B'Twin is Decathlon's in-house cycling brand and can generally be relied upon to deliver decent quality at a very good price. This bar tape is no exception - it's tough and reasonably comfortable, and often discounted below the very reasonable nine quid RRP.
The packaging boasts of the use of "microfibre for comfort", although I am fairly sure that most of the comfort comes from the use of a foam layer. The top surface has a vinyl feel to it, a bit shinier and less grippy when wet than some more expensive tapes, but I never had any issues with my (gloved) hands slipping. It's available in a modest range of colours - white, black, yellow, red, blue and pink - although I imagine they probably sell more of the first two than the others. I fitted white and black tape to two of my bikes - both have the red foam layer visible through the perforations which I quite liked, although this is a question of personal taste.
Like most bar tape, there is a strip of adhesive that you uncover as you go, by peeling off the paper backing strip. Decathlon claims that each roll of tape is 2m in length, and I certainly had no difficulty in covering the bars with a few inches to spare. Extra sections of tape are provided to go behind the brake levers, and there are chromed plastic bar plugs. I wasn't that impressed with the strip of finishing tape which is reasonably sticky but not sufficiently elastic and so I ended up using electrical tape instead.
When fitting a tape, a certain amount of elasticity makes things considerably easier. This is not an especially elastic bar tape, so the careful application of some force is needed to get it to sit nicely. On the plus side, it seems plenty strong, so you can pull quite hard when fitting it without worrying that it's going to break on you. The perforations make it easy to judge positioning when wrapping, as you can line up the edge of one turn with the holes on the previous layer - in use I'd be hard pressed to comment on whether they make a difference besides the aesthetic.
There's a decent amount of squish on the bars, especially given the bargain-basement price. This tape replaced Cinelli cork tape on my bike, which is very comfortable and not a whole lot more expensive than this. In comparison, the B'Twin tape has a similar amount of padding but sacrifices a bit of grip in exchange for toughness. Cinelli cork tape feels lovely in use but isn't the toughest out there, and the tape on my commuter was looking pretty sorry for itself after a couple of years and a few thousand miles. On the evidence of the time testing this Decathlon tape to date, I would expect it should last for a while longer. The white version of this tape is also much less susceptible to getting dirty, as the shiny surface is very easy to clean.
I almost always ride in gloves, so I'm not especially bothered with how well a bar tape deals with sweat, as long as it doesn't become too slippery, which this doesn't. If you do ride bare-handed you'd probably be better served by something a bit less shiny than this tape.
Great value, tough bar tape which looks pretty good and should last well - what's not to like?
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Make and model: BTwin Microfibre Handlebar Tape
Size tested: Black/Red
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?
Decathlon says "replacing your road handlebar tape. Comfortable and ultra durable tape"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
2 long tapes, 2 short finishing tapes, 2 silver-coloured end plugs, 2 adhesive finishing tapes. Material: microfibre. Tape length: 2m for each long tape / 9cm for each short tape. Also available in yellow, red, white, blue and pink.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Cheap, durable and easy to keep clean (for those who like white tape).
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not that stretchy, which makes fitting it a bit more of a challenge.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Absolutely.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
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.