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Cycology 8 Days Handlebar Tape

8
£20.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Stylish, practical and very comfortable bar tape with an equally appealing price tag
Comfortable
Grippy in all conditions
Easy to care for and keep clean
Well priced
Finishing strips not the stickiest
Weight: 
91g

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The Cycology 8 Days Handlebar Tape has proved comfortable and very grippy, no matter how wet and wild the weather has been. Damping is good, too, though it hasn't rivalled some of the polymer-infused and natural silicone types, but it's been easier to live with and care for thanks to some unique technology. For more options, check out our guide to the best handlebar tape.

> Buy now: Cycology 8 Days Handlebar Tape for £20 from Cycology

Shock absorption is provided by PU/EVA foam, which is nothing out of the ordinary, but I was surprised to learn it was listed as 3.5mm thick – it looks and feels thinner than several others I've used and tested – so much so that I got curious and reached for my digital vernier calipers... 1.49mm. I measured it three times, and then checked with Cycology, who confirmed the cited measurement is wrong, and it's actually 1.5mm (now corrected on the website) – although in a practical, everyday sense this was academic, as it proved very comfortable on a variety of terrain.

Atop the pattern (which reminded me of the painted mountain climbs commonly spotted on the Tour de France) there's a slightly stiff lacquer-type coating, which Cycology tells me is silicone based. Aside from making the tape resistant to muck and grime, it also prevents the pattern from being worn away over time. Cycology told me that this technology and its processes took several trial runs to perfect and is, apparently, unique to the brand.

You also get Cycology-branded strips and tap-in plugs. The former seemed reluctant to stick, but that's far from unusual – I tend to plump for electrical tape from the off. I fitted the tape to my rough stuff tourer, which sports a swoopy riser drop bar with bar-end shifters so I didn't need the plugs, but I did try them on other bars, one carbon, the other 6061 aluminium alloy, where they were solid and effective.

2024 Cycology 8 days Handlebar tape bar end plug.JPG

Fitting

At 235cm, the 8 Days tape should be long enough to cater for the biggest flared drops and gel type underlays, provided you're not going for masses of overlap. I had no issues dressing 44cm drops on some dry runs, with 9cm to spare on each side.

I had a hunch it might prove a trickier customer to start nicely than traditional wraps, given it's less malleable, hence the dry run on some spare bars which confirmed this, but once I got going I was able to achieve a nice, flowing effect. The tacky but narrow backing adhesive certainly helps when correcting imperfections.

2024 Cycology 8 days handlebar tape wrapped.JPG

After taping my swoopy riser drop bar I had a good bit left over, so made my own 'cheater' strips for fitting over the brake lever bands.

I used a firm tension to weave the tape around, and found it was a good idea to have the finishing strips/electrical tape primed when hitting the tops. It doesn't unravel at lightning speed, but by the third time of re-wrapping I needed to tack it in place with a sliver of electrical tape, adding more once I'd given everything a visual check.

Talking of visuals, it doesn't give a bulky look, so is a good bet for older tourers and audax builds.

Grip

Grip has been impressive, regardless of how wet and icy things have become. It also seems unaffected by low temperatures – it was down to -6°C my way in January.

Gloves with silicone palms were perhaps predictably the best pairing – no problems with some Altura All Roads Waterproof Gloves and BodyLite Gear Reflective Gloves – but traditional, plain leather and faux versions weren't far behind.

Our first outing was at 5am and below zero, and tenure was excellent, helped in no small part by the moderate yet highly effective EVA foam fostering a good connection to the bar, so I could just cruise along in complete control. Admittedly, my spiked tyres helped on icy roads, but the tape's characteristics meant I could easily weave around holes, roadkill and similar rural hazards, even when flagging.

> How to make your bike more comfortable – check out our 14 tips

This song remained unchanged in persistent sleety rain, and although gummy polymer or natural silicone tapes have a slight edge in these contexts, the lacquered texture here is exceptionally reliable. So much so, I headed out with a trailer and 15kg in tow and indulged in some speedy descending – no issues keeping everything in check, even at 25mph.

