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Handlebar tape

Old 01-10-21, 09:36 AM
  #1  
bbsupersport
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Handlebar tape

Hi, I'm swapping out my handlebars and in need of handlebar tape recommendations.
I'm fairly new to cycling ( even though I'm in the 50+ category ) and this will be my first attempt at taping a set (two sets) of handlebars. Looking for tape that has some cushioning for added comfort.
Concerned mainly with quality over price, but still looking for the best value for my money.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-10-21, 09:44 AM
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I have Bontrager gel cork tape that after 26,000 miles i'm finally going to replace with the same.

https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/e...e-set/p/23110/
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Old 01-10-21, 09:59 AM
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Regular cork bar tape is still a go to for many, Cinelli is one. There is now a gel cork tape, also Cinelli, have not tried but will. It has good reviews. Unfortunately for me, my favorite tape is no longer available, Zevlin, Z-attack. I usually look at bicycle gear suppliers, search Ebay and Amazon, etc. to find tape on sale. Numerous sites to look at, such as Jenson, Western Bike Works. Use Google and more sites than you can stand to look at will come up. I have used Arundel Gecko Grip tape and I like it, good grip but not much cushion. I recommend looking at reviews and starting with something that has good stretch to it. Also, look at videos, like on youtube, to see the process. It takes practice and patience. Handlebar tape is one of those cycling things that are very individual/personal .

I would be remiss in not pointing out that a local bike shop will have a selection and maybe someone that can help with there knowledge.
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Old 01-10-21, 11:17 AM
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So much tape, so little time...

There are so many brands of tape out there and every person on this forum is going to post here telling you the tape they ride is the best tape. As long as they give some solid feedback for it hopefully you will have enough to make a good decision.

Here are some pics of the tape I use and why I like each.

Fizik - This is my default go to brand. The flexibility of the tape helps with installing. It doesn't easily rip or seperate and will last more than 2-3 seasons of 4-5000 miles of riding. That being said there are different types that Fizik puts out and I am currently using the Tempo Classic and Tempo Bondcush Soft. I have not used the Vento Tacky tape.

The Bondcush soft has a really nice firm grip and is soft to the touch. Not soft like squishy but a little bit like the soft underside of an unfinished piece of leather. It's definitely not leather though that's just the feel of the tape. Great tape if you dont ride with gloves. Very comfy and it's what I have on my gravel bike

Fizik bondcush soft


Fizik bondcush soft In the box

The other Fizik tape I have is the Tempo Classic. It's very smooth like the thin classic leather wrap of yesteryear. Very thin compared to the bondcush soft and a smooth finished leather feel to it. Great for riding with gloves and I believe is a lighter weight. It's what I have on my climbing bike

Fizik Tempo Classic

Some other tapes I use -

Deda - . I use Deda because I love thier products. Bars, stems, seatposts. They are traditional and good looking solid products and the same with the bar tapes. Here are the Deda tapes I currently have -
Mistral Leather - I bought this because I wanted to install a brown tape on my new build. I really wanted the Brooks Faux Leather tape (Which is made by Fizik) but couldnt find it anywhere. The Mistral leather has a similar finish feel at the Fizik classic but is a bit thicker in the middle with slightly more cush (Maybe 2mm vs 1.5mm)

Deda Mistral Leather

Deda Mistral 2mm thick

The other Deda tape I have is the Presa tape. I like th look and feel of this tape. It has the perforations to let color through and give it a great texture feel. It has more of a rubbery grip on top. This will replace the other Deda tape on the new build when I get tired of the Classic look with the brown sidewalls and tape and want to give it a more racy look.

Deda Presa Tape

Lastly I have some Cinelli Cork Ribbon gel tape. It's a standard. Comfy enough for everyday rides. Not the best tape out there but it works and has a good feel to it. It's not rubbery but rather has a springy feel almost like its absorbent of bumps but also moisture. There will almost always be a roll of this lying around the shop somewhere.

Cinelli Cork Ribbon Gel tape

If you have any specific questions about the tapes above would be happy to answer.

-Sean
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Old 01-10-21, 01:07 PM
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Fizik.
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Old 01-10-21, 01:24 PM
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My favorite is the Lizard Skins 3.2 DSP tape, nice and comfortable and if you need extra comfort you can add some gel underneath like the Fizik stuff or Planet Bike (I believe).
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Old 01-10-21, 01:28 PM
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If you want extra padding you can use 2 layers of tape - I usually use the old tape for the underlayer, and wrap it the opposite way the top layer goes, so the top layer criss crosses the bottom layer.

Lots of videos on youtube on tape wrapping.

To finish the ends I use regular electrical tape, then wrap that with self-fusing silicone tape - that is very permanent and clean and doesn't pull up or leak adhesive. Lots of people can a get a clean finish the regular elec tape, but I never could figure that out.
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Old 01-10-21, 01:34 PM
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I finish the ends with black gaffer's tape, which is a kind of fabric-backed tape used by photographers, TV guys, sound engineers, etc to secure lights, microphones, tripods and things like that that they don't want to get residue on. Sticks better than electrical tape and doesn't get gummy or come undone on hot days either.
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Old 01-10-21, 01:57 PM
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Looking for new bar tape myself. Don't have one I love but but I would highly recommend not skimping. Last tape I got was some off brand from Amazon that I really liked the design. Turned out to be not worth it, spend the extra.
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Old 01-10-21, 02:41 PM
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Probably a reason that it's not mentioned, but thought I'd ask. Does anyone have experience with the woven style of bartapes? Eg. Serfas has a bunch of these:

SERFAS WOVEN BARTAPE
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Old 01-10-21, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Probably a reason that it's not mentioned, but thought I'd ask. Does anyone have experience with the woven style of bartapes? Eg. Serfas has a bunch of these:

SERFAS WOVEN BARTAPE
One of my kids has some serfss woven on her road bike. It dirtiest up fast, has little cushion, and doesn't stretch when applying which sucks because its not long and barely fit some 38mm compact bars.

