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Spring has arrived (well, maybe...) which means it's generally a good time to treat your bike to some fresh bar tape after the hard graft of winter grinding has taken its toll. The Fizik Performance Classic Bar Tape is a good choice, being compliant and grippy, but it's not that easy to fit and the white doesn't stay that way for long, unsurprisingly.
Installation is a little tricky, but not impossible. The lack of stretch in the tape makes it difficult to get a clean wrap quickly, so you have to be careful and fastidious to ensure you get a neat, smooth and consistent wrap around both halves of the handlebar. The upside of the material construction is that it won't tear or deform easily when wrapping it. Sticky-back plastic keeps the tape securely in place, yet provides a bit of wiggle room if you need to go back a few wraps and start again.
Once in place, the Fizik tape provides a very comfortable setup. It has 3mm padding and this delivers a good injection of comfort on any bike it's fitted to, and is noticeably better at cushioning your hands from smaller vibrations than some thinner tapes. It's great if you've got long rides on your radar like sportives and audaxes.
It's a tactile tape that is comfortable with or without gloves, and if you do ride without gloves the grip factor is high, even on warmer rides when you're sweating or in rain. It's not quite as grippy as some, or Fizik's own Performance Tacky Touch tape if you want more stickiness from your bar tape, but it does a good job.
The tape is made from a perforated microtex material and it's durable and hardwearing. I've been testing it on an adventure bike that's been getting plenty of hard use in adverse conditions. The white colour, unsurprisingly, has rapidly deteriorated but it does clean up fairly well, though you'll never get it back to box fresh condition again. Other more UK suitable colours are available so steer clear of white if you want to maintain a good appearance for longer. One downside of washing the tape is that it takes ages to dry out.
Once fitted this classic looking tape is really comfortable, good for longer rides and rough terrain. Avoid white if you want it to look sharp after a few rides, though.
Comfortable and smart looking bar tape at a reasonable price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Fizik Performance Classic Bar Tape
Size tested: Length: 2100mm Thickness: 3mm
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?
Fizik distributor Extra says: "A great-looking 3mm bar tape that's available in all sorts of colours and touches to match any finishing kit. It will scrub up time and again to ensure your bike looks as good as new."
"fi'zi:k's Bar:Tapes are developed and tested in conjunction with leading riders – from road and cyclocross, to give the most demanding feedback on grip, comfort and feel across every terrain and distance, and in every type of weather conditions. Consequently, fi'zi:k has developed Bar:Tapes in options of three different thicknesses, and with a number of different textures. Each are available in a number of different colorways to suit your bike and club colors. All fi'zi:k Bar:Tapes are made using durable, breathable and tactile perforated Microtex material. Laser cut perforations mean no rips or tears."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
3mm extra thick design for better grip and superior comfort
Made from Microtex: ultra-durable, strong and breathable, washable
Foam-padded to dampen vibration
Conforms to riders' hands
Weight: 52g (each roll)
It's nudging towards the top end of what I'd expect to pay for bar tape but it's by no means overpriced.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Durable and comfortable for longer rides.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfortable and tactile.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A little tricky to fit.
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
Fizik products typically command a premium but looking through the bar tape road.cc testers have reviewed over the years, £17 isn't all that expensive – though you can certainly pay less. You're getting a high-quality bar tape here, with good comfort and durability, even if white isn't the most sensible colour choice (there are alternatives).
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
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: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes.