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The Ciclovation Advanced Leather Touch Fusion bar tape attempts to emulate the feel of leather, features a silicone backing which allows re-wrapping and looks pretty fancy. It's priced at the higher end of the market, but can't match the comfort or grip levels of others – and the coloured section is the slipperiest of all.
This is a two-colour bar tape available in 14 colours to suit almost every bike. It's 2,000mm in length and 30mm in width, which is a similar length to many other bar tapes, but far from the longest available.
I fitted it to a reasonably narrow (42cm) handlebar with a flat aero top section – which I chose to wrap fully – and the tape was run to the full extension with no spare.
It has enough stretch and flex to make installation very simple, and if any section isn't quite perfect the tacky but not sticky backing means you can unwrap and re-do. The finishing tape is sufficiently sticky and long enough to end cleanly too, while the bolt-on bar end cap gives a very clean finish.
The feel of the tape is very different on the coloured section to the main black part. The black section has a reasonable grip, but the coloured section is shiny and feels slick, and worst of all with bare hands. I found myself avoiding the drops as a result, which isn't ideal for descending, where the drops are usually the best position to be.
The level of grip reduces further in wet weather, with or without gloves, but again only on the shiny coloured sections.
The Ciclovation is 3.0mm in thickness and while the black sections feel comfortable, it can't match the vibration damping of other 3mm bar tape, such as ENVE Handlebar Tape or the Repente Tacky Light 3.0 (we reviewed the 2mm version last year).
To be fair the ENVE tape is now £40, but the 3mm Repente is €29.90 (around £25 at the time of writing). Meanwhile, Prime Comfort Handlebar Tape is also 3mm, good enough to score 9/10 and only £19.99.
There are also other multi-coloured bar tapes available for less, such as the Fabric Hex Duo bar tape at £26.99.
This tape is easy to apply, can be finished neatly and looks great, but it struggles to compete for grip, comfort and price.
Plenty of colour options, but lacking grip where it matters and only averagely comfortable
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Ciclovation Advanced Leather Touch Fusion bar tape
Size tested: n/a
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?
Ciclovation doesn't give an overview, but UK distributor Trail Distribution says: "Uniquely formulated synthetic leather is anti-slip with high tensile strength for long-term performance, uniquely design in graduated color fades to add even more style and personalization to your bike."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Material: Leather Touch, PU with Gel padded
Length : 2000 mm
Width : 30 mm
Thickness : 3 mm
Plug : VORTEX, Lock-in
Finish Tape : Included
Quantity : 1 Pair
The shiny coloured section is noticeably slick and not grippy.
It's reusable too, thanks to the silicone backing and plugs.
Reasonable weight for 3mm thickness.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The slick feel of the coloured section is so bad that I purposely avoided holding onto it. The black section was far better, although not as soft or comfortable as some other 3mm bar tapes.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Nice to wrap with plenty of stretch, and the silicone backing that allows adjustment and retaping if needed.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not the longest, grippiest or most comfortable for the thickness.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's not the most expensive, but it's up there at the premium end (for price if not performance).
Did you enjoy using the product? No
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Ciclovation Leather Touch Fusion bar tape is priced towards the top of the market, but lacks grip and doesn't deliver the performance to justify it.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is: Cannondale SystemSix
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: road racing, cyclo cross, sportives, mtb, Lots of gravel style riding
Matt is an endurance nut who loves big rides and big events. He's a former full-time racer and 24hr event specialist, but now is also happy riding off-road on gravel bikes or XC mountain bikes and exploring the mountains and hills of Mid Wales.