by Lars Hundley
Price: $42 MSRP
How Obtained: Company sample
RBR Advertiser: No
Durable, Pure Silicone Bar Tape That Can Be Removed and Put Back On
I discovered this product at Interbike last year, where the company had a tiny booth on a back row in one of the halls. When I asked questions about the tape and how it worked, they ended up giving me a sample that I took home from the show. I didn’t get around to putting it on until about four or five months ago.
I don’t usually install my own handlebar tape, because I’m a mediocre mechanic with poor attention to detail. But it turned out that during a professional bike fitting, my fitter installed new handlebars on my bike and didn’t have any replacement tape to go with them, leaving me with no choice but to take the bike to a shop or install tape myself.
Handlebar tape often has an adhesive tape on the back that makes it stay in place. So if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can accidentally ruin your expensive tape if you put it on wrong and have to peel it back off to try again.
Silic1 tape, however, is a single, long strip of thick silicone that requires no sticky backing to grip onto your bars. So when I screwed up the first time around (and believe me, I did), I just unwrapped it all and started over from scratch and tried again. The second time I got it on correctly.
I followed the YouTube video instructions from the manufacturer to put it on, which were helpful. The tape comes with very good quality aluminum bar plugs.
One of the selling points of the new X-Fit version of the Silic1 tape is that you can choose how thick you want the tape to be by stretching it. With a regular wrap, it is around 3mm thick. But if you pull it hard while you are wrapping, you can change the thickness to a narrower 2.5 mm. You can see from the printing on the tape how hard to pull. I went with the thicker wrap, because I like the padding.
There are a lot of advantages to a pure silicone bar tape. It’s non-porous, so your sweat isn’t going to soak through as easily and corrode your bars. It’s UV resistant, so your tape color stays true. And it’s also removable and washable.
How does it feel, though? It is nice and grippy, with plenty of padding and vibration damping to keep your hands comfortable. One of my favorite tapes in the past has been Lizard Skins because of its terrific grip that helps prevents your hands from sliding off the bars if you hit an unexpected pot hole. That tape is pretty sensitive and wears out fairly quickly, and then needs to be replaced.
The Silic1 tape has about 80 percent of the grippiness of a high grip tape like Lizard Skins, but should last a lot longer since it is a long and thick piece of pure silicone. I can say that after several months of riding mine, it is still like brand new. It’s also very easy to wipe clean after I’ve ridden on the trainer.
Although the price might seem high for bar tape, it’s similar to other high end tapes. Lizard Skin itself has some tapes that cost even more. The fact that you can remove it, wash it, and put it back on means that you might end up saving money if you need to remove or adjust the height of your brake levers or shifters, because you’ll be able to keep using the same tape.
Silicone makes for a good bike tape material, and is worth considering the next time you need to wrap your bars.