Going all the way back to my first ‘serious’ drop-bar bike (the Vaya), I’ve run DSP Lizardskins 2.5mm tape.
Well, on my first real bike, Tobie didn’t ask me what tape to use. He just used DSP. I’ve had it on the Vaya, the Ridley, the Madone, the Moots, the Moots, my ‘retro-Trek’, etc. Yeah, I’ve used other tape in the interim–cork, other rubber tape, various brands…but I’ve always gone back to Lizardskins.
About a week ago, I was doing a hot 60 mile loop on the Moots and I looked down at the bar tape. The Moots was built up in January of 2014. In the intervening 2.5 years, I’ve ridden 5 figure miles on it. I don’t know exactly how many, but a lot. There were many, many gravel rides. There was a ridiculous amount of training for Dirty Kanza. There were exploits of all forms. I looked down and, holy crap. That’s still the original bar tape.
Yeah, it’s a little worn. A lot of times, when I’m motoring along, I’ll pull my hands back to the bend at the tops of the bars–back where the center part of the bars bends 90 degrees forward to the hoods…I put my hands there and pedal. I squeeze there when I’m hurting. I languish there when I’m lamenting. I relax there when I’m spinning. I rest there when I’m riding solo. Right there, in the crook of the bars, you can see where the gloss on the tape is gone. You can see the outline of countless hours in the saddle. You can see the investment of time that I’ve made in my legs. You can see the past glories and the ignominious defeats. You can see shades of the Kansas mud in the creases, from miles walked with a bike on my shoulder, one hand on the bars.
But you can also see the salt from the ride to Madison. You can see the spots where my grip has tightened down on a Wednesday night sprint. You can see that spot where I just barely clipped a tree when doing a little singletrack CX action.
The tape feels as good as when it was new. I probably should replace it, just for aesthetic reasons, but there are a lot of memories there…and there’s nothing wrong with it, other than a little wear.
It’s grippy when it’s wet. It’s comfy when it’s hot. It’s compliant, even when it’s cold. It doesn’t draw attention to itself; it just silently performs its job. I haven’t maintained it because it hasn’t called for it. And so it’s become one of my favorite products. It’s much the same on the Madone–I’ve been riding it for nearly 4 years, all with DSP tape. Truth be told, I swapped bars on the Madone and treated it to some new tape a couple years ago, so it’s not all-original like the Moots…but it still has a lot of miles on it.
Some time, I’ll throw some new tape on the Moots. Until then, the DSP will keep doing its job, silently. That’s the trait of an excellent product. That’s why I love my lizardskins.