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Lizard Skins DSP race is the slimline version of the marques super tenacious, shock absorbent polymer based wrap aimed at racers keen to shave every last gram from their bikes without sacrificing comfort. That said; handlebar coverings like saddles and other contact points are very, very personal affairs. Having dressed the Teenage Dream's curvaceous bell-laps in the grey version and run it for some eighteen months, I've been very pleasantly surprised. By the same token, the £25 asking price, modest colour choice and more involved aftercare could prove a deal-breaker.
Available in a choice of red, white, black or grey and tipping the scales at a feathery 53g (including plugs), two hundred and eight centimetres of the rubbery textured tape will cover most bars effortlessly, entertaining bespoke double-ups which is great news for mile munching audax riders looking for neat, tidy shock absorption. Point seven of a millimetre sounds immaterial but achieving graceful, snug and even patterns is markedly easier compared with it's stockier sibling. That said, the adhesive shares the same tolerant qualities and can be un/rewound without complication when first applied. Keep some good quality electrical tape handy-you'll need this to tack the tops in place before adding the decorative finishing strips. Fancying some additional cushioning for the TD's Cinelli mini tri bars, I added the white sample but opted to leave the electrical tape to contrast.
The rubberised texture is best described as tactile flypaper, giving a deep sense of connection with the bars whatever the elements bestow. The advantages of this are best appreciated after several hours when tiredness makes slippery coverings an unwelcome distraction and this additional security inspires confidence when tackling long, greasy descents or hammering along sharp inclines. Damping is equally impressive, although most effective when combating low-level road vibration but not cross or rough/stuff touring.
The grey still looks in great shape but the white tainted very, very quickly, showing every smudge. Some may scoff at the need for sensitive cleaning but gently wiping the grey with a warm rag dipped in citrus bike wash has retained the cosmetic and structural properties. By contrast three soapy water cleanses in as many weeks has partially consumed the tenacity of our white sample.
Superb performance but high price tag, limited colour choice and more careful cleaning might be a deal-breaker
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Make and model: Lizard Skins DSP Race Bar Tape
Size tested: Black - ultra lightweight
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".
Much the same as the original.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
1.8mm thick Durasoft polymer impregnated with a non-slip coating.
I have a set still going very strong after eighteen months.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
This is basically the same product, just the diet version for those seeking to shave every last gram without sacraficing comfort. In practical terms there is little to choose between the two types. Insulation from roadshock and wet-weather control are so good, they have to be appreciated first-hand.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Pretty much everything-at least in terms of comfort and control.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Price and more limited colour choice.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes- for the best bike.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? As above.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
I have been very, very impressed by both versions but it's worth remembering finishing kit is a very, very personal experience.
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)