I'm glad I've had a few weeks to live with the Nastro Fiore bar tape, because if you'd asked me on the day I fitted it I would have advised you to throw it in the bin. Really, I've never used such uncooperative kit; the stroppy teenager of bar tapes, I would say.
On the plus side, the butterfly-shaped lever bracket tape is good for avoiding unsightly gaps; but the very sticky feel, the lack of stretch and the thickness of the tape combined to make it all-but-impossible to avoid unsightly bulges or wrinkles. Additionally, the prominent pattern highlights any imperfections and your own inadequacies at the task. I usually quite enjoy the job in a meditative way, but not this time. If you are a beginner, stay away.
However, now I've had a chance to balance this inauspicious start with some good riding, I've grown to enjoy the qualities of the Nastro Fiore.
The dual-material laminate used in the construction makes for a tough, cushioned ride quality that's not far away from leather in feel. The adhesive strip is also very good and didn't object to being unwrapped and rewrapped (which is just as well really). I also liked the finishing tape, which was more like a strip of latex and sticks very firmly.
The tacky surface makes for very secure hand positioning, even in the wet. In fact, moving my hands from one position to another required a rather more conscious effort than I am used to, though it soon became second nature. I tried with both leather- and synthetic-palmed gloves and found both worked well, though they could be a noisy combination.
Another advantage is that it cleans up easily, so even in this white finish your tape looks good for longer. A squirt of citrus degreaser on a paper towel was enough to remove greasy marks and dirty palm-prints. This also restored the tape's sticky feel.
The Spirograph-like pattern put me in mind of luxury toilet paper, at least in the white version. The pattern is repeated on the end plugs, which are quality items with proper expanding bungs and must partly account for the product's high price.
Make and model: Silca Nastro Fiore Bar Tape
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?
Silca says: "NASTRO FIORE is a 2.5mm thick tape that provides cushioning and comfort equivalent to 3.2mm tapes of existing technologies. FIORE has a moderate texture, high tackiness, and printed silicone graphics which adds comfort and grip in both wet and dusty conditions.
"Inspired by advancements in running shoe foam and F1 tires as well as our own research into rolling efficiency, impedance and damping, we realized that new materials technology could allow for a significant improvement in bar tape. Using a laminate of SILCAthane, SILCAlon and 3M Visco-elastic adhesive instead of a single foam extrusion, the tape can be optimized across a range of desired features. The resulting tape has a softer, more comfortable feel, higher wet and dry grip, better vibration isolation, and 3-5x the durability of existing tape materials. Since the actual wrap of the tape can be as important as the tape itself, we've also developed a full adhesive backed 'butterfly' to better cover the back of the lever clamp area without adding bulk, a high grip finishing tape and expanding aluminum/composite end plugs to ensure every detail is perfect.Who's it for?
"NASTRO FIORE is for the detail oriented cyclist looking for additional comfort without the additional bulk commonly associated with thick bar tapes. Fiore also adds a subtle color pop through contrasting high grip silicone printing, as well as the Butterfly clamp wrap for perfect bar taping every time."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Ultra Performance 2.5mm thick Tri-Laminate design delivers equivalent cushioning to 3.2mm tapes
Debossed FIORE pattern plus embossed FIORE silicone printing for improved grip and cushioning
Aluminum expanding bar-end plug
PU finishing tape
Butterfly shaped brake clamp cover
Rate the product for quality of construction:
There's no doubt that this is good quality kit, but the very sticky feel, lack of stretch and the thickness combine to make it hard to wrap. Once on, it stood up to some rough handling both during fitting and riding! The bar end plugs are excellent, as is the finishing tape for the other end which is probably the first time I've found one worth using.
Rate the product for performance:
It's a comfortable tape with high levels of grip – people who move their hands around a lot may even find this a bit much.
Rate the product for durability:
As bar tapes go, the Silca Fiore should last well, given the quality of the materials and the tough finish. It also cleans up well.
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
This suited me very well, though my hands don't seem to object to anything much.
Rate the product for value:
Ouch, price-wise. Though it does do a great job once wrapped.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As Silca claims, it's a good comfortable bar wrap that's not overly bulky. It stayed in place well and gave a confident grip. All this depends on you being able to fit it well in the first place.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good quality, secure grip and durable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Fitting, fitting and fitting. And the price.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Supacaz's Super Sticky Kush tape retails at a little less, but is available readily online at a discount. It's a remarkably similar product in a wider range of finishes.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Not really.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably not.
Use this box to explain your overall score
In use, I found it both comfortable and grippy, if a little squeaky. Getting it onto the bike is another matter. Ask a shop mechanic to do it. But don't ask me. Once on it should stay looking good, but marks are knocked off for the high price and difficulty of fitting.
Age: 54 Height: 6'2 Weight: 73kg and holding steady
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 My best bike is: Tomassini Prestige
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking
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