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Trek/Bontrager's new Perf Line bar tape review

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Trek/Bontrager's new Perf Line bar tape review

Old 08-21-19, 05:33 AM
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audiomagnate
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Trek/Bontrager's new Perf Line bar tape review

I checked out the new 2020 Madone last week and was duly impressed with the bike, but when I grabbed the bars I was blown away by the downright sexy feel of the tape. I hunted some down and went for my first ride last night and I can't get over how nice it is. I'm extremely cheap and a serious bargain hunter so dropping the full retail $29.99 plus tax at my LBS for something I usually pay a few bucks for was not an easy decision. Hell, you can get Chinese carbon handlebars for less than that if you're willing to wait a few months! But I pulled the trigger after getting a second look and feel at the shop and I am so glad I did.
First off, it just looks amazing. My bike has a few subtle red accents so I went with the red underlayer. Installation was pretty straightforward but I ended up using all the tape so they're not overly generous in the length department (hey, what do you want for $30?). I don't have the fork clearance to run 28s and have been doing the old innertube trick and decided to keep it after doing a half on/half off test. That might be overkill for some, but I like that extra bit of comfort and luxuriousness.

Many roads in my neighborhood have truck damage, and there's a section on a steep descent near my home that really drives me crazy. This tape allowed me to take the descent faster and did a fantastic job of absorbing the vibration. This tape is definitely going to make me go faster and further, no doubt about it. I know this reads like a paid promo but it isn't, I just had to get the word out, this stuff is amazing.



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Old 08-21-19, 07:12 AM
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I can only comment on the look which is subtle and attractive.
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Old 08-21-19, 07:23 AM
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I like that. Looks good. Did it come with enough to put behind the shifters? Or was there extra bits for that? I am not great at wrapping bars and always need that. I would try it but not at $30. $20 is the most I will spend on bar tape.
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Old 08-21-19, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by sdmc530 View Post
I like that. Looks good. Did it come with enough to put behind the shifters? Or was there extra bits for that? I am not great at wrapping bars and always need that. I would try it but not at $30. $20 is the most I will spend on bar tape.
It came with a pre-cut piece about four or five inches long for that purpose. I went with the figure eight wrap so I didn't need it. Believe me, $30 was a LOT for me to justify and nobody is discounting it yet, but I rationalized that it's cheaper than a new bike with clearance for more comfortable tires, plus it makes the bike look like it cost ten times what I paid for it LOL.
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Old 08-21-19, 09:54 AM
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+1 on the bar tape, it came on my 2020 Domane SL 5 as well. According to the spec sheet the official name is "Bontrager Supertack Perf tape". I don't have much experience with other bar tape except for Salsa and Specialized, never really even gave it much thought before, but I remember thinking the first time I climbed on the bike that this was some seriously cushioned bar tape!
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Old 08-21-19, 10:03 AM
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audiomagnate
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Originally Posted by skipm View Post
+1 on the bar tape, it came on my 2020 Domane SL 5 as well. According to the spec sheet the official name is "Bontrager Supertack Perf tape". I don't have much experience with other bar tape except for Salsa and Specialized, never really even gave it much thought before, but I remember thinking the first time I climbed on the bike that this was some seriously cushioned bar tape!
I know Trek is proud of their high tech comfort technology aka IsoSpeed, but I wonder how much of that silky smooth feel is attributable to this tape.
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Old 08-21-19, 10:26 AM
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How thick is it and how does it feel on sweaty hands? Slippery?
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Old 08-21-19, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by steinercat View Post
How thick is it and how does it feel on sweaty hands? Slippery?
I will find out tomorrow when I ride 50+ miles in 90+ degree heat and high humidity. That's been a problem for me with other tapes as I'm a profuse sweater.
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Old 08-21-19, 11:31 AM
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I like the Supacaz Gel tape ($39). It does fairly well while sweaty. But your tape looks very nice and I really like the red dots! Please give us a slippy/grippy update when you can.
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Old 08-21-19, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by audiomagnate View Post
I know Trek is proud of their high tech comfort technology aka IsoSpeed, but I wonder how much of that silky smooth feel is attributable to this tape.
IsoSpeed has been around longer than that tape. I don't have that tape and I can assure you that IsoSpeed is deserving of the credit that it gets.
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Old 08-21-19, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by MattTheHat View Post
I like the Supacaz Gel tape ($39). It does fairly well while sweaty. But your tape looks very nice and I really like the red dots! Please give us a slippy/grippy update when you can.
I did a quick test with wet hands and it feels pretty slippery unfortunately, but the real test will be tomorrow.
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Old 08-21-19, 12:09 PM
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The length must be reasonable if you can do a figure eight around the levers and also go over an extra layer of inner tube on your bars.
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Old 08-21-19, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Dean V View Post
The length must be reasonable if you can do a figure eight around the levers and also go over an extra layer of inner tube on your bars.
That's what I was gonna ask. I prefer the figure 8, but many tape brands don't give you enough. Hell, charge me another dollar, just make the damn roll long enough!

OP, as was asked, how thick is it compared to something standard, like Cinelli? Since it has 2 layers, I assume it's thicker than standard tape?
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Old 08-21-19, 02:58 PM
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That looks just like the tape on my 2019 Domane except mine doesn't have the red accent. I've been very happy with it. Nice and cushy with good grip. It is holding up very well so far and still looks / performs like new. I wouldn't hesitate to replace it with the same when the time comes. And I know it can be reused since I had them swap out the bars on my bike when I purchased it and they just reused the tape from the original bars.
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Old 08-21-19, 03:31 PM
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Sounds good. I've seen that bar wrap at the local Trek dealer. Might try it.

