B'Twin Microfibre Handlebar Tape  £8.99

8/10

Good value, tough bar tape which looks pretty good and should last well - what's not to like?

Weight 89g   Contact  www.decathlon.co.uk

by Jez Ash   July 6, 2014  

BTwin Microfibre bar tape

B'Twin is Decathlon's in-house cycling brand and can generally be relied upon to deliver decent quality at a very good price. This bar tape is no exception - it's tough and reasonably comfortable, and often discounted below the very reasonable nine quid RRP.

The packaging boasts of the use of "microfibre for comfort", although I am fairly sure that most of the comfort comes from the use of a foam layer. The top surface has a vinyl feel to it, a bit shinier and less grippy when wet than some more expensive tapes, but I never had any issues with my (gloved) hands slipping. It's available in a modest range of colours - white, black, yellow, red, blue and pink - although I imagine they probably sell more of the first two than the others. I fitted white and black tape to two of my bikes - both have the red foam layer visible through the perforations which I quite liked, although this is a question of personal taste.

Like most bar tape, there is a strip of adhesive that you uncover as you go, by peeling off the paper backing strip. Decathlon claims that each roll of tape is 2m in length, and I certainly had no difficulty in covering the bars with a few inches to spare. Extra sections of tape are provided to go behind the brake levers, and there are chromed plastic bar plugs. I wasn't that impressed with the strip of finishing tape which is reasonably sticky but not sufficiently elastic and so I ended up using electrical tape instead.

When fitting a tape, a certain amount of elasticity makes things considerably easier. This is not an especially elastic bar tape, so the careful application of some force is needed to get it to sit nicely. On the plus side, it seems plenty strong, so you can pull quite hard when fitting it without worrying that it's going to break on you. The perforations make it easy to judge positioning when wrapping, as you can line up the edge of one turn with the holes on the previous layer - in use I'd be hard pressed to comment on whether they make a difference besides the aesthetic.

There's a decent amount of squish on the bars, especially given the bargain-basement price. This tape replaced Cinelli cork tape on my bike, which is very comfortable and not a whole lot more expensive than this. In comparison, the B'Twin tape has a similar amount of padding but sacrifices a bit of grip in exchange for toughness. Cinelli cork tape feels lovely in use but isn't the toughest out there, and the tape on my commuter was looking pretty sorry for itself after a couple of years and a few thousand miles. On the evidence of the time testing this Decathlon tape to date, I would expect it should last for a while longer. The white version of this tape is also much less susceptible to getting dirty, as the shiny surface is very easy to clean.

I almost always ride in gloves, so I'm not especially bothered with how well a bar tape deals with sweat, as long as it doesn't become too slippery, which this doesn't. If you do ride bare-handed you'd probably be better served by something a bit less shiny than this tape.

Verdict

Great value, tough bar tape which looks pretty good and should last well - what's not to like?

road.cc test report

Make and model: BTwin Microfibre Handlebar Tape

Size tested: Black/Red

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Decathlon says "replacing your road handlebar tape. Comfortable and ultra durable tape"

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

2 long tapes, 2 short finishing tapes, 2 silver-coloured end plugs, 2 adhesive finishing tapes. Material: microfibre. Tape length: 2m for each long tape / 9cm for each short tape. Also available in yellow, red, white, blue and pink.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
7/10
Rate the product for value:
 
9/10

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Cheap, durable and easy to keep clean (for those who like white tape).

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Not that stretchy, which makes fitting it a bit more of a challenge.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Absolutely.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 36  Height: 190cm  Weight: 78kg

I usually ride: Boardman CX team for the daily commute  My best bike is: Rose Xeon CRS

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,

 

1 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

You can see that it is difficult to tape around the brake lever hood clamping band though. Maybe more careful application would eliminate the gap but not a good review for the product so I will give it a miss thanks.

posted by Welsh boy [102 posts]
7th July 2014 - 8:09

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