for an absorbent and comfortable wrap.
Bar wraps that are made from microfiber cloth are also very comfortable. They are easier to clean and maintain too compared to cork and foam.
If you are the type of rider who wants to keep the handlebar bulk to a minimum, then go for tapes made from leather.
Cotton is perfect for vintage builds.
Plastic bar wraps are perfect for classic builds.
There you have it! Hope you’ll find this guide helpful in choosing the best bar wrap for 2019.