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The KranX Stretta Primo-Gel-Backed High Grip handlebar tape is comfortable, grippy and durable. It does come up on the short side, though, which could be an issue if you use wide bars, and it can shift on the bars too. You'll find other options in our guide to the best bar tapes.
This gel-backed tape is 3mm thick and I found it comfortable both on lengthy road rides and static sessions on the turbo trainer.
In fact, it strikes a very good balance of minimising road buzz while maintaining feedback. I like to be engaged with the bike, to feel those little microscopic sensations sent through the handlebar, so I don't want isolation. For that reason I rarely wear gloves (unless it is cold) and I'm not a fan of overly thick bar tape.
This KranX stuff is thin enough that it doesn't alienate you from the bike by being too squidgy. It's grippy too, even in the wet with bare hands, and while it hasn't been on my bike for more than a few months it seems to be durable, looking as fresh now as it was when it was new.
It's relatively simple to fit, too, with a decent amount of stretch to allow you to get in tight around all of the bends, and it wraps over itself cleanly.
The silicone backing is tacky rather than sticky, which does mean it can move on the bar more than tapes with adhesive on the back, and I have had to rewrap it a couple of times where gaps have appeared. It does mean that you can reuse the tape, though – if you need to remove it to change your gear cables, for instance.
Each roll of tape is shorter than some, which required careful planning for me to get the tape to wrap my 42cm handlebar the way I like. I had to spread each bind out a little more than usual to achieve this. If you ride a wide bar, or even use a flared option, it's something to take into consideration.
For the plugs you get a simple push-fit option rather than hex bolt expanding versions, but I wouldn't say that's a big deal at this price point. With a little bit of tape overlapping the end of the drop for the plug to push in, things feel very secure.
All things considered, I'd say the KranX tape is a decent performer for the £21.99 price tag.
It's cheaper than some – the PNW Components Coast bar tape that Mike tested last year is £30 now, though you do get aluminium bar end plugs, but not the same level of stretch as the KranX, which aids fitting.
It has a few niggles, but on the whole this KranX tape is a decent choice for the money. Get the fit right and it should last, living up to its name and providing good grip for the duration.
A bit short for wide handlebars and it can slip, but it's comfortable and hardwearing
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road.cc test report
Make and model: KranX Stretta Primo-Gel-Backed High Grip Handlebar Tape
Size tested: One size
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?
This is a mid-depth tape with a gel backing for added comfort which works for both long and short rides. It feels durable too, and grippy.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
From Kranx distributor Bob Elliot:
PU construction with Gel layer for anti-shock comfort
Silicone backing and high elasticity for easy installation and removal
Superior comfort and grip for the toughest conditions
Tape Depth: 3mm
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Comfortable and grippy.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfortable without being too thick.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Each roll is a bit short.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
For the quality of the tape it is priced competitvely against similar products.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a decent tape, but I'd like a bit more length in each roll to allow for a close wrap that shouldn't move. It's durable, though, and offers great comfort without isolating you from the bike.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
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: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
As part of the Tech Hub here at F-At Digital, our senior product reviewer Stu uses the knowledge gained from putting well over a 1,000 products through their paces (including hundreds of bikes) to write in-depth reviews of a huge range of kit. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 160,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. Although, as he spends a fair bit of his time reviewing ebikes these days he's becoming an expert in letting the motor take the strain. He's also waiting for 23mm race tyres to make a comeback!