The Carogna Tape from Italian company Effetto Mariposa makes the fitting of tubs an absolute doddle even for the first time tubular user, and thanks to its ease of use, cleanliness and unbelievable adhesive qualities, I for one will never be using glue again.
I've used tubular tyres for the best part of 10 years and for most I've used glue, namely Vittoria's Mastik One, to attach them to the rim. This is mostly because I was always warned by the old boys of the club run never to use tape. It's a bit of an art form to not end up with hands and legs (and the draining board, worktop, plus your three-year-old son's head – but that's another story all together) covered in glue, but the finished product has always left me with heaps of confidence that a high pressure, skinny racing tyre isn't likely to roll off mid time trial.
Using the Carogna gave me that same confidence, with the added bonus that after I'd fitted the tyre my boy didn't need an emergency haircut before his mother came home...
The Carogna, in its simplest form, is a double-sided sticky tape, though each side has differing properties. Rim side gets an acrylic glue, which is a non-permanent solution. The theory is that when you remove the tyre, the glue goes with it rather than staying on the rim – a big plus against mastik and even other tapes like Tufo's version. It doesn't come off the rim easily, mind. Once it's cured the bond is very strong and it takes some serious manhandling to get the tyre off the wheel.
The tape comes in a roll, two metres long in this instance, which is enough to do one 700c rim, separated by a sheet of removable backing to stop the tape sticking to itself. To kick things off you stick the rim side of the tape next to the valve hole, unrolling it around the rim as you go, applying a little pressure with your thumb to seat it. Once you are back at the opposite side of the valve hole you snip it to length, leaving the hole clear and also leaving on the protective backing tyre side. You just pull 25mm or so out to the side of the rim to aid removal, watch the video here.
You now whack your tyre on and pump it up to 60psi before centreing the tyre on the rim. This is where things normally get messy with glue – things are drying fast and you are nudging the tub side to side to get things running true. If things go badly, glue gets on the sidewall, then your hands, then your expensive carbon rims...
With the Mariposa you get none of this. The tyre isn't yet stuck, so you can play about with it, and only when you are ready do you pull out the protective backing between tape and tyre. Then pump the tyre up to its recommended maximum pressure and let things cure.
The glue on the tyre side permanently fixes to the tub and it's actually been designed for underwater applications so nothing out on the road is going to affect its adhesion. The tape is about 1.5mm thick, but with the pressure from the tyre this flattens down and moulds to the contours of the wheel and tyre.
Mariposa recommends a fitting temperature range of 21-38°C; at this, within eight hours it will have reached 80 per cent of its adhesion. Give it a full day and it's totally cured.
Once everything is cured and the tyres are rolling they feel just as secure, if not more so, than with glue. High speed, tight corners like roundabouts or junctions at race pace don't show up any feelings of movement or slippage.
Mariposa claims some impressive temperature ranges for the tape's use. Once cured it'll stay stuck right down to -40°C and up as far as 93°C for continued use. For the European mountain descenders among us, the Carogna can handle up to 149°C for hours without affecting its longevity, ideal for those heavy-braking, hot carbon fibre rims. Obviously this is all a little bit tricky for us to test, but as summer has turned to autumn (and winter some days!), I haven't noticed any changes.
I left the tape on for a good few months to see how Mariposa's claims of the Carogna leaving no residue stood up to real life testing, and other than a few witness lines it was as if the rims were brand new once I'd taken the tyre off. The only downside to this would be if you were changing the tub at the side of the road; if you'd used glue you'd have enough tackiness to hold the new tub on until you got home.
Weight-wise, things are similar across the board. A single tube of Vittoria Mastik is 30g; okay, some of that will be lost during the curing process, but the Mariposa's 31g (once fitted, removal of the roll, backing tape and so on) is admiral and it's worth sacrificing a couple of grams for the ease of fitment.
So, price? At £9.99 for this 16.5mm x 2m roll (16m shop roll - £59.99), which is suitable for one rim up to 21mm wide, that is 70 per cent more than a tube of glue and 25 per cent more than the similar Tufo tape, but the Mariposa has a more secure feel to it, and if its claims of the high temperature range are true, it'd be better suited to those summer Alpine descents.
It's also available in a 20mm and 25mm width for £12.99 (2m) or £69.99 (16m shop roll) to cover other road and off road tyres. Apparently low-pressure applications won't cause the tyres to roll off as once the glues have cured, the adhesion strength stays the same regardless of pressure.
Overall the Effetto Mariposa tape is brilliant: so easy to fit and use, and it offers the same ride feel to that of glue without the mess. The added cost is negligible unless you swap your tubs around a lot. I definitely won't be gluing anytime soon.
The benchmark-setter in the world of tubular adhesive tapes
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Make and model: Effetto Mariposa Carogna tub tape
Size tested: 16.5mm width
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?
The Mariposa tape is designed to cover every tubular application possible, on and off road. Compared with others on the market I reckon it has moved things up a notch to the point where gluing tubs no longer needs to be an option.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Effetto Mariposa says:
Universal performance: Carogna has been tested and is designed to perform flawlessly on any rim material (aluminium, carbon), with any tubular (seamless, handmade, vulcanized sew-ups...), on and off-road (cyclocross, mountain bike).
Specific adhesive properties on rim and tubular: the tape has two application-specific sides:
Semi-structural and removable on the rim-side: adhesion is guaranteed by industrial-grade acrylic glue, native to the base tape. This means that when removing the tubular (breaking its bond with the rim), the acrylic glue will stay on the tape, not on the rim. Acrylic has a good adhesion on both aluminium and carbon without any specific surface preparation.
Permanent on the tubular side: there's a 1 mm-thick layer of a recently-developed permanent glue for underwater applications. This thick glue film will move and spread when the tubular is first inflated, ensuring optimized contact with any tubular base tape geometry. Humidity is obviously not an issue, and this glue adheres well to any kind of base tape material (nylon, cotton, poly-cotton) or external finishing (raw, brushed, or coated by neoprene).
Wide temperature range: Once adhesion is set, the use at low temperatures (down to -40°C) is not a problem. Thermal resistance of all materials used in the manufacture of Carogna was a high priority: Carogna will provide a perfect bonding at 150°C for extended periods (hours), exceeding the heat-resistance of even the best mastics and widely exceeding the heat-resistance of any other tubular tape.
Optimized adhesive surface: Adhesion is very strong and uniform across the whole circumference of the rim for all tubulars and it is also uniform across the tubular base tape. One short-coming of tubular tape to-date has been limited adhesion at the edges of the base tape or in the centre of tubulars with a raised centre seam. Carogna solves these problems.
Optimal use: The ideal thermal range for application of Carogna is between 21°C and 38°C, allowing 8 hours to reach 80% of the adhesive strength. Applying the tape below 10°C is not recommended.
The tape is so easy to fit thanks to its design, and the differing glues create a firm bond.
Strong adhesion with glue-like performance.
I certainly didn't have any issues with differing temperature ranges or tyre pressures.
On par with its competitors.
More expensive than most, but worth the extra few quid for its ease of fitment.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Spot on: stuck well and removal was far from tricky.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The ease of fitment.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
If it could match Tufo's rrp then it would be near perfect.
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
It's the best form of tubular fitment I've ever used, with on-the-road performance to match. I tend to only use tubs on my best bike and dry days, so with very few 'fits and removals' of tyres, the higher price compared with Tufo isn't an issue for me.
About the tester
Age: 37 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Kinesis T2 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.