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Arundel Gecko Grip bar tape and I got off to a bad start thanks to our test sample's hit n' miss adhesive and ineffectual finishing strips. However, things improved and while it's not quite on par with my all time favourite Lizard Skins DSP it does have a similarly reptilian name. It also does much the same thing at a lower price and is easily rewound should you need to replace a control cable, add an interrupter brake lever or indeed change bars.
Measuring 3cm wide and a smidge shy of 3mm thick, there's plenty for dressing the widest of flared drops, allowing graceful double-ups at key contact points (especially the tops and lower drop sections) without resorting to the brake clamp strips. We all know the drill by now but Arundel inject a bit of humorous observation into their instructions for a quick chuckle.
Assuming you've stripped the bars of existing tape and wiped them down with solvent, it's a question of starting at the bottom and weaving upwards,overlapping by 5/10mm to suit. Achieving showroom perfect effect demands patience since the material isn't particularly malleable and requires firm tensioning to prevent it unravelling frustratingly at the crucial moment. I overcame this by holding everything in situ with the finishing strips before capturing the tops permanently using top-notch electrical stuff.
Purchase, comfort and control is vastly superior to traditional coverings, in gloved or bare hands, inspiring confidence whether hammering along sweeping singletrack, winding descents in the pouring rain or simply weaving through lines of stationary traffic. Shock absorbency across inclement or changeable surfaces matches cork without the natural fibre's remoteness, which bodes well for Audax and mixed terrain touring. Thankfully the black hides a multitude of sins and seems more tolerant of judicious brush cleaning compared with some polymer blends - so long as you stick with mild soapy water. However, there's white, blue, red or yellow should you prefer a more lively livery.
200 early-season miles in and longevity looks promising, although I've heard reports of the dimpled texture wearing smooth in key areas after six months daily service.
Marked improvement over traditional cork bar tape and just as easy to live with but the adhesive backing and finishing strips weren't much cop on our sample.
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Make and model: Arundel Gecko Grip
Size tested: White and Black
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?
"Gecko grip is our goofy name for a new style of bar tape made from cushy EVA foam and ventilated polyurethane in a laminated, layered construction with a strip of adhesive on the back. Gecko grip has a rubbery feel and is 'grippy' compared to cork tape. It lays flat on the wrapped bars and has a slightly thinner feel than our cork tape. It doesn't absorb sweat as easily as cork tape and can be wiped off with a wet rag in seconds. Gecko grip is now our favourite spring and summer tape. This stuff is awesome. It even works in Cyclocross and is easier to clean up when muddy! At the time of this writing, it's just getting to be winter and our Gecko is working really good, so Gecko grip might become our all-time favourite!".
Generally does everything it promises on the packaging and at a very reasonable price too.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
· Grippy tape
· EVA foam backed for comfort
· 5 great colours, black,white,blue,red,yellow
· 2x rolls enough for a standard drop bar
· Includes end plugs finishing tape and instructions
Generally very hardy but the adhesive and sealing strips lacked bite, which is both blessing and curse.
Early impressions seem favourable. Only time will tell.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Gecko is a remarkablly comfortable, easy to live with alternative to cork and conventional glossy types. Priced just right for every day riding and cyclo-cross, its tenacious all weather charm puts it hot on the heels of more expensive established polymer blends.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Excellent cushioning,tactile, grippy texture and relatively low maintenance.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Mine needed patience and good quality aftermarket electrical tape to acheive pleasing effect.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 38 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)