Bar tape is the unsung hero of cycling equipment, it's one of three key point of contacts between bike & rider. (The other two being saddle and peddles) In some circumstances it can make or break a ride. ie The right bar tape will give you grip during wet, humid conditions in sweat or rain, reduce road hum & vibrations over uneven terrain and just plain feel good to touch!
After riding countless kms all over the country and trying various bar tapes here's my opinion of some of the options available in the market.
Cyclovation Advanced Leather Touch
A popular tape that adorns the hottest new top end bikes being built at your local bike store. The massive selection of designs & colours offered by Cyclovation is great for the cyclist that likes to colour-coordinate their grip and bike. The tape itself has a 'just right' level of grip which is not abrasive when used with gloves and the 3mm thickness advertised feels a lot thinner on the bars. Even though the grip has 'gel dampening' I find it looses effectiveness and feels flat & slippery after a month or two of riding, so this may not be the best choice of high milage riders. That being said the tape does feel exceptionally good when used without gloves.
Supakaz Super Sticky Kush
(image from Supacaz.com)
Hugely popular in the pro-peloton and the choice of Peter Sagan, Supacaz tapes have a wide selection of colours that are complimented with their distinctive hexagon branding. As the name suggests this tape is definitely sticky & very grippy And it stays that way even on sweaty rides. The grip feels soft but retains longevity and feels new after 2 months of riding. The sticky feeling is something to be trialed and I would not recommend this tape for TT bikes that do not require high levels of bar grip. The material used for the grip seems to lack antibacterial properties and takes a while to dry; I would recommend a spray down with sanitiser after every ride to reduce odours and mold.
Silca Nastro Piloti
With Silca two things are certain- it'll be expensive and it'll be of high quality. Advertised at a 2.5mm thickness the tape feels exceptionally grippy to touch. Squeeze it without gloves and the hands stay locked in. Everything about this tape is premium, you get extra material to ensure that the finish is perfect and they include metal bar caps. The tape itself is one of the strongest I've used and will definitely not tear while wrapping. However I found the wrapping process more intense than other tapes, as the material used needs to be kept under high tension at all times.
With the tape's robustness, you will get your dollars worth of kms out of it and is a great choice for riders that have a heavy sweat rate. In terms of feel this may not be the best choice if you prefer a more delicate or plush touch, while the the colour options are limited.