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Lizard Skins DSP 3.2mm bar tape – review

New bar tape is one of cycling’s little guilty pleasures. And it’s another one of those little choices that can have a real impact on bike comfort, especially if you like to ride without gloves.

Lizard Skins have built a reputation for making excellent quality bar tape that has a seriously grippy texture to it. The DSP in the title stands for DuraSoft Polymer, a completely different type of material to the usual cork or cork substitute used by many brands.

One very good thing about the material is that is has a lot of stretch, which makes installation easy as you can get really good tension in the tape. The backing tape’s good too, and you won’t get much slip if you’re trying to install the tape tightly. Similarly, the finishing tape has an amazing stretch to it and meant I actually used it for once instead of substituting in electrical tape instead.

You get 82” in each roll, so as long as it’s wrapped sensibly – in other words, not too closely – you’ll have no trouble covering the bars, even if they’re chunky aero road bars. I wrapped a set of Easton EC90 aero bars and even with the slightly unusual finger grips on the bars and flattened tops, the tape comfortably reached all the way to the centre of the bars.

The bar end plugs are pretty standard, so getting them in can be a bit of an issue if you’re not neat around the end of the drops but that’s the same with pretty much any bar tape. Plus, the 3.2mm tape was nowhere near as bulky as I’d feared, so getting the end plugs in wasn’t as much of an ordeal as it could have been.

In use, the DSP tape is a really interesting bit of kit. The sticky texture give a completely different feel whether you go gloveless or not, and with winter gloves on, the friction pads on the gloves combine with the tape to give almost unparalleled grip. Plus the 3.2mm cushioning means that even if you’re new to riding without gloves, or you forget them when you leave the house, you’ll have no issues with comfort.

The only thing I was slightly unsure about is the feel when riding gloveless. When the weather gets good I prefer to go out without gloves, and being used to soft touch cork tape, the grippy feeling takes a bit of getting used to. It’s not bad, just different, and some riders might find that it’s not to their personal taste. Having said that, I’ve definitely found it tougher than standard bar tape, and far more resistant to sweat and moisture, meaning it keeps that new feel for longer.

Conclusion

Even though it’s a hefty spend at £32.99 (the 1.8 and 2.5mm versions are £29.99), Lizard Skins’ DSP tape is a quality purchase. It’ll last longer than standard tape and the grip it gives on the bars is unparalleled. The only thing to think about is what sort of feel you want from your bars.

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