She likes it, but im convinced its 70% because she chose it and 30% because she isn't heavy enough to care that it has little cushion.

My view- this stuff is barely better than benotto cellotape.
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Old 01-10-21, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
I have Bontrager gel cork tape that after 26,000 miles i'm finally going to replace with the same.

https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/e...e-set/p/23110/
That stuff is excellent. And you can often find some of the colors on sale at the Trek site for about 12 bucks. If you have it shipped to your nearest Trek dealer, you donít even have to pay for shipping.
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Old 01-10-21, 06:39 PM
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My favorite is Zipp Service Course CX. I like Supacaz too, and their plugs are great.

Lizard Skins didnít suite me.
Fizik was pretty good too.
Shimano Pro Control is another real good one.

I change my bar tap every year. Feels good to have a new wrap once outdoor riding starts.
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Old 01-10-21, 06:55 PM
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I'm going to suggest a more extreme solution than padded gel or cork handlebar tape: Grab On Grips, a closed cell, fairly dense foam. It resembles water pipe insulation in appearance, but it is a much better product for shock absorption than the best handlebar tape.
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Old 01-10-21, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by DeadGrandpa View Post
I'm going to suggest a more extreme solution than padded gel or cork handlebar tape: Grab On Grips, a closed cell, fairly dense foam. It resembles water pipe insulation in appearance, but it is a much better product for shock absorption than the best handlebar tape.
But this would mean you have foam grips.


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Old 01-10-21, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
I have Bontrager gel cork tape that after 26,000 miles i'm finally going to replace with the same.

https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/e...e-set/p/23110/
You really should replace your handlebar tape in intervals less than 26k miles. Handlebars collect sweat and can be subject to corrosion, whether aluminum or carbon fiber bars. I've seen some horrific pictures of corroded and even broken bars.

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Old 01-10-21, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Rogerogeroge View Post
You really should replace your handlebar tape in intervals less than 26k miles. Handlebars collect sweat and can be subject to corrosion, whether aluminum or carbon fiber bars. I've seen some horrific pictures of corroded and even broken bars.
Over the summer I had to remove the tape on one side and the carbon bar was fine. But thanks for your concern.
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Old 01-11-21, 12:26 AM
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This is great! I loved it
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Old 01-11-21, 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Reflector Guy View Post
I finish the ends with black gaffer's tape, which is a kind of fabric-backed tape used by photographers, TV guys, sound engineers, etc to secure lights, microphones, tripods and things like that that they don't want to get residue on. Sticks better than electrical tape and doesn't get gummy or come undone on hot days either.
I live in the Los Angeles area. It gets pretty hot here in the summer. I have had zero issues with electrical tape used as finishing tape coming undone.
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Old 01-11-21, 12:43 AM
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Originally Posted by DeadGrandpa View Post
I'm going to suggest a more extreme solution than padded gel or cork handlebar tape: Grab On Grips, a closed cell, fairly dense foam. It resembles water pipe insulation in appearance, but it is a much better product for shock absorption than the best handlebar tape.
No. Just no.
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Old 01-11-21, 12:46 AM
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I've been using Cinelli cork tape for decades. Recently, I tried Lizard Skins DSP - great grip and good padding. It's my new favorite.
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Old 01-11-21, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
My view- this stuff is barely better than benotto cellotape.
I have gold cellotape on my '79 Peugeot. Positives: It looks perfect, accented with world champion stripes at the inner ends. And it's okay in warm weather with bare fingers. Negatives: No grip at all, in fact, it's quite slippery, especially with gloves. Thin - really thin, so if used on vintage bars, the result is quite small/thin to grip. Why did I use it? Period correct and beautiful finished appearance.

This is like women with shoes. Their feet hurt after 30 minutes. Blistering when they walk, unstable. I ask my wife why she wears such shoes when we're out socially? The answer is generally twofold: style and "I like the way they make my calves look." Okay.
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Old 01-11-21, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
I live in the Los Angeles area. It gets pretty hot here in the summer. I have had zero issues with electrical tape used as finishing tape coming undone.
Sometimes people have issues with things that other people have no problems with at all, and vise-versa.
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Old 01-11-21, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Reflector Guy View Post
Sometimes people have issues with things that other people have no problems with at all, and vise-versa.
There's all kinds of crappy 'electrical' tape sold and available out there. I suspect that anyone finding their tape coming undone in heat, or the glue seeping, is using one of those. Stick with 3M Super 33 and no issue.
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Old 01-11-21, 08:14 AM
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For a most uncomfortable "ergo" bar, that I'm not quite motivated enough to change out, I found some Fizik bar gel. Tape them where you need padding with electrical tape, and then overwrap with bar tape of your choice.

3M tape is one of two secrets to using electrical tape. The second secret is to put a bit of tension on the first wrap or two, to hold the bar tape in place, but the final wrap of electrical tape should not be stretched at all. Use scissors or a knife to cut the electrical tape instead of pulling it until it breaks, and finish the wrap neatly.
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