It was much the same story off-road in some slippery conditions, which suggests it's a good contender for gravel and competitive cyclocross duties.

The lacquer coating also meant I could lean the bike up, fully laden, without needing to employ a DIY parking brake, confident it wouldn't creep away from host trees or wooden signs.

Damping

In my experience, it's the persistent low-level vibration that induces numbness and general hand fatigue. With the 8 Days I've tackled everything from churned bridleways, railway crossings and lumpy lanes through to pock-marked town centres and there's been no tingling, numbness or similar discomfort on mixed terrain rides of several hours, which was a pleasant surprise given it's actually much thinner than the contemporary default of 2.4mm upward, as I said earlier.

Again, silicones and polymer types do have a slight edge in the same conditions in my opinion, but can give a slightly bulky aesthetic and often require a bit more care when cleaning.

Durability

It's difficult to comment long term, when the adhesive backings will have weathered a bit, but 600 very wintry miles haven't taxed ours, and there's no evidence to suggest it won't serve well and look sharp for a few seasons.

Leaned against brickwork, trees, stone walls and the like, there's no sign of scuffing or similar deterioration, and the clear coat means mucky stuff, including oily fingers, doesn't transfer easily.

Cycology doesn't give specific directions or precautions when it comes to cleaning. I've found a shot of bike wash, warm water and a soft to medium bristled brush is all that's needed to keep it looking fresh.

Value

As we all know, you can spend a lot more on bar tape than £20, which puts this arguably at the budget end of the market and makes it very appealing for winter, cyclocross and high-mileage working bikes.

It's just a penny more than Prime's Comfort Bar Tape at rrp, which impressed Liam with its thick, grippy and comfortable nature – but the Cycology does have some unique technology in that silicone clear lacquer top coat, which serves to offer grip in all conditions while protecting the printed effect from premature wear.

It's cheaper than the Kinesis Anti-Slip Handlebar Tape Jo Burt Signature Series Reflective tape, which is now £28, though it did impress Jamie with its ease of fitting, comfort, generous length, and excellent grip.

And while PNW Components' Coast Bar Tape pleased Mike Stead with its blend of cushioning, grip, good looks, and durability – and a lifetime warranty is likely to win some friends and wallets – it's gone up to £29 at rrp, is a little trickier to fit than some, and its slightly chunky look might not be to everyone's tastes.

Others can cost a lot more: Lizard Skins' DSP V2, which impressed Patrick on our sister site off.road.cc, is £47, and he noted it was trickier to fit than some, and its 4.6mm depth could perhaps be a little too beefy for riders with smaller hands. Even its thinner siblings start at £38, and while I'm fond of the DSP range, in my experience they require a more gentle touch when cleaning.

Another more costly option, but worth a look if you have a particularly wide or flared bar, is Enve's simply named Handlebar Tape, which also wowed Patrick on off.road.cc with its blend of grip, looks and comfort. It's £35, but 250cm and 112g uncut.

Conclusion

Aside from a few minor points, I've been really impressed with this Cycology bar tape, especially given the price. Natural silicones and polymer-based wraps have a small but tangible edge, in my opinion, when it comes to grip and damping, but they're also harder to keep clean and most are a good bit more expensive, too.

The 8 Days is long enough to entertain gel and other under-bar padding, lending it nicely to cyclocross and rough stuff touring, and it's also reasonably light, so a good bet for audax and winter bikes clocking up big miles in changeable conditions.

Verdict

Stylish, practical and very comfortable bar tape with an equally appealing price tag

road.cc test report

Make and model: Cycology 8 Days Handle Bar tape

Size tested: 3cm wide x 235cm long

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?

Cycology says: "Cycology Handlebar Tape combines colourful and lively designs with reliable grip and comfort, making it the perfect stylish update for transforming the feel and appearance of your ride.

The bar tape is specifically designed for increased grip, extra padded comfort and shock absorption for your hands, and it can be quickly and easily fitted.

