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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 03-16-14, 01:48 AM   #1
sleepwalker2
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what are the squishiest handlebar tapes?

yes, what are some of the squishiest handlebar tape wraps?
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Old 03-16-14, 05:56 AM   #2
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I think that in general the "gel" bartapes are the softest. Cork tape has slightly less "give".

One thing that also seems to impact it a little bit is how you put the tapes on the bars. I do it tight and spread out. The stock bartape that was on the bike was wrapped a lot looser and more overlapping giving an overall much softer feel despite being a very similar type of bartape.
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Old 03-16-14, 06:13 AM   #3
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If you want squishy, try double-wrapping the handlebars. I have a double layer of tape between the brake levers and stem on my touring bike. It feels really good on rough roads.
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Old 03-16-14, 06:32 AM   #4
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I like the S-works cork tape. I cushion the tops and near drops by putting a strip of old bar tape under the new one. So not double wrapping but only adding one strip which is in line with the bar.
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Old 03-16-14, 07:14 AM   #5
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Specialized Bar Phat. Gel pads under Specialized Roubaix tape. Comes in two levels of squishy. If you have small hands, be careful. It gets phat and squishy.
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Old 03-16-14, 07:16 AM   #6
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I've tried the new lizard skin tape on my cross bike and found it to wear out quick and unwrap when wet. If you need more padding they make gel pads you can put under standard tape. Here is some: Bike Ribbon Gel Pad Set | Chain Reaction Cycles
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Old 03-16-14, 07:21 AM   #7
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I've used under-tape gel pads before-- Fizik, maybe?-- and was unimpressed because, as I learned the first time, if you don't place them in the high-pressure areas of your grip, you don't get optimal effect, and when I did give a little more thought to placement the second time and put them under the hotspots, you only get the benefit when in those specific grips and the rest of the grip feels differently, or uneven in terms of thickness.

Therefore, I'd suggest going with the tape thickness you prefer uniformly, or if you really want squish, double-wrapped as suggested above. I use LizardSkins DSP 3.2mm on two bikes, and think it's the best feel I've ever had in bar tape in terms of give and texture.
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Old 03-16-14, 07:30 AM   #8
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I've tried the new lizard skin tape on my cross bike and found it to wear out quick and unwrap when wet.
Not to offend, but that has to be a lousy wrap job or some kind of defective product. Did you oil the bars before installing the tape or something? I'm teasing, but really, I just can't believe that Lizardskins DSP unwraps when wet. I did a 70-something mile ride last fall in total rain the whole time, and the only comment I have about the tape under those conditions was that it performed flawlessly, and even set the bar for grip texture when wet, no slipperiness at all.

As for wear, well yeah, that may have merit. At about 1800 miles, the full season on that bike, there was definite wear on the rib texture and compression of the thickness (i.e. squish reduction), but it was still pretty acceptable. I've had cork tapes on bikes for multiple seasons, so that was a change in experience, but on the other hand, none of them were textured, so that indicator just wasn't there. Compression happens to all tape, but it's so gradual, you just don't notice really until you go to unwrap it.
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Old 03-16-14, 07:53 AM   #9
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Not to offend, but that has to be a lousy wrap job or some kind of defective product. Did you oil the bars before installing the tape or something? I'm teasing, but really, I just can't believe that Lizardskins DSP unwraps when wet. I did a 70-something mile ride last fall in total rain the whole time, and the only comment I have about the tape under those conditions was that it performed flawlessly, and even set the bar for grip texture when wet, no slipperiness at all.

As for wear, well yeah, that may have merit. At about 1800 miles, the full season on that bike, there was definite wear on the rib texture and compression of the thickness (i.e. squish reduction), but it was still pretty acceptable. I've had cork tapes on bikes for multiple seasons, so that was a change in experience, but on the other hand, none of them were textured, so that indicator just wasn't there. Compression happens to all tape, but it's so gradual, you just don't notice really until you go to unwrap it.
I maybe could have wrapped it tighter but I was scared from all the warnings on the package not to stretch the tape when wrapping. It gets weird and super slippery when its wet. The wraps were sliding over itself and bunching up at the bottom of the bars when I rode in the rain. I've never had this problem with cork foam or fizik that I wrap myself. I had black tape and after only 2000 miles the black was wearing off, showing white foam at the bends on the bar tops.
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Old 03-16-14, 07:56 AM   #10
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bontrager cork gel
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Old 03-16-14, 07:59 AM   #11
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bontrager cork gel

