Joystick's new Analog bar tape is a cinch to fit and comfortable to use, with loads of grip in both wet and dry. In fact it's pretty darn good – as long as you're happy to pay top money for tape.
- Pros: Tacky feel for plenty of grip, minimal padding but still comfortable
- Cons: Up there at the top end of price point
Unless it's to keep my hands warm in the winter, I very rarely wear mitts or gloves preferring to do away with another layer between one of my contact points and the bike. Don't even get me started on tan lines either!
For this reason I need a comfortable bar tape but it has to be quite thin; I'm not a massive fan of a lot of bulk from squidgy foam or the like.
This Analog stuff hits the nail on the head with its 2.8mm thickness and firm but slightly compressive material. It's very similar to the likes of the Supacaz Kush bar tape, which just happens to be one of my favourites.
The Analog is pretty soft to the touch and thanks to its compound it has a very slight tackiness to it, which is great for grip in the rain or when you have sweaty palms. The 'tread' helps a little here too.
In the pack you get two rolls, both of which are just over a metre long so you don't have to be too careful with your wrapping on larger diameter or wider handlebars.
It's really easy to wrap as it's quite pliable and you can really stretch it around the tight bends of the shifter and bar without the need for the little piece of tape that most suppliers include for this job. Joystick doesn't provide any by the way, but if that's the way you wrap your bars then there is plenty of spare on each roll to snip a bit off the ends.
The tape sticks well to the handlebar and it can easily be undone and refitted without damage, something you want from a tape of this price.
To finish things off neatly you get bar end plugs with a hex bolt fitted to adjust the tension and clamp the bar tape inside the bar. It always gives a much nicer finish in my opinion than the push fit options.
So... let's talk money.
You can pick bar tape for a matter of a few quid and some of it is very good. If you spend a lot of hours on the bike then it's worth investing a little more, even if it's not just for comfort's sake but wear and tear. A tape like the Analog will stay looking fresher for a lot longer, too – and it comes in various colours.
At £31 it's about one of the most expensive bar tapes out there, up with the aforementioned Supacaz which you can pick up for around £30 on the internet. Lizard Skins DSP tape is another of my favourites and one that I'll happily drop around £30 on.
The Joystick Analog tape is easily as good a performer as both of these, and for those of you who are happy to pay for it then it is a good investment.
Priced at the high end of the market but justified by its performance
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Joystick Analog Bar Tape
Size tested: 2.8mm Thick x 2150mm long
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?
Joystick says, "With our new Analog Bar Tape we prioritized both comfort and durability. Using the latest in lightweight vibration-damping materials, we created an ergonomic interface with unprecedented hand-feel for those long days on the road. By carefully balancing lightweight performance with long-term durability, Analog Bar Tape will last much longer than similar products on the market. Try it for yourself - we guarantee you'll feel the difference.
"Available in a variety of colors, Analog Bar Tape lets you customize your bike to suit your taste or match your team's kit. It's also the exclusive choice of UCI World Tour Team Dimension Data for 2018."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
2.8mm Thick x 2150mm long
30grams per roll includes 2 rolls, bar plugs and finishing tape
Colours - pink, black, orange, yellow, blue, red and white
That is 30g per roll, which is quite impressive for the type of tape.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really easy to fit and lovely to ride on.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Great comfort and grip.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Its price will put some riders off.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At £31 it's about one of the most expensive bar tapes out there, up with Supacaz Kush and Lizard Skins DSP tape.
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
The Analog bar tape is a great balance of grip and comfort and it should last plenty of miles too. A big investment, but worth it in the long run.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 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
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!