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Ergon Bartape Road is grippy, offers a good road feel and is easy to fit – if you take your time as it doesn't offer much stretch. At 2mm thick it's not a bar tape for the longest rides or roughest roads, but if you’re not doing 200km audaxes every other week or spending all your weekends on the gravel, it provide a comfortable place for your hands.
Ergon has designed the tape to be comfortable, feel good to the touch, provide a secure grip and deliver 'precise and direct control', and I reckon it's succeeded on all counts.
Starting off with the installation, the tape has a subtle surface texture that helps with getting each loop precisely the same width, making this a joy to wrap – although it doesn't have much stretch at all so you really need patience to make it neat.
It comes with an instruction leaflet that has a QR code to an instructional video – which is hugely helpful if you're only just figuring out how to wrap the tape – and Ergon also emphasises that there are two ways to wrap this tape, either for more grip or more freedom of movement; I went for the latter.
The finishing tape was a positive surprise when wrapping this tape – usually, I'd bin it in favour of electrical tape, but this tape actually worked as well as the best electrical tape, and it has held well in the weeks of testing. The end plugs are very basic but do the job.
Once I'd finished the wrapping I did have to double-check the colour of the bar tape. The one reviewed is labelled as black but in my opinion it's more a dark grey. I know colours are a very personal thing, but if you're looking for a proper black tape, this is not it. It does look very nice on a matt black bike, nevertheless.
As well as black, it's available in four other colours – Horizon Blue, Race Red, Moondust Grey and White Speed.
I've been testing the tape on both long and short, rainy and dry rides and it has performed really well. As it isn't the thickest, on a 200km audax ride I did feel I could have done with some padding on the tops. Ergon does its own BT OrthoCell Pad Set which would solve this issue.
On the drops, the 2mm thickness feels very reactive, which is nice, especially when reaching for the levers; it's grippy but not sticky. It worked really well both in wet conditions and also when it was dry and my hands got sweaty.
It's also barely showing any marks of wear after about 800km of riding – and a few washes haven't made it peel off at all.
At £29.99 it's definitely up at the higher end, though it's not alone. It's the same price as the Brooks Cambium Rubber Bar Tape that George reviewed in January, for example, though that's 3mm thick, and the 2.5mm-thick Wolf Tooth Supple Lite tape that Neil tested last year is £29.
Overall, this tape performs very well and deliver on its promises. The black is a little light coloured, but overall the look of the tape is very sleek and actually helps in wrapping it neatly. Including the instructions for wrapping the tape is handy, as well as Ergon highlighting that it can be wrapped in two ways.
Comfortable, grippy and durable – for an elevated price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Ergon Bartape Road
Size tested: 2mm thick
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?
Ergon says: "Ergon BT Road with its 2 mm thickness and a fine, straight surface texture offers road cyclists the perfect all-in-one solution. Pressure on the hands is reduced, vibration and shock are damped and riding pleasure and performance are greatly improved. The bar tape can be wrapped to individual preferences – thinner/thicker or increased/decreased grip texture – as wrap positioning guide marks are incorporated into the bar tape surface pattern."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Ergon says the Road bar tape comprises three precisely developed material layers: the water-repellent non-slip surface (Anti-Slip Comfort Top), the lightweight foam (AirCell Foam) and the adhesive tape on the underside all result in a secure grip, lasting surface durability and excellent pressure distribution with light overall weight.
No marks of wear or splitting of the layers after being wet.
The comfort is high for 2mm thickness.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It performed very well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I like the grippiness and the sleek look.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The colour isn't deep black.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's similar to other tapes, though there are more expensive options – the Supacaz Super Sticky Kush Silicone Gel that Liam reviewed a while back costs £34.99, and Wolf Tooth's Supple Bar Tape is £45.
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
It's a very good tape if you like a thinner option: the only downsides are the price and the fact it doesn't have much stretch to it, making it a little more time-consuming to wrap neatly.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized Tarmac Sl6 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, general fitness riding, Ultra-distances