This is what I use as well. Cheap, comfortable, and lasts a while.
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Old 03-16-14, 08:02 AM   #12
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This is what I use as well. Cheap, comfortable, and lasts a while.
makes your bars thick as baseball bats and soft as trampolines.
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Old 03-16-14, 08:19 AM   #13
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I maybe could have wrapped it tighter but I was scared from all the warnings on the package not to stretch the tape when wrapping. It gets weird and super slippery when its wet. The wraps were sliding over itself and bunching up at the bottom of the bars when I rode in the rain. I've never had this problem with cork foam or fizik that I wrap myself. I had black tape and after only 2000 miles the black was wearing off, showing white foam at the bends on the bar tops.
Yeah, it sounds like you just wrapped it much too loosely, though it must have been super loose for the sticky backing not to do it's job. You did remove the backing, right? Maybe you overlapped so much the adhesive strip was on the preceding turn of tape rather the bar?

Anyway, your concerns about going too tight are warranted; my first one had some tiny splits on the sides from being pulled too tightly. I rewrapped it without stretching, and the splits haven't gone anywhere, so at least it's not fatal to the longevity of the tape provided it's de-tensioned. That said, this is my third LizardSkins DSP 3.2 set and wrap job, and it can be done easily and securely.

Regarding color loss, I've only used white and blue, and neither the white at 1.8k miles showed any color wear-through, nor has the blue, but it's only got about 500 miles or so on it, so we'll see what it looks like at 2k. I always wear gloves, which may make a difference, although color wear-through at 2k miles sounds bad in any case. Maybe the dirt abrasion of CX was what killed it.
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Old 03-16-14, 08:39 AM   #14
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The squishiest handlebar I ever saw was not wrapped in bar tape at all, but a pool noodle slit lengthwise and held in place with electricians tape. The resulting grip was almost three inches in diameter and as squishy as a firm foam mattress.
This measure allowed my friend to complete a 600km brevet after a nasty spill bunged up his hands.
This was last summer.
The noodle is still on his bike.
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Old 03-16-14, 08:48 AM   #15
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Not to offend, but that has to be a lousy wrap job or some kind of defective product. Did you oil the bars before installing the tape or something? I'm teasing, but really, I just can't believe that Lizardskins DSP unwraps when wet. I did a 70-something mile ride last fall in total rain the whole time, and the only comment I have about the tape under those conditions was that it performed flawlessly, and even set the bar for grip texture when wet, no slipperiness at all..
I also had problems with the Lizard Skin tape unwrapping although I don't think it had much to do with the wet in my case. I've wrapped a few dozen handlebars over the years without problems. It was a great tape otherwise.
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Old 03-16-14, 12:20 PM   #16
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I also had problems with the Lizard Skin tape unwrapping although I don't think it had much to do with the wet in my case. I've wrapped a few dozen handlebars over the years without problems. It was a great tape otherwise.
I'm not saying your or TruckerDan's tape didn't unravel; I believe it did, but I think the reason is something other than simply Lizardskins sucks, which doesn't make sense. It's much more likely it was poor installation, or maybe defective product, or even poor storage, handling, or something resulting from cleaning treatments.
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Old 03-16-14, 01:00 PM   #17
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Try EVA fishing rod grips , like old "grab -on " handle bar covers
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Old 03-16-14, 01:16 PM   #18
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Why would you want squishy bar tape? You would lose all sensation to the road. Ride relaxed with a light grip.
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Old 03-16-14, 01:18 PM   #19
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I love Fizik Tacky. It's pretty squishy.
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Old 03-16-14, 07:21 PM   #20
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Cant get more squishy than this.

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Old 03-16-14, 07:59 PM   #21
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Keep in mind that if your bars are not comfortable, the issue may not be the tape. It may be the angle of the bars, or other aspects of your fit. I'd start by carefully adjusting the bars.
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Old 03-16-14, 09:12 PM   #22
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Cant get more squishy than this.

You win.
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Old 03-16-14, 09:42 PM   #23
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gel schmel, PRO tape is pretty nice, I would not say it is squishy but firm thick and very shock absorbing it is like a denser foam, most comfortable bar tape I've ever used.
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Old 03-17-14, 01:02 AM   #24
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i think this might be the winner...

sram supersport with gel
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Old 03-17-14, 01:03 AM   #25
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i like the specilaized stuff and the gel underneath like someone else said, but i also ride with my hands open for the most part.
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