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Ritchey's WCS Race Bar Tape is a high quality offering, and it puts in a very good performance as well as looking exceptionally pretty. It's not quite as good in the wet as some I've tried, and it's expensive, but the comfort and grip it offers is very good.
This superlight PU tape isn't as stretchy as some, but that doesn't make it especially hard to fit and it's possible to get a nice tight wrap without too much hassle. The lack of stretchiness also means you can't spread it too thinly, like you can with expanded PU tape; that means you get good cushioning for all hand positions.
The overall look is very classy. I had the black tape and it looks great on the bar. A range of colours are available to match your saddle. You do do that, right? You get Ritchey finishing strips and silver plastic end plugs. The tape is perforated and embossed with the Ritchey logo.
The tape is very comfortable, offering good grip and padding. It's one of the most plush-feeling tapes I've tried, with the brushed finish giving it a luxurious feel. When it's wet it's not quite as grippy as something like Lizard Skins DSP, or the excellent Radial Cycles Grippy bar tape, but it's still good. It's nicer-looking than either of those two tapes, and for a Sunday-best build that might be a higher priority. If you're just looking for the tape to perform well then it does, no doubt.
I'd be hard pressed to justify spending nearly three times as much as I would on the Radial tape, unless I needed it in a funky colour. It's a similar price to Lizard Skins and other colourful options such as Fizik Performance, although you're more likely to find those brands discounted online.
Overall the performance is very good, the value more of a question mark. If you won't miss the £30 and you want something classy to finish off a posh build, then it's well worth a look.
High quality bar tape with excellent finish and comfort, with a price tag to match
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Ritchey Race Bar Tape
Size tested: 1.8mm thick
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?
"When everything is on the line, questioning your handlebar wrap shouldn't be on your mind. Just the right amount of cushion and a grippy feel for enhanced hand to bar interaction. Available in an assortment of colors."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* Superlight PU with perforations, 1.8mm thick
* Embossed RITCHEY Logo
* Available in multiple colors
* Only 63g.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's very nice bar tape.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfort, good looks.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Expensive, not as good in the wet as some.
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
Good performance and looks; expensive considering the other options available though.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.