Bar tape – a nice little upgrade
It has long been a truism in cycling – the most important things on your bike are the contact points. Equally true is the fact that bar tape is usually overlooked. If you have just treated yourself to some fancy new handlebars (Easton EC70 AX bars maybe), or your bar tape is just looking scabby, spend a few minutes thinking about bar tape. Yes, I know it sounds dull but it could make your ride just a little more comfortable, and it won’t break the bank.
Lizard Skins DSP
Lizard Skins have been producing a wide variety of cycling products for over 20 years. Commonly associated with gloves and MTB grips, they also make quality accessories for the road market. Not least their range of bar tapes which have a solid reputation with the professional peloton and amateurs alike.
Lizard Skins have dispensed with the more conventional cork or leather, opting instead for ‘DSP’ (DuraSoft Polymer) which aims to provide that perfect balance between cushioning and feel. The 3.2mm thick tape is perfect for mixed conditions, on or off road. Offering just the right level of comfort, the tape has enough of a cushioning effect for comfort, but without completely insulating the rider from trail feedback.
If 3.2mm is just a little too chunky for you, or if your riding is more road oriented, Lizard Skins DSP is also available in a 2.5mm thickness. For me, the extra level of shock absorption afforded by the 3.2mm tape is noticeable enough to make it my preferred option. It’s a popular choice among the Pro’s when tackling the cobbles of the Paris Roubaix. So if it’s good enough for them….
Love it or hate it – that Marmite moment
The DSP feels strangely sort of sticky, sticky enough to give you an excellent grip. If you are used to cork tape it can feel a little strange. Some riders love it, others hate it. When the rain rain really begins to fall, this is when you will really appreciate that extra level of grip. The tape gives you confidence that your hands are going to stay firmly where you place them, instead of sliding about.
I very rarely ride without gloves but the few times that I have, I have been impressed by the grippiness of DSP on bare hands. In warm weather, sweat is never an issue and you can maintain decent contact with the bars. Previous iterations of synthetic bar tape have not proved to be as effective as some cork based tapes, but so far the Lizard Skins have come up trumps.
Weight weenies will be interested to know that the Lizard Skins DSP 3.2mm tape tips the scales at a tad under 78g (before cutting), including the bar caps. It is also long enough to cover even the widest of bars. It is also very straightforward to wrap – the material is robust and has an inherent flexibility making it is really easy to get a neat, tight and consistent pattern as you unroll. The finishing kit includes end tape for the top of the bars. In common with most other brands, it will peel off at the first sign of rain. Electrical tape is usually the best option. There are also a couple of shorter lengths to keep it tidy around the shifters.
Lizard Skins DSP is not the cheapest bar tape on the market. Having tested the tape extensively, over a variety of surfaces and weather conditions however, I definitely recommend it.
Lizard Skins DSP bar tape retails at £29.99 and is available from the usual online suspects and some local bike shops. Further information about the range of tapes and other products can be found on the Lizard Skins website. For full stockist information contact 2Pure, distributor for Lizards Skins in the UK.
Last modified: 13th February 2018