• Country

Bar Tape & Grips – The Best Christmas Gift?

By Christopher Ashley

Are you looking for a little extra something to give as a gift this Christmas? If your special someone is a cyclist, you should consider bar tape or grips – here’s why.

Feel the comfort

It’s unlikely anyone will notice the weight difference, even with a bar tape as thick as Lizard Skins 3.2mm. Your special someone will, however, thank you for the reduced strain on fingers, wrists and, by extension, elbows. Especially if they like to ride long distances – like this bum.

Ok, so we know that The Old Bum is removing Lizards to try out their competitor, Brooks of England, but you get the idea. Lizards and Brooks may weigh in at about 80 grams per set but that really isn’t adding much weight to the bike. In fact, The Old Bum double wraps. Maybe you should gift two.

Weight loss

All cyclists are in danger of becoming weight-obsessed and roadies are particularly susceptible – especially when they have the epiphany that cycling up hills is more gratifying than letting gravity do the work. If your loved one is a member of the weight-weenie club, consider Supacaz Super Sticky Kush Star Fade Bar Tape.

Yes, there are lighter bar tapes, but given how sticky this bar tape is, you can ditch your gloves to save weight. Although the bar tape will be hung on the wall of the bike-shed until summer, the grateful recipient will feel the nausea of excitement all the way till spring. Anticipation is the best gift.

Kids know style

To flange or not to flange? BMX riders can be just as obsessive about the practicality and stylings of their bar grips. You can’t go wrong with black grips and no flange, but why not make a statement? I like Affix’s S7 with a flange. But if you want to freak out on chic, just splash on some Cult AK Grips.

This little dude knows what he’s talking about and tells you pretty much everything you need to know about Cults. This kid is young so he’s happy with the “squishy” bit away from the centre. But at my age, I feel the bumps and would probably put the squish towards the head tube.

Add colour

Thanks to Rapha, everyone knows how to look stylish on a bike. But thanks to lycra, and the appetite of pro-team sponsors to grab your attention, it’s ok to dress up in all manner of outlandish garb when riding your bike. Why not extend that logic to your handlebars?

As this video demonstrates, the Japanese are ahead of the game and embracing the neo-splash tape world. The Velominati’s grip on our aesthetic choices is loosening, so keep your eyes peeled for splash-tape in the pro-peloton. Be fashion forward – add patterns and colour to your Christmas gifts.