You can't beat a top quality bar tape to finish off a bike build and the new Hex tape from component and accessories company Fabric certainly provides that. It looks good and feels good too.
The popularity of these rubber style bar tapes has been increasing rapidly over the last few years mostly because they offer a longer lifespan and better grip than cork or foam alternatives. A lot of them are reusable, including the Fabric Hex tape, which is handy if you've got to do a cable change or something before the tape has worn out.
The Hex, as Fabric describes it, is 'constructed from a rubberised foam with a layer of silicone gel for shock absorption.'
This means that you get a tape that is very grippy in both the wet and dry by being ever so slightly tacky. It's also ideal for riders like me who don't wear gloves – tan lines innit.
The silicone gel provides a very effective cushion against the vibrations and bumps that travel up from the road, without being overly thick or needing the likes of extra gel pads to be stuck beneath.
Fitting is easy as each roll has plenty of material on it; easily enough to cover the widest of road bars while still providing a decent overlap.
The natural stretch in the tape means you can really follow the contours of the handlebars and shifter bodies without any unsightly bumps or creases. Because there's no adhesive on the back you can keep undoing it and re-wrapping until you're happy.
In the pack you get two rolls of tape, two strips of finishing tape and a couple of expandable bar plugs that tighten with a 3mm Allen key. I'm a fan of these as once in they stay secure, plus you don't have to be quite so specific about how much tape overlap you've left.
You can get bar tape for a few quid from various outlets so what would make you spend twenty pounds on the Fabric Hex? Well you've got the reasons I mentioned above plus the fact the Fabric is as good as my favourite tape, Supacaz Super Sticky Kush stuff and that can cost at least another £15 or so.
The only thing I'm not a fan of with the Fabric tape, and I'm being super anal about this here, is the fact that the tape is only coloured on the top so when you're looking at the bike from the side you can see little strips of white on each wrap.
As far as durability goes you can't knock the Fabric tape, and another big plus is the fact that it is easily cleanable. Oily marks from messing around with an unshipped chain just washed straight off when I got home.
Overall the Hex tape is grippy, comfortable, good looking and rather good value for money.
Easy to fit bar tape with excellent comfort and grip
road.cc test report
Make and model: Fabric Hex Handlebar Tape
Size tested: Blue
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?
Fabric say: "Hex tape has a deep embossed pattern for maximum grip and a shock absorbing layer of silicone gel for increased comfort. Simple to wrap, reusable and suitable with or without gloves."
The Hex is a comfortable bar tape which is easy to fit and comfortable to use.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The new Fabric Hex tape is made of a high grip rubberised foam.
Two rolls included
Expanding bar plugs
It feels a quality bar tape.
Very grippy in the wet and provides everything you want from a bar tape.
Cleans up well and with the amount of stretch it has means it won't tear or break while being fitted.
A bit heavier than other tapes of this type we've tested but we're only talking about 10g or so.
The Hex tape feels very comfortable with the rubber style finishing absorbing a lot of the road buzz without being overly thick.
Twenty pounds is good for this type of tape with others coming in £5 to £10 higher.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It adds a nice finishing touch to your pride and joy plus being comfortable and grippy it's all you really want from a bar tape.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The ease of fit.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The white backing can be seen from the side when wrapped.
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
The Fabric Hex tape compares well to my current favourite Supercaz tape for grip and comfort but the fact that the Hex comes in at virtually half the price makes it hard to fault.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike 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.