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Bar Tape Recommendations

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Bar Tape Recommendations

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Old 01-11-19, 04:30 PM
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Robert A
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Bar Tape Recommendations

I have new handlebars on order (Zipp Service Course SL-70) and need handlebar tape. Bike came with Prologo Plaintouch Cork, which I'm quite happy with mainly because I like the feel.

What bar tape has been popular here? I don't mind spending a bit for a quality product.

Thanks,
Robert
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Old 01-11-19, 05:36 PM
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HTupolev
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If you're comfy on cork tape, there's nothing wrong with sticking to cork tape. It tends to have a fairly short lifespan, but it's cheap and easy to wrap and it's endured as a popular option for several decades.

It's tricky to give recommendations because bar tape needs are very personal, and it's not a precise science. You're ultimately just putting the finishing layer on a contact point, and there's not a lot of right or wrong. And if you want to experiment with things, there's nothing wrong with getting creative. Like, if you want a certain section of the bar to be a bit fatter, you could do something like wrap it with a bit of inner tube on that section before wrapping the bar tape.

And different things can work in different ways. Thick soft tapes are often billed as being "more comfortable" because they provide a wide squishy grip. But when the grip is too soft, the bones can sink in, and the soft tissues in the hand can get compressed and lose circulation and become numb. Furthermore, a big squishy contact point can require more grip force from the hand to achieve a secure grip. One of my bikes has old school cotton cloth tape on it - a very thin and hard wrap - but it feels fine to me because I can ride it with a very light touch, even while grinding out of the saddle. Most of my bikes currently wear cork tape on the handlebars, though.

If you like matching things, you could try using Zipp's Service Course handlebar tape with your Zipp Service Course bars. It seems to get good reception.

Choosing bar tape color to match well with the rest of the bicycle is, of course, of critical importance.
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Old 01-11-19, 05:43 PM
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I really liked both the Profile tape and especially the Lizard Skins 2.0 (middle thickness). But one thing I found with the Lizard Skins is that when I bought them via ebay suppliers I got product that would pill easily or fall apart so I only buy through legit LBS or online via companies like Merlin or Competitive Cyclist. If you really want to get custom or pricey check out Busyman Cycles, genuine leather (cow or kangaroo), patterned with colors to match your bike, etc.
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Old 01-11-19, 07:37 PM
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Well it's just bar tape. As noted, its personal preference as to what people like. Go get some and try it out. If you don't like it, get something else. After you've tried a few, you'll know what you like.
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Old 01-11-19, 07:44 PM
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After having used cork tape for a while, which I liked, I switched to the Zipp Service Course CX tape, which I love!

Much nicer feel than cork tape, and more durable. Good cushioning. It would go well with your handlebars, LOL.
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Old 01-11-19, 08:42 PM
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I got those same bars for my madone! Love them, the flat tops are really comfortable. There’s a slight flare in the drops too. I didn’t think I’d like them as much as I do.

I put rapha bar tape on them. Feels fine and has some subtle text on it. Nice touch, came with branded bar plugs.
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Old 01-11-19, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
After having used cork tape for a while, which I liked, I switched to the Zipp Service Course CX tape, which I love!

Much nicer feel than cork tape, and more durable. Good cushioning. It would go well with your handlebars, LOL.

my favorite tape. Love this stuff.
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Old 01-11-19, 09:06 PM
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This came on a bike I picked up and I was impressed with the ease of wrap when I changed the shifters. It has a comfortable suede feel to it and has been really a durable tape.
https://www.specialized.com/us/en/s-...UaAiXqEALw_wcB
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Old 01-11-19, 11:10 PM
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Love the Service Course CX! Came on my used TCR as my first introduction, recently went back to it for my CaadX. FSA makes a similarly cushy silicon tape , that's rewrapable as well and lacks logos if you want a cleaner look.

Also love the Fizik Performance and Supacaz Kush. Really depends on the stiffness of the cockpit , tactility desired and the look you want, all weather superbly and are comfortable.
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Old 01-12-19, 12:24 AM
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Specialized Roubaix. Comfortable and durable.
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Old 01-12-19, 12:54 AM
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Guys, thanks for all our input so far. Question, what is this talk about "gel" tape?
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Old 01-12-19, 01:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert A View Post
Guys, thanks for all our input so far. Question, what is this talk about "gel" tape?
Some handlebar tapes are backed with a rubberyish gel strip. The idea is that it acts as a damper, reducing vibrations to the rider's hands.

