Arundel Gecko Fur handlebar tape sounds the stuff of pimped Lambretta, not everyday road bikes, but after a quick Quadrophenia moment I dressed another set of bars and found myself justly impressed by its tenacious grip and tactile nature come, rain, sleet or shine. Crossers and the rough stuff faithful should plump for the standard Gecko, though, since ingrained dirt, grime and even chocolate calls for more than a superficial cat lick.
In technical terms, this is the same EVA found on the rubberised Gecko but coated with a velvety, hardwearing brushed cotton common to certain genres of smart street attire. Arundel say it's marginally thinner than the regular types but this wasn't obvious from the shock absorbency on dressing the bars. I've been fastidious in my cleansing of the elected drops, removing every last trace of tape, adhesive or other contaminant that might compromise the new wrap's purchase. However, the Arundel range seems to require a very tight, rhythmic mummifying technique to prevent unravelling as you enter the home straight.
While a little frustrating in the garage at half-eight on a Monday evening, it's positively welcome should you need to change a control cable without the expense of replacing perfectly good tape. Sealing the tops with premium grade electrical tape makes all the difference and puts an end to slippage.
Arundel say sweat beads and rolls from the nap, unlike the cork varieties that often allow moisture to permeate the pores. Moving the trainer to the kitchen with the thermostat pointing toward tropical induced plenty of perspiration that pooled on the surface, or to the floor.
Taken to the road and the soft, grippy texture is reassuring in gloved or bare hands whether charging for the lights or braving a white knuckle descent in the pouring rain (and if anything, it becomes all the more dependable in this context). Some might find satin black unimaginative but it sure is practical. Credit where due, this tape stands up well to being leant against brickwork and similarly coarse surfaces without tearing or premature wear.
Tactile and surprisingly hardwearing handlebar wrap
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Make and model: Arundel Gecko Fur
Size tested: 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?
Arundel say, "Gecko Fur is our inaccurate definition for a new style of bar tape made from cushy EVA foam and super soft moleskin feel top layer in a laminated, layered construction with a strip of adhesive on the back. Gecko Fur has a velvety feel and is 'grippy' wet or dry compared to cork and in the wet compared with Gecko Grip tape, it also has a warmer feeling than Gecko Grip. 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."
Sweat and rainfall certainly come off easily; purging mud spatters, chocolate and residual chain lube/grease isn't so straightforward.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
EVA foam backed for comfort.
1 big roll enough for both sides of a standard drop bar
Includes end plugs finishing tape and instructions
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Gecko Fur quickly won me over with its soft, yet grippy texture and protection from fatigue-inducing road shock. Surprisingly good for indoor training too. Ridding the nap of certain grime can prove tricky so it wouldn't be my first choice for 'cross.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tactile, grippy and surprisingly hardwearing.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Trickier to keep clean compared with other textures.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? For generic road and turbo trainer duties.
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)