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Lizard Skins DSP dual colour bar tape is the latest incarnation of one of my all-time favourite bar coverings perfectly suited to most drop-bar applications from Audax and road racing right through to 'cross and rough stuff. Low density rubberised construction Insulates against road shock without spoiling a bike's clean lines or leaving the cockpit feeling remote. However, while the dimpled surface isn't overly prone to ingrained dirt, the non-slip coating requires careful cleaning so cushioned glossy types or dark colours remain the better option for 'crossers, winter hacks and others in hard service.
Despite being 2.5mm thick, the complete set weighs a mere 55g (including plugs) and there's sufficient for dressing the widest of flared drops with graceful, flowing overlap. This has the added bonus of allowing double-ups at key contact points ( tops and lower drop in particular). Remove any existing tape and backing before giving the bars a once-over with a rag dipped in solvent. The instructions recommend starting at the bottom, leaving ten millimetres stray to hold the plugs in position and wrap in the time-honoured pattern, applying 'Light pressure' to prevent premature fatigue. In practice this is fairly intuitive and while tenacious, the backing was tolerant of repeated unravelling/refitting at key points. Once satisfied with the effect, capture the tops with good quality electrical tape for perfect alignment before applying the coordinated finishing strips.
Purchase comfort and control is vastly superior to traditional wraps whether in gloved or bare hands, inspiring confidence when charging full-pelt into wet greasy descents. Shock absorbency is equally impressive, relieving stress in my hands and shoulders without leaving the bars feeling remote when negotiating poorly surfaced roads for several hours. Our sample's two-tone red/white livery coordinated beautifully with the Univega and seems very durable. However, the DSP is higher maintenance than common or garden cork wrap. Inevitably, it will become grubby and when it does, spray liberally with a mild citrus bike-wash and massage gently with an old, clean towel. Don't be tempted by the warm soapy water and brush routine though- this might restore the sparkle but the non-slip properties will vanish pretty much immediately.
Unique bar tape giving superior comfort and control over traditional types not the cheapest though & be careful how you clean it
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Make and model: Lizard Skins DSP Dual Colour Bar tape
Size tested: Red
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?
Lizard Skins DuraSoft Polymer (DSP) Bar Tape is a worldwide patented product that is already taking the road racing market by storm.
"With its light weight, and vibration damping construction DuraSoft Polymer bar tape combines performance with all day comfort. Its wide range of contempory colours means you'll be able to get the perfect colour combination for your bike".
No contention here.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Sophisticated polymer construction incorporating a non-slip coating 55g including plugs.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
This has to be the most luxurious wrap I've come accross. The rubberised texture can take a little getting used to but numbs road/trail buzz while offering unparalelled grip come rain or shine in gloved or bare hands. However £28 isn't small change so I'd be inclined to save it for the best bike.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
There's ample coverage for the widest of drops,shock absorbtion and purchase are second to none and it's very tolerant of repeated un/wrapping.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Expensive and requires specialist care come wash-day.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes- for higher end/high mileage road and audax bikes
Age: 37 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
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)