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.