Bar tape is an important finishing touch to your bike. It comes in various different types and styles, from cork to plastic, thick and thin. Bar tape offers a surface for your hands to hold onto as well as being a cover for brake/gear cables and the handlebars.
Bar tape has a number of properties it's worth mentioning. Bar tape provides a surface for you to grip onto with comfort when cycling. It helps absorb vibrations and shocks from the road. Some bar tapes offer more padding/cushioning than others for extra shock absorbing.
If you are happy with your current bar tape, then look for a direct or similar replacement. Most road bikes come equipped with a cork type handlebar tape. If you are suffering from sore hands or seek a bit more shock absorption, look out for handlebar tape containing gel.
Bar tape adds the finishing touches to your pride and joy, you can go for colour coded bar tape or even carbon fibre bar tape, but it's not there just to look good, it actually serves an important function by absorbing road vibration and providing a grippy surface for you to hold onto. Cork tapes offer high levels of road vibration absorption, to get even higher levels of comfort you can use gel pads under the tape on points of regular contact if needed.