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Cannondale's KnurlCork is for those riders who want a bar tape that isn't too thick or soft. It has quite a firm feel to it, but it minimises road buzz without isolating your hands from the bike. The white colour used here does get dirty quickly, but darker options are available.
Check out our guide to the best bar tapes for cycling, for more options.
The KnurlCork tape is created from a blend of EVA foam and cork, which gives quite a firm feel with just enough compression to take the edge off any vibration caused by the road below. I like the fact that it isn't too squidgy while still feeling soft enough for comfort, especially as I rarely wears gloves in warmer weather.
If you are riding in the wet it doesn't absorb water like some tapes can, which means grip levels remain just as good as they are in the dry.
In fact, the only issue I really found with this tape was that it gets dirty reasonably easily, although you can wipe it off if the dirt hasn't got too ingrained. And darker colours are available, such as red and black.
When it comes to fitting, the KnurlCork isn't as pliable as some, but there's enough stretch in it to still be able to wrap around the curves and bends around the brake levers and drops. Lever strips are included in the box – not something you see with all tapes these days.
As long as you pull it relatively tight all the way along the handlebar it shouldn't move once you are riding, and with each roll measuring a metre in length, there is plenty of tape for even the widest bar.
Included in the pack you'll also find finishing tape and push-fit bar end caps. They are small enough to allow you to push a bit of tape inside the bar while maintaining a snug, tight fit so that nothing unravels.
Cannondale has priced the tape at £18 which I'd say is a relative bargain for what I consider to be a quality tape. It's two quid cheaper than some Kranx tape I've also been reviewing (full review to come) and the Kranx Stretta Primo-High Grip Anti-Shock Handlebar Tape that Josh reviewed last year, and you get the addition of the extra lever tape sections here, and plenty of length.
It's also cheaper than the Smanie Elite tape by a quid, and Tom wasn't that impressed with the plugs or its ultra-sticky backing tape.
Overall, the KnurlCork is a quality tape that offers a good blend of comfort, grip and easy fitting. As long as you prefer a firmer ride than tapes with gel in their make-up, it's a great option.
Good quality cork tape offering high comfort and grip, but the white will get dirty
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Cannondale KnurlCork Bar Tape
Size tested: n/a
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?
Cannondale says, "Lightweight EVA foam and cork combine with a contemporary knurled texture twist – offering a stylish, comfortable, and durable finish to your bike."
It's a good quality bar tape offering comfort and grip.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Comfortable, lightweight EVA foam absorbs road-buzz and feels great
Natural cork elements and debossed knurled pattern for better grip in all conditions / Includes: 2x tape rolls, lever strips, bar end-plugs, and finishing strips
Thickness: 2.7mm, length: 200cm, weight: 82g
The white gets grubby quickly, but other colours are available.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Simple to fit, with plenty of length so you can focus on those tight bends.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
A firm ride feel with plenty of grip.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The white gets grubby quickly.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's priced very competitively, and while it may not be a huge amount less than the competition mentioned in the review, it performs like a much higher priced tape.
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
There is very little to dislike here. It's very good, offering a well-rounded performance at a decent price.
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!