Some cyclists ride with neither gloves nor bar tape, but I am not one of those folks! The roads in my area are extremely rough and without padded bar tape and a good pair of gloves my hands would shake for several hours after a bike ride, which is a royal pain since I spend most of my day working on a computer keyboard. For many years I wrapped the handlebars on my road bikes with Bontrager Gel Cork bar tape, but this past winter I started using Lizard Skins DSP Bar Tape and long rides are now a lot more enjoyable.
I found Lizard Skins DSP Bar Tape at the local bike shop one day after I’d spent several hours riding in the rain. The Bontrager Gel Cork tape always got very slippery when wet, and since I seem to spend a lot of time riding in the rain I wanted a handlebar tape that offered a better grip. While the Lizard Skins DSP tape offers a superior gripping surface, I still won’t ride in the rain without a pair of gloves—I might seem overly cautious to some, but when cycling at high speeds on slick roads I want to feel like I am in complete control of the bike, and for me that means a good grip on the handlebars.
Lizard Skins DSP Bar Tape is an ultra-lightweight tape (only 56 grams per set, including plugs). This tape is made with DuraSoft Polymer (DSP) and provides a comfortable surface for your hands even on rides of six hours or more. The bike I use for long rides in the rain has an aluminum frame, and even on a smooth roads I can feel every little bump. This tape greatly reduces road vibrations and offers superior shock absorption. This is going to make some people cringe, but I actually have two layers of bar tape on this bike since this bike is also used for winter rides when the temperature is down to near zero (Fahrenheit), the second layer of bar tape protects my hands from the chill of the handlebar. I only have one layer of this tape on my Trek Madone, but I never ride this bike in the winter.
Lizard Skins DSP Bar Tape is available in eight colors (Black, White, Blue, Red, Pink, Green, Yellow, Orange, and Celeste Green) and retails for around $38 per package. Each package has two rolls of 2.5 mm thick tape, two bar-end plugs, and two finishing strips. You should be able to find this tape at your local bike shop (or at least they can order it for you). This tape is also available from RealCyclist.com, REI, Amazon.com and many other online retailers.