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Supacaz Super Sticky Kush handlebar tape – review

If you’ve seen their advertising, you’ll know that Supacaz don’t approach things from a traditional point of view. For example, most companies that make handlebar tape don’t advertise it by making attractive women wear it. But whatever your opinion of their marketing when it comes down to product quality you won’t find the American company lacking.

Supacaz currently sponsor Astana and you may also have seen their tape on the handlebars of Mark Cavendish’s custom Specialized Venge as the British sprinter has his own signature edition design with the company. They’ve also simplified the world of tape right down as they basically only make one type of tape – what they call Super Sticky Kush – and price is dependent on what design you want, and there are many, many options. Supacaz don’t put a number on it’s thickness, but it’s around 2.5mm which definitely puts it at the more comfortable end of the tape spectrum.

A roll of single coloured tape will set you back £27.95 which is what we’ve got here, but you can also get dual coloured tape which is designed to make your tops and drops different colours for £32.95. There’s a version with printed designs that comes in at that higher price, too. The most expensive tape is £35.95 which is either the Cavendish edition or country edition which, as it sounds, comes in the colours of your chosen country’s flag. Simple, right?

Fitting the tape is easy as well. Despite its thickness there’s enough stretch to get a nice tension in the tape as you wrap. There’s more than enough length to wrap as far as you want, too, whether you prefer to wrap almost all the way to the stem or not – although that’s obviously contingent on how closely each turn is wrapped.

One of the highlights of installation is the end plugs which are some of the best I’ve ever used. Instead of having ribbed sides that are designed to grip onto the inside of the bars and not fall out, Supacaz have gone for an expandable design, rather like FSA’s Compresser Pro headset top cap. It means they’re really easy to fit into the bar ends and adjust with a 3mm allen key. It’s a far neater procedure than just jamming the end plugs in, and definitely makes them easier to remove should the need arise. The only incredibly minor gripe we have with installation is that the finishing tape doesn’t colour match the bar tape. Although black is the standard, it’d be nice to have the option, especially if your bars aren’t black.

Supacaz market the tape as ‘no more gloves’, meaning they reckon it’s thick enough to do away with your mitts for good. I prefer to ride bare handed anyway and the Super Sticky Kush is right up there with the very best for comfort. The feel is very different to the recently reviewed Lizard Skins DSP tape; much smoother without that grippy pattern on the surface. I reckon the Supacaz tape is probably slightly better for bare handed riding, but there’s not much to choose between the two.

One thing I’ve been extremely impressed with is durability. I’ve been using the Super Sticky Kush on one of my bikes for over a year now and despite using it all winter in plenty of very British weather it’s still in good condition. If you’re going to drop £30 on a roll of bar tape, you want to make sure you’ll get more than a few months out of it.

Conclusion

Supaca’z bar tape is hard-wearing, comfortable and thick enough to make gloves an optional extra. Plus, with around 40 colour schemes and designs, you’ve got a massive scope to get exactly the right one for your bike. Paying a lot for bar tape is always a difficult thing to do, but this stuff will keep you going for a long time and look good, too.

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