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Verdict: 
If you don't like bumps in your bar tape then this is the stuff for you, with excellent comfort levels
Weight: 
68g

Selle Italia's Smootape is a solution to a problem I never really knew existed: it's a bar tape that sits flat and smooth when wrapped around the bar, as opposed to having ridges on the overlaps. This extra padded Gran Fondo version is very comfortable, though, so maybe keeping it smooth is a good thing.

  • Pros: Comfortable, easy to fit and remove
  • Cons: It only really works where you have a decent run of tape

If you tend to ride without gloves then comfortable bar tape is going to be quite high on your list of priorities, and this Smootape is a good choice. It's reasonably padded (the Gran Fondo version here is a little thicker than others in the range) without being bulky and offers plenty of grip.

> Find your nearest dealer here

What makes the Smootape 'special' is that both edges on the underside are tapered, so when you wrap the tape around the handlebar the overlaps remain totally flat as long as you line it up right.

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It's not foolproof, though, as it only works out when you don't have to tighten the tape wraps for the tight bends around the hoods and shifters, for instance. It does work where you are likely to have your hands for most of the ride, though, in the bottom of the drops and on the tops for instance.

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As I've said, the Smootape is comfortable but I think that is more to do with the tape itself rather than the way it is wrapped. Just to check, I rewrapped one side of the handlebar without being too worried about lining up the tapers, so left the tape with the usual overlaps. Comparing the two, there was very little difference between them.

The tape itself has a decent thickness and a certain amount of give to take the sting out of road buzz. It has plenty of stretch, too, when you are wrapping it around the bar, so tight bends and the like won't see you struggle to keep things taut. The back is tacky enough to grip the bar but you can unwind it and reapply if needs be.

> Read more road.cc reviews of bar tape here

The Gran Fondo version has an rrp of £17.99 which isn't excessive for a tape of this quality. Decent performers are similar, like Fizik's Performance range at £16.99 or Fabric's Hex tape at £19.99, so the Smootape is in good company.

On the whole, I'd buy the Smootape because it is a decent performing bar tape in terms of comfort and ease of fit, even without the tapered edges.

Verdict

If you don't like bumps in your bar tape then this is the stuff for you, with excellent comfort levels

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Selle Italia Smootape Gran Fondo Bar Tape

Size tested: Dimensions: 35x1800 mm

Tell us what the product is for

Selle Italia says, "LONG DISTANCE IS GRANFONDO

The smooth tape texture reinforced with EVA provides an easy firm grip and high comfort levels even for long-distance tracks. Asymmetrical hollowing makes for a smooth overlap and keeps vibrations to an absolute minimum. Durable and easy to wipe clean or replace, GRANFONDO Smootape comes in 5 different colours."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Dimensions: 35x1800 mm

Thickness: 2.5mm

Colours: Black, Blue, Green, Pink, Red, White and Yellow

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

The benefits of the smooth finish are minor but on the whole the Smootape is a very comfortable bar tape.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Ease of fitment.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Not as revolutionary as it makes out.

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 overall score

While the whole 'smooth finish' thing might not be a major performance gain, the tape itself is good quality, easy to fit and very comfortable for a decent price.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 39  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  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: 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.

2 comments

Avatar
srchar [1264 posts] 9 months ago
1 like
road.cc wrote:

What makes the Smootape 'special' is that both edges on the underside are tapered

...as are those of the cheapo Deda stuff I use on my commute bike.

Avatar
janusz0 [323 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

Every bar tape I've used for as long as I can remember (40 years?) has had tapered edges!  Which bar tapes aren't tapered? What's the point of not tapering them?  In practice, even on the straight part they tend to look like ~~~, but as long as they have smooth curves I'm happy.  If there were steps, I'd be very annoyed.