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Ciclovation Halo Touch bar tape

6
£33.99

VERDICT:

6
10
Fairly comfortable and extremely eye-catching, but not grippy enough
Eye-catching looks
Decent comfort
Can be unwound and reused
Not really grippy enough for the drops
Tricky to install
Doesn't include lever covers
Fairly expensive
Weight: 
104g

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The Ciclovation Halo Touch Bar tape is as eye-catching as bar tapes get. Though very comfortable, the grip could be better in the drops and it's slightly tricky to install just-so. Also, the price tag is almost as extravagant as the looks.

If you want to turn heads on your rides, this features a chameleon-like finish which changes depending on viewing angle – a bit like the pearlescent car paints that were so big in the night time fast food car parks of the past.

Though this 'Rainbow' colour is pretty lurid, it does come in the less searing options of Irradiant Violet, Blooming Flower, Gold Mine, and Storm. The final three are two-tone colour changing, which is less extreme, but still very noticeable.

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The tape is polyurethane (PU), padded with organic gel and at 3mm pretty cushy. Ciclovation supplies 2100mm, it's 30mm wide, and you get two strips of Ciclovation-branded finishing tape alongside good-quality (albeit plastic) locking plugs. For some reason, there are no extra strips to cover the gap around the back of the levers – I ended up cutting a little off the end of each roll of tape to use here.

This tape features an 'organic' adhesive which won't leave any residue, and the tape can be re-used again and again without it losing its stickiness.

Installation (in my case on a Ribble CGR Ti with Deda Gravel 100 bars and GRX 600 levers) is pretty much as you'd expect, though I found overlaps left a crease that was tricky to smooth out. I had to pull everything really taught – more than normal – to get it right.

2022 Ciclovation Halo Touch bar tape colour change.JPG

Stretching tape isn't really recommended as it can make it thinner and reduce cushioning, but thankfully in this case it doesn't seem to matter – at least on the drops. On the hoods it didn't feel as cushioned.

Normally, I use black electric tape to finish the end of the wrap, and Ciclovation's supplied tape doesn't look too dissimilar. It's very stretchy though, so you can wrap it right round the bars a few times.

2022 Ciclovation Halo Touch bar tape black tape.JPG

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The bar plugs are easy to install, and the bolted expanding collar means they plugs won't fall out on rough stuff. You get a plastic cover to hide the hex bolts, though they stick out a little more than I would like.

2022 Ciclovation Halo Touch bar tape bar end 2.JPG

I found this tape comfortable, and it smooths rough surfaces nicely. It's easily as cushy as my normal go-to bar tape – Cinneli Cork Gel – but isn't nearly as grippy as I would like. It's fine on the tops, and obviously doesn't matter on the hoods, but in the drops it doesn't grip as well as other bar tapes I've tried. I certainly wouldn't feel all that confident descending on steep gravel at speed, that's for sure.

Value

The other issue is the £33.99 price, as you really have to want that colour-changing look – this tape doesn't really excel in any other area, and in the case of grip, it's not as good as many. That Cinneli Cork Gel, for instance, is £14.99.

That said, the Halo Touch is at least comfier than the similarly eye-catching Selle San Marco Presa Corsa Team Iridescent Handlebar Tape, and it's cheaper too. The Presa Corsa Team is £44.99.

If you're spending Halo money, the Enve Handlebar Tape offers excellent performance – it's very comfy, grippy and easy to fit – and though it obviously lacks the striking looks, not everyone will mind that.

Alternatively, the Prime Comfort Handlebar Tape is grippy, comfortable, easy to rewrap and just £19.99. And/but nobody will notice it except you.

Overall

The Ciclovation Halo Touch looks brilliant, especially on a titanium frame, and it's good quality material. It's pretty comfortable too, but as the grip isn't quite up to scratch and installation a little tricky, it's hard to recommend to anyone but those hankering after the similarly sparkly/less comfortable/more expensive iridescent Selle San Marco version.

Verdict

Fairly comfortable and extremely eye-catching, but not grippy enough

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Ciclovation Halo Touch 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 says, "Uniquely formulated synthetic Halo Touch surface with prismatic texture sure to turn heads while improving grip and providing all-out performance. Multi-layer, multi-density foam laminates effectively absorbs shock, dampens vibration and minimizes fatigue.

"Highly elastic and lightweight organic adhesive will not leave residue on the handlebars to ease installation and adjustment. Reusable, expanding locking bar plugs are reliable and resistance to falling out."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Material Halo Touch, PU with Organic Gel padded

Length 2100 mm

Width 30 mm

Thickness 3 mm

Plug UFO, Lock-in

Finish Tape Included

Color Storm / Rainbow / Blooming Red / Gold Mine / Irradiant Violet

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Feels very good quality.

Rate the product for performance:
 
5/10

Comfortable, but could do with a bit more grip in the drops.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

The material appears quite hard wearing.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
6/10

Pretty light for the level of comfort.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
7/10

Comfortable on rough surfaces, though less so on the tops.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

Though the price is high, the organic sticky backing means it can be reused, and it doesn't seem to stretch like cheaper options.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Comfortable, good-looking, but not quite enough grip for the drops.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The looks, of course!

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

It doesn't inspire confidence when you're hurtling downhill at speed – I found I was gripping the drops extra tight, just in case.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

At £33.99 price, you really have to want that colour-changing look – this tape doesn't really excel in any other area, and in the case of grip, it's not as good as many. Cinneli Cork Gel, for instance, is £14.99.

That said, the Halo Touch is at least comfier than the similarly eye-catching Selle San Marco Presa Corsa Team Iridescent, and it's cheaper too. That's £44.99.

If you're spending Halo money, the Enve Handlebar Tape offers excellent performance – it's very comfy, grippy and easy to fit – and though it obviously lacks the striking looks, not everyone will mind that.

Alternatively, Prime Comfort Handlebar Tape  is grippy, comfortable, easy to rewrap and just £19.99. And/but nobody will notice it except you.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? No

Would you recommend the product to a friend? No

Use this box to explain your overall score

Comfort levels are good and it just looks insanely cool (if that's your thing), but it's a little awkward to wrap and not as grippy as it could usefully be. If it were either grippier or cheaper it would score higher, but it's still above average and a six.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 39  Height: 6'4  Weight: 175lbs

I usually ride: Condor Italia RC custom build  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, mtb,

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