The Kinesis Signature bar tape is really comfortable and easy to fit, and this special edition, featuring text and a bit of humour from Jo Burt, adds a little style and fun to an otherwise pretty standard bit of kit.
For anyone who might not know Jo Burt – our very own VecchioJo – he is an illustrator who is probably most famous for the Mint Sauce comic strip within the magazine MBUK, and also the Rapha Longer Rides Handbooks. His style of illustrations really stand out, and now he has collaborated with British based company Kinesis UK with this bar tape, which might become a full series – although for now this is the only item available.
Focusing on the tape itself, the material feels very grippy and the 'anti-slip' in the name seems appropriate. Even when wet it stays grippy, which suits our typical British weather – perhaps even more so if putting this on a gravel bike, as I did. Water runs off the tape, so it won't absorb much rain or sweat as some tapes can.
There isn't a quoted size for the thickness, but it is reasonably deep with Vex Gel within the material to give a good amount of cushioning. It is also long enough to wrap almost all handlebars and certainly all road/gravel bars up to 46cm. I used it on the 44cm FSA A-Wing bar I was testing and wrapped almost to the stem and still had to cut a section around 10cm off the end.
There is no short section provided to wrap behind the lever clamp, but as the tape is a generous length there should be enough to cut off a section should you prefer. The tape can be stretched a little bit, making wrapping the section around the bend easier and that figure of eight less of a challenge.
If you do make a small error, the strip of adhesive doesn't set too quickly, so it's possible to remove a small section and re-do should you need to.
Taping bars can be one of those things that seems to be a magical art, and there are many ways it can be done; mechanics who do it regularly will no doubt have a preferred method. The Kinesis tape has some suggestions on the back of the packaging, all written by Jo himself. It is informative but also humorous, and I don't remember ever smiling and having a little laugh to myself when reading instructions for another cycling product before.
Across the full range of the tape are snippets of Jo's words, although I will say it's easier to read before installing. With the tape wrapped around the bar, some bits are hidden, but the snippets are still fun – 'Crack on, make spitfire noises - MNEOWWWHOOOSH' and 'Will there be Ice Cream?' suggest I might not be the only one who makes plane noises when going down a fast, twisty downhill, or thinks about what flavour ice cream to order...
It's the kind of thing that might start a conversation with other curious riders, and while the writing might not be as clear once fitted, the tape still stands out. Yes, it's a bit pink, which some people won't like, and it might not coordinate with all bikes, but it's Jo's favourite colour, his signature, if you like; well, more magenta he says.
At £25 it's a decent price for high quality tape – others can cost considerably more, such as the Wolf Tooth Supple bar tape at £44.99 – but between £20 and £30 seems to be where lots of other similar tape sit, with the PRO Gravel Comfort Tape being one example. You can get much cheaper tape too, of course: Easton's more basic foam tape is £9.99.
As far as the Kinesis tape goes, it works brilliantly, being comfortable, good in all weather, and easy to wrap, with Jo's illustrations adding a humorous helping of style and fun.
Really comfortable and easy to install with an added bit of quirky fun and style
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Kinesis Anti-Slip Handlebar Tape, Signature Series No.1 - Jo Burt Edition
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?
Kinesis says: 'Jo Burt is one of the Kinesis long distance riding ambassadors and has a long, long history in riding road, cx and mountainbikes, 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 mountainbiking 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?
* Tacky touch bar tape with Jo Burt design throughout tape length.
* Shockproof layer protects your wrists from harsh road surfaces.
* Vex Gel backing provides cushioning and no sticky residue on your handlebars.
* Includes logo plugs and finishing strips and enough tape for a full drop bar.
Feels great in use and has enough stretch to make taping easy.
Hard to fault.
No sign of early wear – even the text looks like it will remain clear, after washing after several muddy rides.
Probably not the style of tape for weight weenies, but also not as heavy as others.
Very comfortable. Not as thick as some, but still great to use.
There are cheaper tapes, but comparable to many high quality tapes – and a lot less than some.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
I had no issues and it performed well throughout.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The amount of stretch, making wrapping easy, and the feel of the tape.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There are a few other tapes around the same price, such as the PRO Gravel Comfort Tape and Genetic Silicone tape, but it's significantly cheaper than some such as Silca's Nastro Fiore or Wolf Tooth's Supple Bar Tape.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, definitely.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
I have used lots of different bar tape over the years and this is up among the best: great in all weathers, easy to wrap and stays clean after washing.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is: Cannondale SystemSix
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: road racing, cyclo cross, sportives, mtb,