FIZIK VENTO MICROTEX TACKY BI-COLOUR BAR TAPE
96g £33. 99
The Fizik Vento Microtex Tacky Bi-Colour Tape is a two-colour race orientated blend; devised for racers looking to save weight, without compromising grip, or protection from road shock. Available in ten different two-tone colourways, its described as being contemporary but I’d say timeless, lending itself to older bikes, too.
Several hundred miles in, it’s lived up to the hype and my expectations. A good choice for riders wanting a glossy looking handlebar wrap, with the tenacity of contemporary polymers but without the rubbery stickiness associated with this genre.
Pros: Lightweight, durable, superlative grip without stickiness, good range of colours.
Cons: Trickier to fit than some, relatively expensive.
Fizik are suitably tight lipped about its material composition, describing it as a 2mm “Microtex” with a raised texture, sticky finish and no additional padding. As I said in my introduction, the phrase “tacky” implies a gummy, or rubbery texture, which isn’t to everyone’s taste. Perhaps I’ve done too many miles with the Lizard Skins DSP 2.5 and similar polymers. However, I’d describe the Vento Microtex Tacky’s texture as a grippy “Bike Ribbon.”
There’s a wealth of contemporary and classic shades/colours to choose from. Those seeking an 80’s vibe will be delighted by the more lurid fluro options (pink, yellow and orange). Or indeed, the black/red, black/pink.
Nothing retro about the length though, which is perfect for the latest generation of wavy drops. True, my Univega’s Soma Condor are a shallow, flared design. However, even with liberal overlap, there was oodles left over.
The tape has a slightly stiffer, laminated texture, although being relatively thin, its more malleable than I was expecting. That said; there’s a definite knack to achieving graceful, flowing overlap and its worth spending a few minutes watching their you tube video beforehand.
Unlike some which go on flush and seamless, the laminate texture has a slightly raised effect. One I initially thought was the consequence of not maintaining enough tension. Three attempts (and coming across the video) later, I concluded this was what they meant by raised texture.
Keep it taught, especially when trimming and securing with finishing strips/electrical tape. Otherwise, it’ll unravel at warp speed. Talking of finishing strips, those supplied ae much better than I’ve come to expect and have remained secure, since.
Nonetheless, good quality electrical tape remains my preferred default. I was also pleasantly surprised by how well the graduated tones complimented my tubby tourer’s predominantly cream/black colourway. Something I attributed to the white XLC dual sided SPD pedals. Even allowing for a generous overlap, it doesn’t result in an overly chunky look, which I welcomed and won’t spoil a racier bike’s sleek lines.
This has exceeded all my expectations and high praise, coming from the Acros Silicone Wrap Handlebar Tape . During October and November, the gods have been busily washing their fleets and tipping their buckets on us mere mortals. Purchase and control have been super dependable, regardless how torrential the rains, or glove choice. Unlike those with a rubbery texture, which become stickier, the wetter things get, the Vento’s characteristics remain unchanged.
Admittedly, gloves with extensive silicone detailing around the palms were the best marriage. However, traditional leather and everything in between has enjoyed reliable tenure. A relaxed touch, rather than the tiresome, white knuckle experience, which can induce fatigue and spoil longer, faster rides.
Not the most obvious choice off road, perhaps but I’ve had no problems when hustling along unmade roads and winding forest trails, dodging rabbits and other woodland life. These characteristics were equally welcome around town. Sweeping around holes, abruptly opened car doors at school chucking out time etc., especially when i've had my trailer en-tow.
Something like the Acros Silicone Wrap, which is 3mm thick, would be my choice for adventure/gravel bikes spending long periods off road. Nonetheless, there’s been little separating it and the Lizard Skins DSP in terms of vibration taming. I wasn’t overly conscious of it, one way or the other. Obviously, glove choice, fork material and tyre width all play a part. Nonetheless, on rides around 5 hours, numbness, tingling or more serious fatigue have been conspicuous by their absence.
Overall, the Fizik Vento has taken the usual everyday carelessness in its stride. Yes, I’m mindful about how I lean it against surfaces, such as rendered brickwork and rough sawn wood. However, no sign of distress six weeks and coming on for 600 miles, since.
Darker colours are arguably more practical on a daily driver, although it took three weeks sustained wet-weather riding (with the occasional chain lube hand- print thrown in) before the white sections began cultivated a weathered patina.
Soapy water and a moderate towel rubbing) a sensible default. I’ve found Juice Lubes Bike Cleaner (review to follow) more effective and without negatively affecting the tape’s properties.
I’ve also rewound ours a few times. Twice to test the tape’s tolerance and once to replace a cable. The adhesive seems tolerant of this, so no issues there.
£30 odd seems the going rate for more sophisticated bar tapes. Road/Audax riders with classic/contemporary builds on calorie-controlled diets, will benefit most. There’s a lot of choice. Having used both, I’d be inclined to choose it, over their Lizard Skins DSP 2.5.
That said; the latter might be a better option, if you’re looking for something with a gummier texture. At the other end of price spectrum, BBB BHT14 Flex Ribbon Gel Bar Tape is a surprisingly grippy, lightweight and very durable option
Overall, the Fizik Vento is an excellent choice for riders seeking a classic looking tape with cutting edge technology. Though the going rate for high tech tapes, there are better options for gravel bikes, and others that rack up big mileages off road.