While we don't doubt that 20 years from now we'll be riding 6lb bikes with telepathic shifting and hydraulic braking, we're fairly sure we'll still rely on cork handlebar tape. Cork is just thick enough to absorb a bit of road shock; it's just tacky enough so your sweaty hands won't slip when you move from hoods to tops; and by putting a fresh wrap on your bars you make your bike like pretty much new. Can you really improve upon that? We don't think so.
Our pals at Arundel -- creators of the world's best bottle cages -- now make bar tape. It comes in a variety of solid colors. In each color you get "Arundel" printed along the tape, with cork flecks subtly visible throughout the tape. And one important detail is that it has an adhesive strip on the back, which makes installing it super-easy.
The actual weight of the Arundel Cork Handlebar Tape is 56g.
If want basic tape and feels good, this is a good product. I bought the white and black to cover the two road bikes. White, just like shoes, picks up dirt fast and loses the fresh look in about a week of riding. And if you are messing with chains, or changing tires and go back to riding, the cork will absorb the grease and give you a grungy look. Maybe it will become a trend.
The tape doesn't stick to the bars very well, but I just used electrical tape on both ends and it holds just fine. I like the cork feel on my hands and it does offer good grip. I'd buy these again. The pro's out weigh the con's for the price.
Bar tape is one of the few areas where there seems to be constant reinventing of the wheel. While newer tapes might be easier to clean, or perhaps slightly more thickly padded, cork tape just works, and works well. Throw on the black tape for training days, and perhaps bust out the white cork for race day; either way you'll get pretty solid performance for about the cost of a race at your local tuesday night world championships. For what its worth, Arundel Cork tape wraps much more easily than many more expensive tapes.
It's a cork wrap, cheap and efficient, nothing more and nothing less. But if you're looking, you probably already expected that. Would I take some Lizard Skins over this? Any day. But would I pay for Lizard skins every single time I needed to wrap some bars? Nah. So the cheap cork is worth it.
The fine folks at Arundel nailed it with this cork tape. I've used it on numerous bikes, and it holds up well, all the while providing just enough comfort but a good feel for the bar. And the packaging provides all too humorous (but very true) instructions for installation.
Comfy, classic, and easy to install, this tape makes me wax poetic of days of downtube shifters and mustaches. Its a good thing only the former has gone the way of the dinosaur. This stuff works as it should and is timeless.
When the instructions tell you to use electrical tape instead of the supplied finishing tape, they're not jokeing. Maybe Arundel should focus more on the actual product, and less on glitzy packaging.