SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MAY 30th
ACROS SILICONE BAR WRAP: FOURTEEN MONTH TEST
163g (Uncut) £34.99
The Acros Silicone Wrap Handlebar Tape has proven itself a rugged and incredibly capable all-rounder that offers superior grip and comfort, on and off road. Run year round, through winter’s coldest and foulest conditions, ours still looks packet fresh. My one, minor gripe is the embossed texture’s tendency to collect every spec of petrochemical grime.
Read the original short-term test review here.
Pros: Rugged, choice of colours, superior grip in all conditions, easy to care for.
Cons: Tricky to wrap in the first instance, lighter colours collect grimy patina very easily.
Essentially, this is embossed silicone, 3mm thick and 185mm long, which is more than adequate for the widest drops. I’ve ported ours around several sets of bars, from the Genetic D-Riser 16 and Genetic D-Riser 4, through to the Soma Condor 2 and there’s been ample for doubling up at key points.
I’ve grown to love our matt orange but there’s blue, pink, white, red, yellow and black, should you prefer. I’d expect a premium grade bar tape to have decent end plugs but as I said in my first review, the finishing strips are something of an afterthought. I’m still using the OEM plugs, but high-quality electrical tape has been my default and frankly, should be yours too.
Getting pleasing, swooping overlap was initially quite tricky, even compared with other silicones. However, I’m pleased to report it relaxes with time and use. For the first few weeks, I was wrestling it into submission. A few months, two bar swaps and a cable replacement under its belt and things became far more compliant.
Yes, you’ll still need to keep a decent amount of tension, especially when you reach the tops but less than is typically needed for a common or garden cork, or polymer wrap. Admittedly, the bars in question have shot-peened finishes, which afford better purchase than highly polished anodised, or electroplated surfaces. All told, I’ve un/wound ours on 8 occasions and no signs of “tan lines” or similar unsightly discoloration, which tends to afflict cheaper silicones.
The tenacious, grippy texture hasn’t shown any hint of deteriorating. A predominantly wet winter proved that the wetter it became, the better my purchase and control. Gloves with silicone detailing have been the best possible combination but leach-like control has been consistent, regardless how wet, dry, cold conditions became.
A real boon when the roads have been slippery, and tiredness has begun encroaching toward the end of a long ride. Similarly, silicone’s natural tenacity has meant slippage/unravelling have been moot points.
Being 3mm thick, the damping qualities are excellent, offering excellent insulation from intrusive low-level vibration, which has been particularly conducive to long, steady winter miles along country roads. Doubled up at key points, it doesn’t give a chunky aesthetic, or feel bulky either, so an obvious choice for rough stuff touring/gravel and provided you take the black route, cyclo cross.
This is where getting what you pay for comes into play. Ours is still in seriously good condition despite several thousand miles all weather service. I’ve perpetually leaned ours against rendered brickwork, rough sawn wood, stonework. No hint of abrasion or wear, which wasn’t the case with the cheap and generally very cheerful Genetic Flare Silicone Bar Wrap or the slightly pricier Guee Silicone Bartape (£25.99) after similar timescales and mileage.
There’s a definite knack to keeping it clean. Ours has been through the washing machine at 30-40 degrees and emerged looking brand spanking new but this isn’t always practical. I have found a gel, or citrus type cleaner that can be brought to a rich clinging lather.
Oxford Tyre Scrub has been particularly good for gentle, yet effective agitation, ditto this Zefal ZB Wash Brush (review to follow) which has really lifted ingrained petrochemical grime, rinsing with warm (not hot) water also makes a world of difference.
Compared with silicones, The Acros is at the higher end price wise but by no means outlandish. Fabric Silicone Bar Tape is available in five colours and at £37. ESIgrips RCT Wrap is also available in several colours and at £34.99 However, the Acros’s superior refinement, comfort and durability means it works out very cheaply, longer term.
Ultimately, the Acros Silicone Wrap Handlebar Tape is an understated and extremely comfortable upgrade for anyone seeking a grippy, heavily cushioned grip that won’t spoil a sleek bike’s lines. Though not difficult to clean, a definite knack to keeping it looking fresh, so black might be best on a daily driver, cross, winter or working bikes.
Verdict: 4.25/5 Durable bar tape delivering excellent performance in all conditions.
PUBLISHED JULY 2020
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH