Selle SMPBar Tape Grip
Item # SLL001N
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Comfortable, Elegant Tape
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
I'm a 62 year old recreational cyclist, and I've done all of my own bicycle assembly and maintenance for the last 42 years. I generally do rides of 80-100 miles during the summer. For years I've been using older style handlebar tape like Bike Ribbon "Pro" tape, which is fairly stretchy but only provides a moderate amount of padding. My purchase of the Selle SMP Grip tape is my first use of a modern tape. I've been using the Selle SMP Glider seat since 2007, so I expect high quality from SMP products. The SMP Grip tape did not disappoint; it is a very nice product.
I think that the SMP tape is similar to the Lizard Skin and Supacaz tapes. Like those other tapes, the SMP tape is a 2-layer product, and is not very stretchy. Based on Competitive Cyclist reviews on those other tapes, during installation I avoided stretching the SMP tape to prevent tearing the outside layer and thus degrading the tape's service life. So, for the longer parts of the wrap, I had to fold the excess tape flat so that it would lie smooth and then be easily covered by the next turn of the wrap. I can still see some hints (dimples / shadows) of those creases in a few locations along the bars. Nonetheless, the appearance of the installed tape is attractive.
I've ridden a couple of 50 mile rides on the SMP tape. Overall, the tape is quite comfortable and grippy. It's a distinct improvement over my older tape. The stamped pattern in the SMP tape is evocative of car tire tread and provides a good grip. The SMP logos are small and discreet.
I was able to wrap my 42 cm c-c long reach handlebars well enough. For long reach bars of 44 cm c-c or wider, some additional tape length might help, but for standard reach bars up to 44 cm c-c the tape length is adequate.
I would buy the SMP tape again. The SMP performance (comfort and grip) is quite good, and is a distinct improvement over the Bike Ribbon tape I've been using.