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Verdict: 
A wrapper's delight - comfortable, super-grippy and reusable. Lovely bar tape from Tortec.
Weight: 
100g
Contact: 
www.zyro.co.uk
Tortec Super Comfort Handlebar Tape
9 10

Tortec are probably best known for their good-quality range of bike racks but they've also got a range of mudguards and are expanding, with new bottle cages and bar tapes for this year. They're distributed by Zyro and we went to have a look at some of their recent additions recently, coming home with some of this new top-end bar-tape.

They've a range of four different tapes, priced from £9.99 up to £19.99 for the Super Comfort version tested here. Twenty quid is about mid-range for bar tape - you can get reasonable tape for a tenner, with premium tapes from the likes of Supacaz coming in closer to £40. More expensive tapes tend to offer a better combination of grip, comfort, ease of installation and durability. I've used plenty of cheaper bar tape, and as a general rule you sacrifice a bit in one or two of these areas, getting a comfortable but short-lived tape, or a durable but rather unforgiving one.

The Super Comfort tape from Tortec ticks all the boxes - it's super grippy in use, with just the right amount of padding for mile after comfortable mile. It's also really nice to install. Rather than an adhesive strip, Tortec have used a silicone gripper strip on the back, very similar to what you'd find along the bottom of a jersey. This is grippy rather than sticky, so you can make as many adjustments as you need to, and you can even reuse it, as it'll peel off the bars without leaving any residue. There's plenty of stretch too so you can get round the corners on a set of drops without a problem, and it isn't one of those tapes that feels like it might snap if you pull too hard. Once installed the silicone does a great job of keeping it in place - I never noticed any movement.

Having used the tape for a few weeks on one bike, I tested the claimed reusability by removing it completely and fitting it to a different set of bars. Commonly, once you remove bar tape, it leaves half its sticky on the bar, and you find it has stretched permanently, both which would make it impossible to reuse. Happily neither was the case here, the silicone strip came off cleanly and the tape still had enough stretch to enable a perfectly good installation second time around. The photos above were of this second installation. It may be that after a year or two of use, the tape might not come off as cleanly or be quite as stretchy - it's too early to say on this.

A further benefit mentioned on the packaging was the "adjustable grip pattern". This one I'm a little bit less clear about; I suspect it may have got lost in translation. The tape has a Tortec logo repeated on it, but subtly in the same colour as the tape, plus a "not equal" sign (≠) repeated. I like to think this is a comment about not all bar tapes being created equal. I'm not a fan of shouty logo-heavy tape, much preferring a same-colour approach as seen here.

You can have this tape in black, white, red and green. The black isn't super-dark, it's more of a dark grey once you've installed it. It looks fine anyway, unless you were aiming for a match for a supergloss black saddle. Not having used the white version, I can't really comment on how it copes with dirt and sweat.

Out on the road it's a lovely tape, with a tacky (in a good way) surface that offers really excellent grip levels even in the wet. I almost always ride with gloves, but there's oodles of grip on bare skin too if that's how you roll. It's a similar surface to the much-vaunted Lizard Skins DSP tape and usefully cheaper than that tape's RRP. The silicone gel strip combines well with the rubbery tape to give impressive isolation against road buzz. I don't generally suffer from numbness or nerve problems in my hands when riding, but I'd guess that this would be a decent choice for those who do.

There's the usual pair of plastic bar plugs (which I found were pretty securely held in place once installed), plus lengths of a slightly different tape to cover behind the brakes - it has adhesive rather than silicone to keep it place while you're busy wrapping. I'm afraid I neglected to measure the total length of the tape itself, but suffice to say it was amply long for my 440mm drops including wrapping a figure-of-eight around the brakes. Plenty, in other words.

Tortec isn't the first manufacturer to use a silicone strip instead of adhesive on its tapes, Pro offer quite a similar-looking tape, the improbably-named Digital Carbon Smart Silicone tape. I haven't used it, but it's a few quid cheaper so would potentially be an alternative. Reusability might not be that high on everyone's list of priorities, but if it means that you save buying a new set of tape when you switch bars or an old-school stem, it gets a thumbs-up from me. At present there aren't many shops with this in stock, but we'd expect that it'll be appearing more widely in the near future. You're spoilt for choice when it comes to bar tape, but this is as nice as any I've used - recommended.

