These squidgy gel pads from Bike Ribbon are a simple way to reduce fatigue and numb hands on long rides.
They come in three different flavours: soft (as tested) super-soft and firm.
You get four bits: two straights for the drops and two curved pieces for the tops. The gel has a bobbly surface which allows more movement and hence cushioning effect. You can also trim them to size by snipping off the end bits.
Fitting is dead easy, unwrap bar tape, peel backing off pads, stick to bars, re-wrap tape. The pads are quite chunky, but once wrapped under tape they add less bulk than you might expect. I fitted them to a set of oversized aluminium FSA bars, which are as fat as they come, and had no problems, although a rider with small hands might find the same bars/pad set-up a little sausagey.
There's enough pad to cover the tops and the drops. I fitted them to just one side of my bars and took off on a 200k audax across rough Devon roads. There's a noticeable difference, the pads absorb vibrations from crappy surfaces and keep your arms and upper body feeling just that little bit fresher. Racers might find that they deaden feel slightly but that's not such a big deal for randonneurs and there are firmer compounds available.
£17 for a few bits of space jibble might seem like a lot but extra comfort is worth paying for if you suffer from numb hands or want to reduce fatigue on long rides.
Cost effective plushness upgrade for your hands.
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Make and model: Bike Ribbon Gel pads
Size tested: Soft
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?
"Shaped gel pads that are easily fitted under handlebar tape to absorb road shock and damp vibration from uneven surfaces."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
"'Mattress-style' design allows the gel two move in various directions for extra comfort. Various degrees of firmness available."
Hard to say, but should last at least as long as your bar tape.
Tourists and audaxers laugh in the face of an extra 100g.
Comfort is what this stuff is all about.
Not cheap, but adds significant comfort for the money.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Dampens energy sapping vibrations very effectively
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It wasn't fitted to my bike for the Ronde Van Vlaanderen bike sportive!
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Simple, but effective.
Age: 42 Height: 5' 8 Weight: er....85kg
I usually ride: Kona Dew Drop, Dawes Century SE My best bike is: Guess SC1 scandium
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, Audax and long distance solo rides