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Wolf Tooth's Supple Bar Tape is an excellent option for gravel bikes and those wanting extra cushy tape for smoothing out rough road surfaces. Wrapping is easy, and the lack of sticky backing means that you can re-wrap endlessly. I've used grippier tape, but this still provides a secure hold on the bar. It is extremely expensive though.
When did bar tape become gravel-specific? I'm not sure, and don't tell Wolf Tooth, but like a true rebel I installed this on a road bike. What I've found is that the Supple bar tape provides exceptional cushioning over rougher surfaces and isolates the hands from road buzz.
The first thing to know about the tape is that it is both wide and thick, 40mm wide and 5mm thick, to be precise. Wrapping is pretty easy, but does require you to use a slightly different technique than with standard tape. Wolf Tooth says that your wrap should result in a 25mm stagger which it says gives the smoothest feel. You'll need to stick to that wide wrapping pattern too as, at 152cm in length, it's quite a short roll. I guessed at what 25mm looked like and got on with wrapping.
Starting the wrap, I did notice the lack of any sticky backing to the tape. It was slightly keen to move, but once I'd done a couple of turns, the tape stayed put and it hasn't moved since.
The lack of backing tape is brilliant if you want to rewrap your tape. The tape peels off cleanly and can be adjusted easily.
Wolf Tooth's self-fusing silicone finishing tape finishes the wrap very smartly.
The thickness of the tape is the big feature here, and I have to say that I have really liked using this tape for general riding and on the odd gravel road I've been down. Mendip Council's penchant for surface dressing the local roads gives the ideal testing surface and the tape did a great job of stopping road buzz getting through to my hands.
The surface of the tape is, Wolf Tooth claims, extra tacky, but while I found it provided a secure hold in the hands, it's not the tackiest tape I've used.
It is one of the most expensive, though. At £44 this is a premium option – Fizik's Terra Microtex Bondcush Tacky tape is comfortable, tackier and cheaper at £32.99. Pro's Gravel Comfort tape is cheaper again at £29.99, though it's only 3mm thick. (The brown Wolf Tooth tape is 'only' £40...)
All in, I really like the Wolf Tooth tape. It delivers on its performance claims and wraps easily. The price is a bit of a sticking point though.
Excellent tape that is incredibly comfy but also incredibly expensive
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Wolf Tooth Supple Bar Tape
Size tested: 40mm wide
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?
Wolf Tooth says, 'Supple Bar Tape for drop bars is extra thick, extra wide, extra soft, and extra tacky. Designed for the abuse of unforgiving trails. Keep your hands extra comfortable when the road gets extra rough.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Wolf Tooth lists:
100% silicone compound. Customize the feel of your handlebars with varying levels of overlap. The extra thick and extra wide material creates the same thickness and comfort in one wrap that would take multiple layers of traditional bar tape.
Washable surface is resistant to wear and packing out.
Tacky texture keeps your hands from slipping in all weather with or without gloves.
Self-fusing silicone finishing tape included for a clean finishing touch.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Fabulous performance. The tape isolates the hands from road buzz incredibly well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The comfort is bliss on broken roads.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The price is the only real down side.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It is high. Fizik's Terra Microtex Bondcush Tacky tape is cheaper at £32.99. Pro's Gravel Comfort tape is cheaper again at £29.99.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Not at that price.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Incredibly comfortable tape for rough surfaces and gravel riding, but incredibly expensive too.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!