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A key aspect to a nice bike is a clean and comfortable cockpit. Spending long days in the saddle means an equally arduous time spent propped up by your hands where poor bar tape can make for a painful experience. The VEL Snake Bar Tape is a neat looking option with good padding at a reasonable price.
Made from what Vel calls "dura polymer", the tape is well padded and comfortable, although not amazingly grippy. The finish reminds me of Lizard Skins bar tape but with a less tacky, sticky finish. Less of a problem as we head into summer, but in wet conditions this means you have to grip the bars a little tighter than you might want. The tape is claimed to neutralise vibrations which is a bold claim for the best of bar tapes, but does a decent job at minimising road roughness provided you aren't seeking any mystical cobbles.
The roll is tough and stretchy making it easy to wrap cleanly without any folds or tears when pulled tight. There is plenty of length to allow for the widest of bars or for double wrapping. The adhesive backing is strong, holding the wrap in place, but equally won't ruin the tape if you want to remove it for new cables or rewrapping. A lack of extra strip for around the shifters is an annoyance, making it a little fiddlier to get a neat finish around the hoods, but it's still doable with some care,and you can always cut your own.
With six colours to choose from you won't be struggling to find one that suits your style. The finishing strips are simple solid colour with no logos which makes for a classy finish. However, having rewrapped the bars a few times, I had to resort to using electrical tape as the strips naturally lost their stickiness. The final touches of the VEL end plugs add to the neat finish and sit snugly and securely in the ends of the bar.
Being a Fizik bar tape snob, I've always preferred a fabric style tape as opposed to padded. Having used the VEL Snake Bar Tape for commuting the past few weeks I still haven't been fully converted, but there are some definite positives with greatly increased comfort being a critical one. If you're looking for a strong, neat and fairly easy to wrap tape at a reasonable price, this is up your street, just be a little wary of the grip levels when it gets wet.
Comfortable bar tape, just lacking a little in grip when wet.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Vel Bar tape Snake 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?
VEL Snake Tape for road handle bars. Said to be comfortable and bring confidence to the rider. They are certainly comfortable but not all that grippy, especially in the wet.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Dura polymer tape
Adhesive backing for a reliable non-slip fit
Includes finishing strips and VEL end plugs
Well made product with a touch of class to it with nice rubber topped ends plugs and simple finishing strips. Well packaged too.
Struggles in the wet and the finish wasn't a grippy tacky one which many would prefer. Easy to wrap apart from not having extra material to cover the shifters.
Haven't degraded despite having been ridden through poor weather. Only the finishing strips lost their stickiness from being removed a few times.
Very comfortable with good padding making them easy to ride for a long period of time.
Priced in the middle of the market, but seems right for what you get. Nice looking and comfortable tape, but nothing exceptional.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed well for the most part, bar when it was a wet.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Very simple and clean look for your bars. Nice and comfortable too with plenty of padding. I like the VEL bar ends too, more than just the usual plastic ends.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The bars got a little slippery when wet and there was no extra material for wrapping around the shifters making the wrapping process a little more tricky.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
It was certainly a good bar tape at a decent price, but not much more than that. Wasn't especially excited by the product, but does the job well enough.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Cadx My best bike is: Scott CR1 Pro
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives,