Bar tape is one of those bike parts that’s a real a personal choice. When you find a good one you tend to stick with it, and when it doesn’t work for you it needs swapping out straight away!
There’s a lot to be gained from having a decent bar tape. Comfort being the main point but there’s some others I think need taking into consideration. You need the right balance of shock absorption without it feeling loose, insecure or spongy on the bars, and it needs to be tacky enough so you don’t slip in the wet but be able to switch positions on the bars easily without accidentally steering the bike off the road.
With the bar tape three years old on the Ribble R872 it was well overdue replacing. I popped to Bournemouth Cycle works for replacement and grabbed some 3mm thick Fizik Performance tape.
Went for the black tape, to match my ‘all black everything’ bike, by Fizik as they have impressed me with the comfort of my Aliante KSX saddle. It has a dual design so you can wrap it with or without the Fizik logos showing.
The Deda Trentacinque bars I have fitted to the Ribble are chunky old affairs but really are top notch. Although the 35mm size makes them super stiff and noticeably reduces road buzz it makes wrapping the tape difficult. When wrapping the tape right across the flats, they look and become a bit bulbous. With the Fizik I’m going to wrap just past the tape limit dotted lines on the flats (probably why they are there!).
The tape is pretty chunky, with two part foam padding. Low density grey foam, and a higher density ‘gel’ foam in blue.
Remove the the adhesive backing and you can see the stitching that prevents the tape from stretching. Having a stitched tape does make for slightly trickier fitting, you have to pull it tighter than standard cork style tapes when wrapping to keep it even.
Finished article looks really good, even though the design on the bars make the tape look closer to the stem on one side!
The tape wraps well and with the reinforced stitching it should last with no stretching.
Having ridden out a couple of times with the tape now I can vouch for its feel and comfort. It feels solid on the bars with good grip. The last ride out was without gloves in hot weather, resulting in sweat pouring down my arms onto the bars. The tape did more than its job with no slips, and soft enough not to give me any calluses.
The Bike is now laid up for winter so we will see how it lasts standing! But for the time I used the tape I was impressed, an immediate improvement over the last standard foam cork style tape. A well put together tape!