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Verdict: 
Can be a faff to fit but worth it. Well padded tape with grip that's perfect for wet or sweaty hands
Weight: 
70g
ODI High Performance Road Bar Tape
8 10

Wrapping your handlebar with shiny new tape is worth taking your time over, and with the ODI High Performance tape that's exactly what you have to do. It's not the easiest to put on – but your patience will be rewarded.

The tape is 2.5mm thick and comprises an elastomeric outer layer backed with foam to take out any road buzz heading for your wrists. It's pretty comfortable too, even without any form of padded gloves, having a decent level of squish while maintaining a solid grip.

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The outer layer has a degree of tackiness to it which is brilliant in the wet or when your hands are sweaty, plus it's very hard wearing. The shiny finish has stayed bright and if it does get dirty you can just use a damp cloth to clean it.

The outer holds its shape well, which is great on the bike but can make fitting a little more time consuming, especially on tighter bends around the brake levers. It's worth really taking your time here as the finished result looks very professional.

Extra depth

There is another option if you want a bit more padding: ODI's Road/CX Bar Tape (£21.99). This has a similar construction to the High Performance but with both medium and high density backing for more shock absorbing while only increasing the thickness by 1mm. That extra depth is beneficial if you spend a lot of time in the rough back lanes or ride an extremely harsh frame.

I prefer a thin tape so the 2.5mm High Performance was ideal for me, though riding the two back to back I was amazed at the Road/CX's extra shock absorption without a massive increase in bar diameter.

Pick a colour

Colour coordination is an important factor when it comes to changing your bar tape and you get more options with the High Performance, eight in fact. Blue, Lime, Black, Celeste, Pink, Red, White, and Yellow. You only get half of those with the Road/CX – Blue, Black, Lime and Red – but with a cut out pattern in the outer the white backing shows through.

Both come with decent quality end plugs and a decent length of finishing tape – one of the first I've used that didn't require help from electrical tape.

Overall I really like the ODI bar tapes, although for ease of fitting they lose out to the likes of Fabric and Lizard Skins. But where they excel is comfort and longevity.

The 2.5mm version is perfect for the majority of road riding with or without gloves, though if you take in a bit of gravel tracks or pothole strewn lanes the 3.5mm offers a lot more comfort for little bulk.

Verdict

Can be a faff to fit but worth it. Well padded tape with grip that's perfect for wet or sweaty hands

road.cc test report

Make and model: ODI High Performance Road Bar Tape

Size tested: 2.5mm

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?

Aftermarket bar tape that offers excellent grip in all-weather conditions, with two thickness options depending on your padding requirements.

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

High Performance

*Thickness: 2.5mm

*Includes: Finishing Tape and Bar End Plugs

*Extra soft and tacky elastomeric outer layer for excellent traction in all conditions

*Backed with shock reducing foam for a smoother ride and less fatigue

*Textured surface pattern for improved traction

Road/CX

*Thickness: 3.5mm

*Includes: Finishing Tape and Bar End Plugs

*Extra soft and tacky elastomeric outer layer for excellent traction in all conditions

*Includes both high and medium density backing for improved shock absorption and a smoother ride

*Cut away outer layer provides improved gripping power regardless of condition

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
8/10
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

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

A great level of comfort and grip.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The grip with wet hands.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Fiddly to fit on tight bends.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

On the whole some very decent bar tape, which offers comfort and grip with longevity. You can get tape a lot cheaper, but the ODI HP gives a very professional looking finish and will stay looking new for a long time.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 36  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: Kinesis T2  My best bike is: Mason Definition

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed

 

Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.

4 comments

Avatar
hampstead_bandit [614 posts] 2 years ago
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I can see a square cut end of the bar tape in the second picture, under / left of the black ODI tape

not finished properly? should have a taper cut so its a seamless finish, and nothing to catch on which will cause the tape to unravell  3

Avatar
mylesrants [376 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

nice product,

Avatar
mylesrants [376 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

glass half empty I'm guessing

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LarryDavidJr [347 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
hampstead_bandit wrote:

I can see a square cut end of the bar tape in the second picture, under / left of the black ODI tape

not finished properly? should have a taper cut so its a seamless finish, and nothing to catch on which will cause the tape to unravell  3

Don't go there. I just put smootape on my bars, which seems like quite nice tape, but don't look under the left hand hood where I had to bodge a repair after botching the cut (too short) the first time......