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The Jo Burt Series Kinesis Anti-Slip Handlebar Tape is now available with reflective highlights, and better still it remains really comfortable, easy to fit, and grippy both in dry and wet conditions. If you're looking for something a little bit different, it's well worth a look.
This is very similar to the pink version we reviewed nearly two years ago, but now comes with this new option – reflective detailing on some of the text. With most of the remaining text now black or dark grey on a black background, this is definitely the more subtle option.
In the box you get two generous rolls of tape, two strips of finishing tape for the ends and a pair of plastic bar plugs. I chose to fit the tape to my gravel bike (that I also commute on) as I thought it would best benefit from the shock absorbing properties.
Compared to other brands, tape length is generous, making it ideal for wide bar users or those who like to really overlap each wrap. I could tape my gravel bike's 44cm drop bars almost to the stem with about 10cm of tape left over.
This has a decent amount of stretch to it which makes it as easy to wrap as can be, and if you do make a mistake it's easy to go back – the backing is grippy rather than sticky, and doesn't leave a residue. The stretch comes in particularly handy when going around the tight bend near the shifters, as it reduces the chances of wrinkling or looseness.
I was initially a little worried about grip as the tape has very little texture, but I needn't have been. This is a tacky affair that is impressively grippy, and only gets better when wet or your hands get sweaty.
Kinesis has also managed to make the tape very comfortable. There's a shockproof layer to protect your wrists from harsh road surfaces, and it does an excellent job of reducing buzz.
This does mean it's a little thicker than others – it's more akin to a gravel tape than pure road performance tape – and as it's only available in one thickness, it's a case of like it or lump it. Personally, I like it on my gravel/endurance bike, but appreciate thinner tape on a road race bike.
The Jo Burt quotes are obviously a little harder to read once it's wrapped, but you still get snippets and it's sure to start a conversation. I would say the reflective accents earn more points for style than for function, but as always, every little helps. It's also unlikely you will see it reflecting yourself, unless you have a light strapped to your head, but it does look cool in night time shots!
This reflective version comes in at £35, so £7 more than the non-reflective pink version at £28. It's still not a horrendous price for high quality tape – others can cost considerably more, such as the Selle San Marco Presa Corsa Team Iridescent Bar Tape at £44.99 – but you can get good tape for less. Many similar tapes sit between £20 and £30, with the quite similar £29.99 PRO Gravel Comfort Tape being one example.
You can get much cheaper tape too, of course: Easton's more basic Foam Bar Tape now has an RRP of £11.99.
Would I choose the Kinesis bar tape? Absolutely, especially for a gravel or endurance road bike where comfort is a priority. It's good in all weathers, easy to wrap and personally I'm a fan of the graphics. I'm guessing you are too if you've made it this far!
Grippy, comfortable and quirky bar tape
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Kinesis Anti-Slip Handlebar Tape Jo Burt Signature Series Reflective
Size tested: One Size
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?
Kinesis says: "Jo Burt is one of the Kinesis long distance riding ambassadors and has a long, long history in riding road, cx and mountain bikes, he spends the rest of his time drawing and writing about bicycles. He wrote and illustrated "Rapha Handbook 02 - Longer Rides" a treasury of insightful nuggets of wisdom for cyclists who've mastered their local loop and are looking to explore further afield. Despite his road bike leanings he's most famous in the cycling world for creating Mint Sauce, a comic strip about a mountain biking sheep that's appeared in Mountain Biking UK magazine every month for over 30 years. This combination of pictures, words and thoughts that come with riding bikes a long way, is why we asked him to design this signature tape."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Polyurethane base with a velvet cover.
Backside/center adhesive strip for easy mounting.
Shockproof layer protects your wrists.
Vex Gel backing provides cushioning.
Includes logo plugs and finishing strips.
Enough tape for a full drop bar.
Very good: I've got it filthy, gritty, done 1,000km on it and crashed it with no signs of premature wear.
There is lighter available, but this offers good comfort for its weight.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It's just a little bit different.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A little thick on some bikes for my personal taste.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
As mentioned in the review, it's towards the premium end of the market but its performance and quality do justify the high price. There are plenty that are more expensive, but you can also find bar tape for much less.
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
This is very good bar tape that's easy to install, a generous length and performs well in dry and wet conditions. It's also very comfortable and takes the buzz out of rough roads and gravel. It is thicker than some and you do pay a premium for the reflective detailing which, realistically, is mainly aesthetic.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized venge pro 2019 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,
Jamie has been riding bikes since a tender age but really caught the bug for racing and reviewing whilst studying towards a master's in Mechanical engineering at Swansea University. Having graduated, he decided he really quite liked working with bikes and is now a full-time addition to the road.cc team. When not writing about tech news or working on the Youtube channel, you can still find him racing local crits trying to cling on to his cat 2 licence...and missing every break going...