Verdict

A wrapper's delight - comfortable, super-grippy and reusable. Lovely bar tape from Tortec.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Tortec Super Comfort Handlebar Tape

Size tested: Black

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?

Super Comfort reusable, premium comfort bar tape with sticky gel adhesive and adjustable grip pattern.

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

Silicon gripper instead of adhesive. If you've ever cursed the mess that can be left behind when removing bar tape, you're going to love this.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
10/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
10/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

No issues yet.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
7/10

This is - OMG - nearly twice the weight of Lizard Skins DSP tape. I can live with that, though.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
9/10
Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Some people wouldn't entertain the idea of spending more than a tenner on tape, as we've seen below our Supacaz review. I've bought no end of cheap tape in the past and this has converted me - I'd spend my money on this one.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Brilliantly.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

All-round performance is excellent - combining comfort, grip, ease of installation and reusability.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Not much at all

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 9/10

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,

 

Jez spends his days making robots that drive cars but is happiest when on two wheels.  His roots are in mountain biking but he spends more time nowadays on the road, occasionally racing but more often just riding. 

22 comments

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Matt_S [289 posts] 2 years ago
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Why is it so heavy?

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fukawitribe [1920 posts] 2 years ago
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Matt_S wrote:

Why is it so heavy?

Seriously ?

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sponican [94 posts] 2 years ago
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Matt_S wrote:

Why is it so heavy?

Drill holes in it.

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redmeat [149 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

Tortec isn't the first manufacturer to use a silicone strip instead of adhesive on its tapes, Pro offer quite a similar-looking tape, the improbably-named Digital Carbon Smart Silicone tape. I haven't used it, but it's a few quid cheaper so would potentially be an alternative.

That Pro tape you mentioned is excellent.

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deblemund [263 posts] 2 years ago
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redmeat wrote:
Quote:

Tortec isn't the first manufacturer to use a silicone strip instead of adhesive on its tapes, Pro offer quite a similar-looking tape, the improbably-named Digital Carbon Smart Silicone tape. I haven't used it, but it's a few quid cheaper so would potentially be an alternative.

That Pro tape you mentioned is excellent.

Agreed. Seems to be discontinued though - can't find it anywhere to replace mine  2

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Anthony.C [221 posts] 2 years ago
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It's easy enough to find online, especially in the white. It's this Tortec one that isn't around yet.

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surly_by_name [496 posts] 2 years ago
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This "Twenty quid is about mid-range for bar tape - you can get reasonable tape for a tenner, with premium tapes from the likes of Supacaz coming in closer to £40" is a sure sign that cycling has jumped the shark. £20 as the MID RANGE? "Premium tape" is an oxymoron.

Bontrager gel cork tape (available from fine on line purveyors of bikes and related accessories for the princely sum on £7.99) has non-adhesive silicon backing (no sticky strip) that has the benefit of allowing you to have multiple attempts to get your bars looking really neat.

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dreamlx10 [185 posts] 2 years ago
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£20 is mid range ! Are you mad ? Cinelli gel tape is usually about £9.99.

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midschool [53 posts] 2 years ago
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surly_by_name wrote:

Bontrager gel cork tape (available from fine on line purveyors of bikes and related accessories for the princely sum on £7.99) has non-adhesive silicon backing (no sticky strip) that has the benefit of allowing you to have multiple attempts to get your bars looking really neat.

Bontrager gel cork tape is a completely different product, and im my opinion isnt worth a penny more than £7.99. If you going to compare prices of products it helps to compare apples with apples.  3

I really like the new crop of tacky and soft bar tapes coming to market. I have tried Supacaz but it wore out quite quickly, and also wasnt very stretchy which made fitting less than ideal. I have never seen this in shops but would be interested to take a look at it.

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Jez Ash [225 posts] 2 years ago
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Good to see the comments following the time-honoured pattern here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mid-range

Let's assume the cheapest you can buy bar tape is about £5, and we know that if you really want to, you can pay almost £40 for Supacaz tape. Ergo, mid-range.