Comes in a set of two bar tape rolls with matching Cycology end plugs to give your bike an original eye-catching finish."

It's stylish, practical, and very comfortable, with a competitive price tag.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Cycology lists:

Silicone coated for grip and durability.

Polyurethane (PU)+high soft EVA.

1.5mm thick profile for shock absorption and increased comfort.

2 rolls of tape: 3cm wide x 235cm long

Includes 2 Cycology bar ends.

Tape weight: 37gm each roll.

CYCOLOGY original artwork.

Application instructions on the box.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10

Finishing strips aren't the best, but the tape and ends seem solid and durable.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Impressive in the wet or dry, and its performance has been consistent in sub-zero temperatures. Damping is similarly good. Not on a par with traditional silicones but surprisingly good nonetheless.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Difficult to comment on its long-term durability and how well it will weather, but it seems very hardy. Its lacquer-type coating, which Cycology tells me is silicone based, makes the tape resistant to muck and grime, and also prevents the pattern from being worn away.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
7/10

Absorbs low-level vibration very effectively and doesn't give a chunky aesthetic.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

Compared with others that cost the same and more, its specification and performance are impressive.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Overall, the Cycology 8 Days handlebar Tape has impressed with its blend of grip, damping, and low maintenance. I've used it on and off-road with similar results. The outer silicone layer seems to act like a lacquer, encouraging wet and grime to roll off, while offering dependable grip regardless of how wet it's been. Damping has been similarly impressive: no tingling, or numbness on longer rides.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Unique print, excellent grip, surprisingly good damping, and, better still, it's easy to care for.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

A very minor point but the finishing strips weren't particularly effective, but this applies to quite a few bar tapes in my experience.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It's just a penny more than Prime's Comfort Bar Tape at rrp, and cheaper than the Kinesis Anti-Slip Handlebar Tape Jo Burt Signature Series Reflective tape, now £28, and PNW Components' Coast Bar Tape at £29.

Others can cost a lot more: Lizard Skins' DSP V2 is £47, and Enve's simply named Handlebar Tape is £35, but worth a look if you have a particularly wide or flared bar as it's 250cm.

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

Impressive and seemingly durable bar tape with an attractive design and an equally appealing price. The finishing strip adhesive was a little disappointing but this is common on a lot of tapes, some costing a good bit more. Overall, it's very good.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 50  Height: 1m 81cm  Weight: 70kg

I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset  My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,

Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)

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9 comments

Avatar
hawkinspeter | 4 months ago
0 likes

I love Cycology's designs and have a few of their clothing items. I've been using their handlebar tape too and it's quite hard wearing and certainly seems to do the job. I'm currently using their lime (colour not taste) Ride Graffiti tape

//www.cycologygear.co.uk/cdn/shop/products/ride-graffiti-handlebar-tape-917167_500x.jpg)

Avatar
Steve K replied to hawkinspeter | 4 months ago
3 likes

Have you actually tasted it to check?

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Steve K | 4 months ago
2 likes
Steve K wrote:

Have you actually tasted it to check?

Hold on, be right back…

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to hawkinspeter | 4 months ago
2 likes

Could you check those Lime bikes for us while you're at it?

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to chrisonabike | 4 months ago
1 like
chrisonabike wrote:

Could you check those Lime bikes for us while you're at it?

Took longer than I thought as Bristol now uses TIER e-scooters and e-bikes.

However, checking my handlebar tape and it's distinctly lemon rather than lime. I only got as far as tasting the saddle on a Lime e-bike and don't know how to describe that flavour.

Avatar
RoubaixCube replied to Steve K | 4 months ago
3 likes

.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to RoubaixCube | 4 months ago
2 likes

Is that Albert Hofmann?

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to hawkinspeter | 4 months ago
2 likes

An older Gary Fisher?

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to chrisonabike | 4 months ago
2 likes
chrisonabike wrote:

An older Gary Fisher?

He doesn't have a whole day dedicated to him, though.

April 19th, Bicycle Day: https://allthatsinteresting.com/bicycle-day-albert-hofmann

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