Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Bontrager grippy handlebar tape review
I am planning on making Wednesday product review day for the blog. I find that reviews from regular folks who have to pay for the stuff can be pretty valuable.
Bontrager grippy handlebar tape is a little different. It comes in a thin and a thick version. It also comes in a version that has a seam down the middle! and while I have used that version as well, my comments today will relate to the smooth version only.
In the box you get the usual stuff, two rolls, two short pieces of tape and bar plugs and plastic tape. Going on the bars the first thing you need to be aware of is the tape has very limited stretch. The tape seems to have two components, the thin sticky surface and the foam backing. Stretching the tape too much means the sticky surface tears. Making a mistake and having to go back and re-wrap means you will likely tear the foam. Once torn, the resulting wrap will have lumps at best. These are infant mortality problems, so once you have taken great care and wrapped your bars, the problems won't be an issue until you are removing the tape (it does not want to come off).
On the bars, the stuff lives up to its name and is super sticky. Grippy in fact. When it gets wet.......it is still SUPER grippy. Sweat, mud and blood don't hurt the stickiness and it has proven to be a great cyclocross tape that is loved all season long.
Over the long run, and perhaps I am too cheap and don't replace my bar tape unless there is a problem (or I am changing cable housings), the sticky nature of the tape causes a problem. The top layer starts to peel off and sticks to your gloves and just gets worse over time. It is kind of like a thin layer of scotch tape (sticky side up) over cork padding and it moves with your hands and begs to be replaced.
I will do a shoot out review comparing Bontrager grippy tape to Arundel Gekko tape and Lizardskins tape in the semi near future. All are good, but depending on your needs the pros and cons may point you to one over the others.
Bottom Line: everything the say about contact points is true. I am a bit of a bar tape snob and you will see Bontrager Grippy tape on some of my bikes. I am giving it four out of five Evos...