I've used a bunch of £8-10 gel/cork tapes from the likes of Cinelli, SRAM et al. They're fine. This is better. It's much nicer to put on, massively grippier and a bit more comfortable than a good cork tape.

It's too early to say with any certainty, but I would expect it to last better with heavy use, too.

Oh, and if anyone can give me a link for some of that Pro tape in black, that would be great.

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redmeat [149 posts] 2 years ago
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I found the Pro tape on Tredz in black a couple of months ago. The silicon backing makes wrapping really easy.

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adrianoconnor [84 posts] 2 years ago
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As dreamlx10 already said, the cheap Bontrager cork tape isn't actually that great, you can't really compare that to a decent tape. I don't see £20 as expensive -- this is the main contact point where your hands are going to be spending hundreds and hundreds of hours. I used to suffer from pins and needles on long rides (with Bontrager's tape), and good gel tape seems to have helped fix that. Cincelli's tape (£10 online) is decent, and that's what I'm using now.

This one looks good. I'll give it a go next time I need to re-wrap my bars. I've found it's useful have a tape that doesn't mind being re-wrapped (like the Cinelli), because it makes it easier to keep the tops looking tidy when you need to get to the end of the cable outers (I've never managed to rethread an inner without removing the outer...).

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dave atkinson [6297 posts] 2 years ago
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If you're entirely happy with the performance of your £7.99 bar tape, then don't buy this £19.99 bar tape.

It's not rocket science, this.

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macrophotofly [248 posts] 2 years ago
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Jez Ash wrote:

Oh, and if anyone can give me a link for some of that Pro tape in black, that would be great.

That Pro tape is outstanding. I use it on both bikes. Just starting to wear out now on the first bike after 2 years.
Have bought it from w.com before, but just now I could only find on cr.com
http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/jp/en/pro-gel-bar-tape/rp-prod24226

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mtbtomo [225 posts] 2 years ago
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Deda tape is good for cheap sub-£10 tape, but the Zipp CX tape and Lizard skins dsp tapes on my other bikes are much nicer. I've found cork tape quickly looks a bit dowdy and just doesn't feel as nice.

I'd like to try this but does it come in any other colours?

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Matt_S [289 posts] 2 years ago
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fukawitribe wrote:
Matt_S wrote:

Why is it so heavy?

Seriously ?

Seriously.

It seems strange that it's double the weight of 95% of other tapes. I wondered why that was. Maybe the quoted weight includes some fancy brass end plugs or something?

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Jez Ash [225 posts] 2 years ago
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Matt_S wrote:

It seems strange that it's double the weight of 95% of other tapes. I wondered why that was. Maybe the quoted weight includes some fancy brass end plugs or something?

No, plastic plugs. I didn't weigh it but I assume someone at road.cc did when it came in. I think the difference is probably largely down to the weight of expectation.

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Jez Ash [225 posts] 2 years ago
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macrophotofly wrote:

Have bought it from w.com before, but just now I could only find on cr.com
http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/jp/en/pro-gel-bar-tape/rp-prod24226

I don't think that's the same one. Not digital carbon, whatever those mean.

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rookybiker [42 posts] 2 years ago
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I have that Pro tape on all my bikes. Comfortable, easy to clean and extremely durable. One has 12 thousand miles on it and still looks as new. It is not reusable after a summer or two though, the silicon strip will no longer peel off.

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Jez Ash [225 posts] 2 years ago
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High on Bikes have got it (the Pro tape) in black and white at the mo. Click, buy.

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deblemund [263 posts] 2 years ago
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Jez Ash wrote:

High on Bikes have got it (the Pro tape) in black and white at the mo. Click, buy.

Thanks!!

Sorry everyone .. I seem to have go the last one (unless they're limiting it to one each).

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mikebelluk [19 posts] 1 year ago
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Very good quality tape, put it on my bike and there's enough tape on each piece to cut 9" off to double wrap in front of the hoods for extra cushioning. As I get pins and needles in my hands it's a lot more comfortable.