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Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.
Ritchey Pave EVA Foam Bar Tape is a good quality, thick, durable bar tape for pretty much any machine, although it mostly lends itself to the kind of riding where you're after a bit of extra give without double-wrapping your bars.
You can get it online for a lot less than the £22 RRP, but even then it's more expensive than similar options from other makers, and as such it's hard to recommend, even though it's good.
You'll not be surprised that this Pave EVA foam bar tape is made from EVA foam, and is suitable for bumpy riding; pave, for example.
The foam is backed with a gel layer that doubles as adhesive to stop the tape slipping on the handlebar. Because it's thick it's not the most flexible or stretchy but it's still fairly easy to wrap, and once it's on the bike it looks good and performs well. The roughened surface gives good grip in both wet and dry and the black tape I tested stayed looking very tidy; it's also available in white, which is unlikely to be as tolerant of dirt.
At 3.5mm thick this tape is about as thick as they come and it's pretty good at smoothing out the ride. It's certainly an improvement in terms of comfort over thinner EVA tapes, and although tapes such as Supacaz Super Sticky Kush are more plush, they're not particularly hardwearing and they're also pretty expensive. The Ritchey tape is a good balance of added comfort with good longevity.
It's all good then? Well, yes. But this tape bears more than a passing resemblance to Cannondale's 3.5mm EVA foam Synapse tape that it fits to – you've guessed, right? – its Synapse bikes. It's also available as an aftermarket product and you can pick it up online for about six quid. It doesn't have the nice Ritchey logo embossed into it, but in terms of the look and feel it's more or less indistinguishable. If it were me, I'd buy that instead.
Good hardwearing and comfortable thick tape, but similar tape is available for less
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Ritchey Pave Eva Foam 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?
Ritchey says: "When the going gets rough, the rough gets Pave. 3.5mm thick bar wrap provides extra cushion in any hand position."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Superlight EVA foam + gel backing for increased shock absorption
Embossed Ritchey Logo
Available in black and white
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Good quality thick tape.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, it's pretty good.
Would you consider buying the product? It's a bit pricey for what it is.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Not over similar but cheaper tapes.
Use this box to explain your score
Good performance but shop around and you can find similar tapes for a lot less, so not great value.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.