The Selle San Marco Presa Corsa Team Iridescent bar tape will give you that most coveted of things: perfect coordination. Assuming you have its Shortfit Racing Iridescent Saddle, anyway. It's a spectacular colour – purple in most lights, heading towards orange in others – but with very little padding and only mediocre grip for £44.99, it's one for hardcases with deep pockets.
Selle San Marco is primarily a manufacturer of saddles, but it also makes bar tape, although not a vast range. The Presa Corsa Team tape is now available as part of its Iridescent collection.
This tape is spartan – it's a good few years since I used any with so little padding. If you like a good firm connection and to feel every detail beneath your tyres, this could be for you. If your local tarmac is less than perfect, however, either avoid it or wear well-padded gloves.
Grip when wet or dry is acceptable, but certainly not class-leading – there's none of the tack that clings to your hands of some other premium tapes.
The Team Iridescent tape has an almost synthetic-leather feel to it, with very little stretch. It takes more than average tension to get a good, even wrap of the bar, but it's plenty strong and you can pull quite hard without any danger of it tearing.
It uses conventional adhesive tape rather than the tacky silicone more common on high-end tapes, so there's limited scope for adjustment if you get it wrong. Nevertheless, I was pretty happy with the finish having applied it.
The finishing touches are the most basic plastic push-in plugs and... no finishing tape. I was a bit bewildered by this, especially when high-end tapes from the likes of Silca and Supacaz come with quality, expanding aluminium plugs at lower prices.
So we asked the distributor if the price was correct, and if so why it was so expensive, and were given these reasons by Selle San Marco:
- Iridescent is a particular color option and the bar tape is made with a particular material that is a little bit more expensive.
- The Iridescent Bar Tape is an exclusive product to evaluate, with the Iridescent saddle, the bike and to make it very particular
- We created the the Presa Corsa Iridescent with a very resistant and elastic material which is the best standard on the market
It's certainly a lot more than the standard Presa Corsa Team tape, which is £19.99.
To be clear, other manufacturers put a premium on iridescent versions too. Specialized's S-Wrap HD tape costs £45 in its disco incarnation, or £15 extra over its cheaper colourway. It's excellent, if not especially durable.
The Presa Corsa Team Iridescent bar tape looks posh, but it's very uncomfortable by modern standards and lacks the fantastic grip of many premium rivals. It's also more than twice the price of the standard version, yet offers only basic bar plugs, and doesn't include any finishing tape at all. Its beauty is only skin deep, sadly, while its performance is a big disappointment.
Gorgeous looking bar tape with almost no padding, unimpressive grip and a dizzying price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Selle San Marco Presa Corsa Team Iridescent Handlebar 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?
Selle San Marco says it's a "Special edition Iridescent bar tape to compliment the new Shortfit Racing Iridescent Purple saddle. The new Presa Corsa Team bar tape comes with a non-slip EVA Plus construction and the addition of Gel for added comfort."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Eva Plus + Gel Logo Grip
Size: 200cm x 3cm
Weight: Only 20g
Colours: Iridescent Purple
Matches the new Shortfit Racing Iridescent Saddle
The tape itself feels strong and the perforations are tidy, but the lack of finishing tape or decent bar plugs is a big disappointment.
Ordinary levels of grip.
I suspect it'll last reasonably well.
Very little padding.
Extremely expensive with disappointing performance – not a good recipe for value.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Looks pretty snazzy, if that's what you're after, but the lack of padding and mediocre grip mean it's unimpressive to use.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
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?
By a whole pound this is the most expensive bar tape we've ever reviewed, though you can pay more (Brooks' £55 Leather Bar Tape, for example). The only tapes we've tested at £40+ are the Wolf Tooth gravel-specific tape – unusually wide and pretty comfy – and the Silca Nastro Fiore. That proved grippy and comfortable, but a pig to fit.
Did you enjoy using the product? No
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
I think anyone spending this amount will have high expectations, and – looks aside – this simply doesn't live up to them. It's a huge disappointment.
About the tester
I usually ride: On-one Bish Bash Bosh My best bike is: Rose X-Lite CRS
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Jez spends his days making robots that drive cars but is happiest when on two wheels. His roots are in mountain biking but he spends more time nowadays on the road, occasionally racing but more often just riding.