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The super-wide Wolf Tooth Supple Lite bar tape makes it easy get a smart finish, and you can over-wrap it for extra comfort. It's great stuff.
Nothing smartens up the bike like a fresh wrapping of bar tape. Sadly, I am that most cursed among personality types: the 'incompetent perfectionist,' inclined to spend hours getting it just-so and then finding a gap beneath the drops and having to start again.
Making allowances for my lousy photographs, I think you can see I succeeded quite well this time. The amazing 40mm width of this tape covers a multitude of sins.
The 'Lite' bit refers to the fact that Wolf Tooth already does standard Supple tape which, believe it or not, is twice the 2.5mm thickness of this version. While that's aimed mainly at the rough-road rider, the Supple Lite is more at home on a tarmac bike.
It looks a bit austere on the roll: no graphics, perforations or um, well, colour either – just plain ol' black. What it does have is width, and lots of it. 40mm, by my ruler. Wolf Tooth's idea is that you can basically double-wrap your bars in a single sitting, thanks to the huge amount of overlap available.
I actually went for a medium-overlap as I don't like or need overly thick tapes. Even so, there was so much room for manoeuvre it's almost impossible not to get a good, even result, and the risk of gaps is all but eliminated. There's masses of length, too, so if you do choose a closer overlap there's no danger of running out of tape.
I cut about eight inches excess off the end, and you don't even need that for covering the clamps, because there are separate pieces for that. If you like a figure-of-eight wrap at the levers you might find it bulks up too much, though at least there's plenty of tape if you want to try.
The 3M adhesive strip aids the process by actually staying in place when you let go, though you can still peel it off again for fine tuning. Given how firmly this EVA foam tape grips itself, you could probably manage without a sticky strip... also, as it's well stretchy I had no unsightly folds or wrinkles in the finished job.
Wolf Tooth warns you not to stretch the bar tape far as you might tear it, but I think you'd have to try quite hard to do that. A special mention goes to the polyurethane finishing tape, which has a latex-like texture and stretch, making it easy to get a tidy finish with no wrinkles. Plus it's super-sticky, so hasn't peeled off.
I like riding with this tape. The foam has plenty of give; you can feel it shaping under your weight, but it's not squidgy or porous. Changing positions feels natural; there's just the right amount of tackiness to stop you slipping, but not to stop you moving at all. It's particularly good in wet weather since it shrugs off water.
There's been no sign of it moving during the test and, if anything, I think it's looking better for having a few miles on it.
I wasn't so impressed with the bar-end plugs. While they fit securely, the button is too small to fully cover the end which, given the thickness of the tape, leaves a slightly unsightly exit-point.
I looked at the pictures on the Wolf Tooth website and theirs doesn't look any better.
Searching for 'wide bar tape' doesn't turn up much besides Wolf Tooth's own products. Plenty of other tapes claim to offer shock absorption though; we liked Prime Comfort Handlebar Tape at a tenner less, but some of the silicone-based tapes come out less well; both the Supacaz Super Sticky (£34.99) and the Silca Nastro Fiore (£40) proved difficult to fit.
In this company, and given that I expect this Wolf Tooth tape to stay looking good for a couple of years, £30 seems like pretty good value.
Easy to wrap bar tape with great feel and comfort – and we like the understated looks
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Wolf Tooth Supple Lite Bar Tape
Size tested: 2.5mm
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 Lite Bar Tape is designed to provide comfort and grip for long days in the saddle on rough terrain. It is tacky, soft, and has a clean look when wrapped and finished. At 2.5mm thick and 40mm wide, it is half as thick and just as wide as our Supple Bar Tape. This makes for a slimmer option that has a distinctly different feel."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
EVA foam compound absorbs vibrations and conforms to your hands for greater comfort.
Soft, tacky texture keeps your hands from slipping in all weather conditions with or without gloves.
Easy to install. 3M adhesive backing keeps tape securely in place.
Weight: 77g for two rolls
Material: EVA foam compound with 3M adhesive backing strip
Dimensions: 2.5mm thick | 40mm wide | 152cm long
Includes: bar plugs, polyurethane finishing tape, and brake clamp cover tape.
The website says made in the USA, but the box says made in Taiwan.
For me, this is pretty much perfect. I like the feel, the firm springiness and the excellent water resistance. That it's easy to fit is a big bonus.
If I get a year out of a bar tape I think that's adequate. The Supple Light wraps so securely I can't see it ever rolling up at the edges, or even moving until I choose to take it off.
Bar tape is a bit of a personal thing and I get on well with most types, but there's definitely a hint of springy luxury here. If you find thicker tapes don't let you to wrap your hands around the bars as much as you'd like, though, this may not be for you.
At £30 this isn't cheap; but I'd happily pay more for tape as easy to fit as this, and which isn't going to curl up at the edges after a couple of wet rides.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's a good idea, well-executed in quality materials and a comfortable bar tape. Wrapping is relatively easy, and I like the look and the ride quality. I think it'll prove hard-wearing too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The end cap button could do with being bigger for better cover.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's middling; we liked Prime Comfort Handlebar Tape at a tenner less. The Silca Nastro Fiore (£40) I tested two years ago performed well, but proved difficult to fit.
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
What price comfort, eh? Add in ease of use, good quality and, to my eyes, good looks, and I think the Supple Light is excellent and deserves its high score. The price and that not-altogether ideal end plug are the only flies in the ointment.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 My best bike is: Tomassini Prestige
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,