IB13: New ultra comfortable silicone bar tape from ESI

ESI Grip Tape

A few months ago we posted a Lock-On Grip Round Up. Each grip had pros and cons but ultimately our Tech Editor Zach had to pick one. Not surprisingly, many readers disagreed with his choice and submitted their own recommendations. Based on that informal survey, you could say that ESI Grips where the hands down  winner of the Nominate Your Favorite Grip category. So many of you will be excited to hear that ESI is launching an all new line of road bike bar tape which uses the same silicone material found in their MTB grips.

We first peeped the proto-tape at Sea Otter but finally put our greasy paws on the real deal at interbike….

 ESI Road Silicon Grip TakeUnlike traditional tape, the ESI has no adhesive patch, so you can flip this tape over once it becomes dirty or worn, and just rewrap your bar. Heck, you can rewrap it whenever you want!  This versatility more than doubles the usable lifespan of the $39.99 tape. Just make sure to follow their online installation instructions. The only caveat is the kit comes with a silicone finishing tape which only adheres to itself and  is not reusable. Fortunately, the stuff is readily available at your local hardware store and is a good thing to have handy in your toolbox.

If the rave reviews of their regular mtb grips from our friends are any indication of how comfortable these are, ESI should have a hit on their hands. Just in case, we also grabbed a roll of bar tape and some chunky grips to verify their claims. Stay tuned for our review.

Want to find out for youself? The bar tape (which is made in the USA) is now available on the ESI website (or at your LBS) in six different colors. Get your own here.



Rohan - 09/26/13 - 9:47am

Mmmhh gonna give this a try since I have to replace my tape anyway.

Ck - 09/26/13 - 9:54am

I’m intrigued. Pricey for bar tape, but i’m willing to pay for some extra comfort. But they don’t have blue as a color, which i’d prefer to have.

Robo - 09/26/13 - 10:16am

neat idea. I’m willing to give it a try next time the bars need wrapping.

Nicholas - 09/26/13 - 10:44am

I saw this at interbike. The other big thing about this tape that he mentioned is that the tape has a bevel cut on both sides of it. When you wrap it, you overlap the bevel and get a very smooth surface (since anywhere the tape overlaps, it is only 1 layer thick). The bevel is identical on both sides of the tape, which is why you can flip the tape over and wrap it just the same later on. You can faintly see that bevel in the top gray tape picture.

Supergambler - 09/26/13 - 10:56am

Wow,I thought for a second this was Anthony Sinyard’s crap…

Jason K - 09/26/13 - 11:29am

I realize that the BR editors don’t see much difference, but silicon and silicone are wildly different materials. The first is essentially sand and is used for computer chips. The second is for squishy grips and maybe insecure women. They’re not even pronounced the same way.

Pedantry aside, I like ESI’s grips, so maybe I’ll give this stuff a try when it becomes available. It will be hard to top Fisik’s micro-tex, but maybe ESI can do it.

K11 - 09/26/13 - 12:42pm

@ jason, they forgot an “e” get over it.

@nicholas, thanks for a worth while comment. i would like to try this tape out.

Pedals - 09/26/13 - 12:43pm

“Road bike grip tape”???

The technical term is ‘bar tape’.

NDE - 09/26/13 - 1:21pm

Yeah. Grip tape is for skate boards.

Sevo - 09/26/13 - 2:15pm

CK-Pricing isn’t actually far off from a lot of the high end tape out there which can retail between $25-$35 pretty quick. But here is the awesome part that sold me…..you can reuse it. Need to replace cable housing? Want to try a new bar for a week? Do you wait forever to change cables because you know you’re cutting off $30 worth of otherwise good handle bar tape?

This solves all that.

Saris - 09/26/13 - 3:19pm

@Jason and Pedals


JasonK - 09/26/13 - 4:23pm

Saris–Cheers! Thank you.

Andrea - 09/26/13 - 5:44pm


Jack - 09/26/13 - 7:11pm

@Andrea Exactly!! I was so outraged I smashed my half full mug of coffee to the ground and set my house on fire in hope of errasing the image from my mind.

ErikS - 09/26/13 - 8:05pm

Absolute worst website ever what is ESI smoking…

Bar wrap looks awesome love all the mountain bike grips.

MB - 09/26/13 - 9:33pm

@CK – I’m seeing blue as a color option. Perhaps you missed it because their website is so terrible…

Ck - 09/26/13 - 9:53pm

MB – Strange, I could have sworn I only saw the other six. But using the bad website as an excuse works for me.

Tim - 09/27/13 - 2:43am

@Andrea you beat me to it!! @Jack hope you licked up the coffee!! cannot let a good mug of Java go down like that!!!!

Dammit people its the small things, finishing tape on the end of the bar tape, the cable ends that are crimped in the same place, the cables cut the same length, the bar end caps facing the same direction. please people pay attention to the small things…

ok Rant over!

David french - 09/27/13 - 8:52am

Most tapes unwind themselves if you wrap them that way too 😛 although probably this stuff might stay put because of the texture.

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