When it comes to choosing new bar tape for your road bike, there is no shortage of choices. California-based Supacaz may not be the most well known name in this market but their Super Sticky Kush tape is an excellent performer with a really nice cushioned feel. The smart screw-in bar end plugs help justify the high price tag.
A look at the Supacaz website reveals an almost dizzying choice of colours, and lots of split colour schemes if you want a different colour on the drops compared to the tops, so loads opportunity for customising your bike if you find black or white, the two most popular bar tape colours, just too restrictive. I'm a bit of a fan of white bar tape (year-round) and so chose the all-white colour option.
It's a nice shade of white and finished with a very faint pattern, you only really notice it up close. This pattern helps to line up the tape as you're wrapping it around the bars. It's easy to install, helped by the good degree of stretch available in the tape to pull it taut around the handlebars.
The backing is lined with a thin strip of sticker tape, a little unnecessary in my book as the tension of the tape is usually enough to secure it in place. Supercaz give you a generous length of tape too so there's no issue with coming up short on bigger handlebars. You don't get any of the extra little sections of tape usually supplied, to go around the brake lever clamp, but a figure of eight wrap sorts that out easily enough. You could always snip a bit of the end of the tape if you prefer the other method.
Rather than have you press a cheap plastic bar plug into the end of the handlebars, Supacaz include their very neat Star Plugs. They're made from aluminium with an expanding wedge inside operated by a 3mm Allen key, with laser etched graphics. Simply push into the end of the handlebar, tighten the bolt and you're left with a very neat and tidy finish. This really sets the Supacaz bar tape apart, and certainly helps offset the rather high price.
The performance of the tape is top notch too. It's nicely padded, with just enough squish to provide good vibration damping and offers a little extra comfort. I've tested a lot of bar tape in my time and this is among the nicest I've used, with a satisfying feel in the hands that adds to the pleasure of riding a bicycle. The tape has a high level of grip too, and that makes riding without gloves easy as, even when sweaty, the tape is non-slip. Durability has been good so far too, and the white colour is easily cleaned.
Not all bar tape is created equal and the performance of the Supacaz tape puts it among the best available. Pricey, but the Star Plugs are a very nice feature
Comfortable and smart looking with neat bar plug & wide range of colours
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Supacaz Super Sticky Kush bar tape
Size tested: Neon 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?
Supacaz produces the flashiest high end cycling accessories and apparel in the world. With one eye on performance, another on quality and a firm grasp on style, Supacaz perfectly blends the their elements to come up with a range of products that work as good as they look! Bar tape is the critical contact point between your hands and the bicycle. The patented Supacaz Super Sticky Kush Handlebar Tape is the most advanced bar tape ever made providing unparalleled comfort, control and longevity whilst simultaneously upgrading the look of your pride and joy.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Anti-slip for super grip
Shockproof silicone gel
No more gloves
Last 5 times longer than traditional bar tape
Bar plugs are powercoated and laser etched
Includes 2 x Star Plugz
Really nice feel, grippy and cushioning.
Still early days but the tape is holding up well with daily abuse, and it's easy to keep clean.
Not as cushioning as the ESI grips I tested recently, but for thin bar tape, a decent amount of vibration absorption.
Pricey, but the smart bar end plugs really offer a lot of extra value.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
There's load of choice when in the market for new bar tape, making a decision really difficult, and the Supacaz bar tape is a top choice that performs well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfortable and feels good. Love the bar end plugs.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The sticky back lining; not entirely convinced it's necessary.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 31 Height: 180 Weight: 67
I usually ride: My best bike is:
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: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.