Guee Silicone Bartape is made from medical grade silicone, which has its advantages over more traditional coverings. The material's natural tenacity means it's super-dependable in the wet and requires no backing adhesive, enabling effortless unwinding for cable replacement, bar swaps or aesthetic perfection.
Twenty five quid buys two rolls, expandable wedge plugs and finishing strips. If not overly generous, lengths are adequate: covering flared drops – with double-ups at key, personalised points – was no problem, and I was able to dress my Univega's moustache bar with enough left over for my Holdsworth's oversized pursuit type.
Guee is much closer in texture to the space age polymer type than the Genetic Flare that I've been using for almost 15 months, since I started testing it last year.
Casting off, getting that formative loop inside the bar end, required a bit of care, but otherwise it's a question of weaving around with a firm, even pressure. This blend is less rubbery than some I've used, supposedly weatherproof and less susceptible to stretch marks, so a firmer hand won't spoil the aesthetic.
Perhaps it's a colour thing, but the black on test seemed to enjoy a less chunky profile than some. Alternatives are blue, pink, red, white, green, yellow and orange. Lighter colours, coupled with the dimpled texture, are likely to show the dirt, so as an experiment I popped it in the wash at 30 degrees; 45 minutes later, it emerged completely unscathed and, surprisingly enough, more compliant.
Refitting, it seems pretty obedient – no major unravelling dramas should you be called away at a crucial moment. Keep some decent quality electrical tape handy for the finishing touches, though: the OEM finishing strips are OK in a pinch, but tore easily, and the adhesive is adequate rather than good.
The Guee's dimpled texture provides all the purchase you could want. Rain and sweat simply bead up and roll away, offering confidence-inspiring grip whether you're hurtling along through the S bends at 25mph, weaving through technical forest trails, or flicking around potholes and similar hazards in town.
By contrast, insulation from low-level vibration is good rather than great, and lagged a little behind the Genetic – especially off-road – although there's been no tingling or similar fatigue after 50 road miles. I wouldn't recommend riding bare-handed on rides longer than 10-12 miles.
To date, inevitable everyday carelessness hasn't left any obvious calling cards and with basic care it should last. Although hardly small change, £25 isn't outlandish compared with some, although I'm not convinced it's markedly superior to the Genetic Flare – not £6 better anyway.
Good alternative to sophisticated polymer types, and many will prefer the feel
road.cc test report
Make and model: Guee Silicone Bartape
Size tested: n/a
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?
Guee says: "The GUEE SIO Bar Tape is made with 100% medical grade silicone. Our SIO Bar Tape is ultra-soft, durable, eco-friendly, and due to its unique nature it can be re-wrapped multiple times without leaving any adhesive trace on the handle bars. The tape is weatherproof and washable, keeping the bars cleaner and improving longevity. Our silicone bar tapes are supplied with changeable end plugs, finishing tape, and come in various stylish colours. The GUEE SIO Bar Tape is a great solution for triathletes, long-distance cyclists, as well as everyday riders."
Has a less rubbery texture than some I've tested, which may win converts, but it's not quite so generous length-wise, and is better suited to road rather than 'cross or rough stuff touring.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Non-toxic (Passed EN71-3 & PAKs)
Colours: Black/ White/ Red/ Yellow/ Lime Green/ Blue/ Pink/ Orange
SIO Dimension : 31mm(W)*2.6mm (T)*1680mm (L)
Silicone Bartape *2
Deluxe end plug *2
Finish Tape *2
Seems well made and tough, although in keeping with other silicone based tapes, a little care is needed to prevent tearing where it enters the bar end.
Very good in most contexts, although shock absorbency is less impressive than the Genetic Flare I tested last year.
Generally very comfortable, with a more natural feeling texture than some. The dimpled texture improves purchase in very wet conditions.
Good value, especially since it can be rewound and refitted many times.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tactile, and tenacious in the wet, the low-profile dimpled effect offers excellent purchase and doesn't seem susceptible to stretch marks or similar fatigue. However, shock absorbency isn't on par with some I've used, which will be a consideration for 'cross racers and more adventurous tourists.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Wealth of colours, nice to fit and refit, great aesthetics and all-weather purchase.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing in particular, although the lengths are less generous than some I've tested, and while it's good for road duties, damping wasn't so impressive off-road.
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
Good bar wrap that delivers decent performance all-round. However, texture and colour choice aside, I'm not sure it's £6 better than the Genetic Flare.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)