Here's the back side of some Bontrager Gel Cork tape, you can see the clear gel layer:



There are also gel inserts designed to go underneath bar tape, like Planet Bike Century gel pads or Bontrager Isogel.
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Old 01-12-19, 07:49 AM
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Old 01-12-19, 07:52 AM
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A vote for lizard skins.
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Old 01-12-19, 07:52 AM
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I'm really liking the Fabric Hex. .. FYI Merlin has a good price on it at the moment.
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Old 01-12-19, 07:58 AM
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https://www.cinelli-usa.com/cinelli-...andlebar-tape/
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Old 01-12-19, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by curbtender View Post
This came on a bike I picked up and I was impressed with the ease of wrap when I changed the shifters. It has a comfortable suede feel to it and has been really a durable tape.
https://www.specialized.com/us/en/s-...UaAiXqEALw_wcB
The Specialized S-Wrap is nice tape, it is what I typically use.
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Old 01-12-19, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert A View Post
Guys, thanks for all our input so far. Question, what is this talk about "gel" tape?
I use these also. https://www.fizik.com/us_en/men/acce...-pieces-1.html
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Old 01-12-19, 12:48 PM
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Does anyone make tape that come in interesting patterns? I'm thinking of a jungle pattern with a combination of gray and white.
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Old 01-12-19, 07:14 PM
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Never tried it, but search Sefras offerings
https://www.biketiresdirect.com/prod...handlebar-tape
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Old 01-12-19, 08:11 PM
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The Bontrager gel tape comes in a few nice black and white designs as well as both green and gray camo. I like the tape, too.
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Old 01-12-19, 08:58 PM
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the gel tape I've seen, its a strip on the back.. more as a anti slip so tape wont gap , a tacky re wrap-able adhesive ..

Insignificant for actual shock absorption you put gel pads under the tape for that , ... + wear gloves..




...

Last edited by fietsbob; 01-12-19 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 01-13-19, 03:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert A View Post
Does anyone make tape that come in interesting patterns? I'm thinking of a jungle pattern with a combination of gray and white.
Check out the harlequin wrap and other fancy braided wraps using two or more colors or types of tapes. A friend did that and it looked good even though the tape was pretty worn and weather damaged by the time I saw it. I'm considering blue and black for my early '90s Univega, which has that funky blue/black splatter paint.

Regarding padded tape for comfort, I've tried some no-name black foam tape from Jenson USA, $5 a roll, and it's just as good as Arundel Gecko Grip (which is also a good value, not nearly as expensive as some like Fizik). The no-name tape has held up well for six months and lots of rides, no apparent wear. The Arundel Gecko tape has nifty lizard patterns, but subtle, not crazy.

For crazy bar tape, Weanas sells everything from crazy colorful patterns to faux-leather '50s style sports car driving wheel wrap. I just got a roll of light blue faux-leather wrap just to play with because it cost only $5. Looks and feels comparable to my generic foam tape and the Arundel Gecko tape, but I don't know how well it'll hold up.

Padded bar tape makes a huge difference for me. I can even do without padded gloves, or any gloves at all. It tames the chatter and vibration from rural chipseal and striated concrete (typically on new developments that haven't been finished yet with asphalt and smooth fog seal). I don't get a lot of hand, wrist or elbow pain, but I do have chronic neck and shoulder pain from various crashes on my own and being hit by cars. Good foam tape makes a huge difference in comfort by taming the vibration and relieving pressure on the base of the thumb joint.

BTW, old inner tubes make great padding to tame vibration. Cut 'em into long strips just like bar tape. Wrap directly around the bar. Then add any decorative tape you like. Since the inner tube strips provide the cushion you can choose any tape you like just for the looks, even that old school ultra-thin metallic finish tape. The dual wrap can be thinner overall than foam bar tape, but still very comfortable. And while it is possible to use the inner tube by itself it'll smudge your hands or gloves every ride from the carbon black content.

Inner tube strips are also handy for practicing bar wrapping -- no need for adhesive, no expense, so no worries about a bad wrap. Good way to practice braided harlequin wraps, which I plan to do myself soon.

If I can find some paisley bar tape I'm gonna go nuts. That, a '60s style jersey zipped halfway down my chest, a newsboy cap and a medallion and I'll be as stylish as the Festrunk brothers.
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Old 01-13-19, 06:05 AM
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Old 01-13-19, 07:08 PM
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Ah, I see Fizik is revamping their bar tape lineup with different thicknesses, cushioning and tack to suit different disciplines. Fizik is too pricey for me but it's good to see someone offering specialized tapes for specialized types of riding. If I could afford it I'd try their Vento tacky to see how well it holds for invisible aero bar riding -- forearms draped across the bar top near the stem. My sweaty forearms tend to slip around on otherwise comfortable ordinary foam tape.
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