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Lizard Skins DSP (Dura Soft polymer) has to be the most interesting bar wrap I’ve come across in a decade. It's available in a choice of eight colours and weighs a featherweight 56g including end plugs.
When I opened the packaging and started to put it on things didn’t look so promising, the rubberised texture and 2.5mm thickness requires a very different technique to traditional cork/gel coverings to achieve a consistently uniform overlap.
Despite firm but considered binding, our lime green test sample sheared infuriatingly along the curve of the right hand drop. Surprisingly tolerant of being unwound, I managed to affect a seamless repair with the existing roll. There’s ample coverage for 46cm bars, which means there's more than enough to give more overlap on narrower bars for even greater cushioning from road shock.
When I got my hands on them, my initial misgivings melted away, the tacky embossed consistency is surprisingly tactile and gives fantastic comfort and grip in gloved or bare hands, even for prolonged periods, making a particularly good choice for audax, 'cross and touring mounts.
While not overly susceptible to grime, the instructions recommend cleaning with water and gentle drying with a soft towel, although I used a citrus-based degreaser rinsed with a damp car sponge without any notable deterioration.
In terms of performance then – all good, but, £25 is pricey for bar tape and it wouldn’t be my first choice on a hack but anyone seeking unparalleled comfort and grip without spoiling their machine’s clean lines won’t be disappointed.
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Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)