I've been satisfied with the Arundel Synth Gecko I mentioned in the other thread. Because it's 100% silicone and doesn't use or need adhesive, or take a permanent curl set, it can be reused indefinitely as long as it isn't cut or broken. But it's solid colors only, and some are pretty bright and won't suit everyone's taste. I got the hi-viz yellow because it was discounted to only $15, less than half the full retail price of $35. Pretty pricey stuff but, again, almost indefinitely reusable. I like it for testing new handlebars, which I've been doing a lot this year to accommodate injuries that affected my overall bike fit. So it's more economical than buying several cheaper but single use wraps.
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Old 08-21-19, 04:58 PM
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Is that what they said would change cycling forever? No wait. That was the helmet.

Maybe it should have been the bar tape.....
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Old 08-22-19, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by steinercat View Post
How thick is it and how does it feel on sweaty hands? Slippery?
Can't answer that one as I ride with gloves. I've tried many times to ride sans gloves but my hands get so sweaty I have trouble hanging on, wiping my nose, forehead, etc. I really wish I could get used to riding without them though.

-Skip
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Old 08-22-19, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by sdmc530 View Post
I like that. Looks good. Did it come with enough to put behind the shifters? Or was there extra bits for that? I am not great at wrapping bars and always need that. I would try it but not at $30. $20 is the most I will spend on bar tape.
I have to correct myself. It comes with two pre-cut 3" pieces.

Originally Posted by Dean V View Post
The length must be reasonable if you can do a figure eight around the levers and also go over an extra layer of inner tube on your bars.
Correct. My bars are definitely compact, and it took a few tries to get it right. I don't think you could pull off the figure 8 with full size bars, but those are usually found on vintage bikes and I don't think this tape would look right on a vintage bike.
Originally Posted by cthenn View Post
That's what I was gonna ask. I prefer the figure 8, but many tape brands don't give you enough. Hell, charge me another dollar, just make the damn roll long enough!

OP, as was asked, how thick is it compared to something standard, like Cinelli? Since it has 2 layers, I assume it's thicker than standard tape?
It's significantly thicker than regular tape. It took me a while to get it tucked in properly at the bar ends. I've never bought "high end" bar tape so I can only compare it to the $10 stuff.

Originally Posted by August West View Post
That looks just like the tape on my 2019 Domane except mine doesn't have the red accent. I've been very happy with it. Nice and cushy with good grip. It is holding up very well so far and still looks / performs like new. I wouldn't hesitate to replace it with the same when the time comes. And I know it can be reused since I had them swap out the bars on my bike when I purchased it and they just reused the tape from the original bars.
It might be the same tape. They just started selling it at retail but they might have been putting it on earlier models. It is available in black on black.
You can definitely reuse it. It comes with peel off adhesive, but it's pretty weak and doesn't leave a residue.

Last edited by audiomagnate; 08-22-19 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 08-30-19, 06:26 AM
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Just some followup after a few hundred miles. It stays pretty grippy with sweaty hands. Someone asked about the thickness and it measures about .5 to .6 mm thicker than the normal spongey stuff I've been using (see photo). It's fairly tough as my bike fell over in some gravel onto the bars and the was no damage.
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Old 08-30-19, 01:13 PM
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Looks nice! One of the local Trek shops has a Domane and it felt good in the showroom but obviously I couldn't tell how it would perform for me under sweat-induced circumstances. Wonder how it compares with Supacaz Kush, which is what I was going to put on my Giant TCR next, in terms of thickness, feel (i.e. is it similar?) and sweat-handling.
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Old 08-30-19, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by CarloM View Post
Looks nice! One of the local Trek shops has a Domane and it felt good in the showroom but obviously I couldn't tell how it would perform for me under sweat-induced circumstances. Wonder how it compares with Supacaz Kush, which is what I was going to put on my Giant TCR next, in terms of thickness, feel (i.e. is it similar?) and sweat-handling.
I have no idea, but with a name like Kush, it has to be good!
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Old 08-31-19, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by audiomagnate View Post
I have no idea, but with a name like Kush, it has to be good!
In similar vein, and a great value (from the one e-tailer that I can seemingly find carrying it - Merlin), is Fabric's "Hex Duo" tape. Comes with nice bar plugs (hex key tightened) too.

https://www.merlincycles.com/en-us/f...pe-105805.html
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Old 08-31-19, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
In similar vein, and a great value (from the one e-tailer that I can seemingly find carrying it - Merlin), is Fabric's "Hex Duo" tape. Comes with nice bar plugs (hex key tightened) too.

https://www.merlincycles.com/en-us/f...pe-105805.html
How does it hold up with dirt? Easy to clean?
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Old 08-31-19, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by 2cam16 View Post
How does it hold up with dirt? Easy to clean?
Seems as easy or hard as most tacky-feel bartapes. I only have bought the all-black option.. so how clean it really gets I'm not sure.
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Old 09-02-19, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by audiomagnate View Post
I have no idea, but with a name like Kush, it has to be good!
Are you still loving the tape? Thinking of picking it up today. Have an all black bike and was thinking of either the blue or the volt (yellow) accents...
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