Cork It or Cloth It?
When it comes to wrapping handlebars, the typical options are cloth tape and cork tape. And my impression is that many, if not most, cyclists today consider cork tape to be more comfortable. On the surface this makes sense: cork is softer, and gripping something soft ought to feel better than gripping something hard.
Of course, in order for the firmness of cloth tape to work in one's favour, the handlebars must feel comfortable to begin with. The handlebars on my vintage Trek (first picture) have a weird squared-off (rather than tubular) shape to them, which my hands refuse to conform to. So until I can afford better handlebars on that bike, I am using cork tape to disguise the square shape.
This makes me wonder whether the prevalence of cork tape we see today could generally be a symptom of uncomfortable positioning. Are more cyclists choosing cork tape because their position places too much weight on their hands? And furthermore, has this somehow become normalised in what is now considered "proper bike fit"?