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Tortec are probably best known for their good-quality range of bike racks but they've also got a range of mudguards and are expanding, with new bottle cages and bar tapes for this year. They're distributed by Zyro and we went to have a look at some of their recent additions recently, coming home with some of this new top-end bar-tape.
They've a range of four different tapes, priced from £9.99 up to £19.99 for the Super Comfort version tested here. Twenty quid is about mid-range for bar tape - you can get reasonable tape for a tenner, with premium tapes from the likes of Supacaz coming in closer to £40. More expensive tapes tend to offer a better combination of grip, comfort, ease of installation and durability. I've used plenty of cheaper bar tape, and as a general rule you sacrifice a bit in one or two of these areas, getting a comfortable but short-lived tape, or a durable but rather unforgiving one.
The Super Comfort tape from Tortec ticks all the boxes - it's super grippy in use, with just the right amount of padding for mile after comfortable mile. It's also really nice to install. Rather than an adhesive strip, Tortec have used a silicone gripper strip on the back, very similar to what you'd find along the bottom of a jersey. This is grippy rather than sticky, so you can make as many adjustments as you need to, and you can even reuse it, as it'll peel off the bars without leaving any residue. There's plenty of stretch too so you can get round the corners on a set of drops without a problem, and it isn't one of those tapes that feels like it might snap if you pull too hard. Once installed the silicone does a great job of keeping it in place - I never noticed any movement.
Having used the tape for a few weeks on one bike, I tested the claimed reusability by removing it completely and fitting it to a different set of bars. Commonly, once you remove bar tape, it leaves half its sticky on the bar, and you find it has stretched permanently, both which would make it impossible to reuse. Happily neither was the case here, the silicone strip came off cleanly and the tape still had enough stretch to enable a perfectly good installation second time around. The photos above were of this second installation. It may be that after a year or two of use, the tape might not come off as cleanly or be quite as stretchy - it's too early to say on this.
A further benefit mentioned on the packaging was the "adjustable grip pattern". This one I'm a little bit less clear about; I suspect it may have got lost in translation. The tape has a Tortec logo repeated on it, but subtly in the same colour as the tape, plus a "not equal" sign (≠) repeated. I like to think this is a comment about not all bar tapes being created equal. I'm not a fan of shouty logo-heavy tape, much preferring a same-colour approach as seen here.
You can have this tape in black, white, red and green. The black isn't super-dark, it's more of a dark grey once you've installed it. It looks fine anyway, unless you were aiming for a match for a supergloss black saddle. Not having used the white version, I can't really comment on how it copes with dirt and sweat.
Out on the road it's a lovely tape, with a tacky (in a good way) surface that offers really excellent grip levels even in the wet. I almost always ride with gloves, but there's oodles of grip on bare skin too if that's how you roll. It's a similar surface to the much-vaunted Lizard Skins DSP tape and usefully cheaper than that tape's RRP. The silicone gel strip combines well with the rubbery tape to give impressive isolation against road buzz. I don't generally suffer from numbness or nerve problems in my hands when riding, but I'd guess that this would be a decent choice for those who do.
There's the usual pair of plastic bar plugs (which I found were pretty securely held in place once installed), plus lengths of a slightly different tape to cover behind the brakes - it has adhesive rather than silicone to keep it place while you're busy wrapping. I'm afraid I neglected to measure the total length of the tape itself, but suffice to say it was amply long for my 440mm drops including wrapping a figure-of-eight around the brakes. Plenty, in other words.
Tortec isn't the first manufacturer to use a silicone strip instead of adhesive on its tapes, Pro offer quite a similar-looking tape, the improbably-named Digital Carbon Smart Silicone tape. I haven't used it, but it's a few quid cheaper so would potentially be an alternative. Reusability might not be that high on everyone's list of priorities, but if it means that you save buying a new set of tape when you switch bars or an old-school stem, it gets a thumbs-up from me. At present there aren't many shops with this in stock, but we'd expect that it'll be appearing more widely in the near future. You're spoilt for choice when it comes to bar tape, but this is as nice as any I've used - recommended.
A wrapper's delight - comfortable, super-grippy and reusable. Lovely bar tape from Tortec.
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Make and model: Tortec Super Comfort Handlebar Tape
Size tested: Black
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?
Super Comfort reusable, premium comfort bar tape with sticky gel adhesive and adjustable grip pattern.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Silicon gripper instead of adhesive. If you've ever cursed the mess that can be left behind when removing bar tape, you're going to love this.
No issues yet.
This is - OMG - nearly twice the weight of Lizard Skins DSP tape. I can live with that, though.
Some people wouldn't entertain the idea of spending more than a tenner on tape, as we've seen below our Supacaz review. I've bought no end of cheap tape in the past and this has converted me - I'd spend my money on this one.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
All-round performance is excellent - combining comfort, grip, ease of installation and reusability.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not much at all
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
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.