Grepp Handle Bar Tape: At The Finish – by Guitar Ted
The unusual Grepp Handle Bar Tape has been used on three different bicycles in three different configurations with a wash cycle in between. I’ll get around to what that means in a minute, but first, if you need to check back on my first impressions and mid-term update, you can click those links.
Okay, so if you have read those previous posts which I linked above, you know all about this tape and the claims Grepp makes for it, which are unusual. But briefly for those who may have landed here without reading the previous articles, this is essentially a fabric tape with rubberized threads, it is re-usable, and it is washable. It also can be used in conjunction with another component that is usually used in wheels and is recommended by Grepp for more comfort for the hands. To be more specific, Grepp recommends using an innertube. So, that’s what I did.
Now, Grepp recommends a split, single layer application of a butyl rubber innertube first, then an overlayment of the Grepp fabric tape. Grepp claims this cuts down on the vibrations from whatever road you are riding and lends a little more ‘give’ to the hands. In typical fashion, I decided if some was good, a lot would be better. So I used an innertube. The whole enchilada, minus the valve stem, which I cut out. Now I should also mention that this is not what I would call a wrap job for a beginner, or even an intermediate level bar tape wrapper. It wasn’t easy, but the results, in my opinion, were worth it.
You can see that this increased the diameter of my grip area immensely, and it actually did make the ride feel a lot more comfortable. Sure, it may be that smaller hands would not get along with this idea, but for me? I liked the larger diameter.
I ran the tape in this configuration for several rides and got along with it just fine. However; I needed to test one more claim of Grepp’s and that was that you could wash this handle bar tape and re-use it again! I did have to take the recommended precaution of sealing the frayed ends of the tape where I had cut it off. This would prevent the tape from further unraveling in the wash cycle. I used a little bit of fast-drying glue, brushed lightly over the ends with a toothpick, and that did the job just dandy. Off to the washing machine!
I’ll be honest, even after two solid months of use I could only really detect a couple of stains on the tape near to where the tape was at the bar extension’s ends. But after washing, the tape glistened again with that silvery look it had when it was new. So, I was pleasantly surprised by that. And when I re-wrapped it on a third bar on a third different bike, it worked as if it were new for me. Try that with your bar tape and see how it fares. You may get acceptable results, if you are very careful, but I doubt they would be as fresh looking as the Grepp tape is.
At The Finish: Grepp claims that their tape is reusable, washable, and recyclable which makes this tape unique amongst the category. And you know what? I think the claims are spot on. Well…….other than the recycling part, and I can’t see testing that yet as the tape still looks brand new!
The tape is a bit trickier to wrap than some others, but it lays down well, and it takes on weirdly shaped bars like the Redshift Sports Kitchen Sink bar with the accessory hand grips on the tops. Or take the difficult to wrap Shimano GRX levers and a flattened tops handle bar like the Whisky Spano Bar. No problem for that Grepp tape to conform to that either. Plus, it stays where you wrap it and it leaves no residue on your handle bars when you remove the fabric tape because it has no adhesive backing, just that grippy rubberized thread which runs through the fabric.
I was a little bit disappointed in this tape if it was laid down on a handle bar by itself. Then it was a bit too uncomfortable for me. However, if you prefer thin tape and a direct feel, this would be great handle bar tape to try. Fortunately you can wrap the Grepp tape over something else, and in my case, I took Grepp’s advice to use an innertube, and that worked out for me really well. So, you do have options there to make the tape more comfortable.
I also was wishing for more color options. Grey and black are okay, but I could envision this tape in a few earthy colors as well which might be fun to try. But that isn’t a thing that would dissuade me from trying the Grepp tape out. Especially if sustainability and lessening our impact on the environment is important to you. Just think about how many rolls of tape you wouldn’t be buying if you bought Grepp tape instead. That old tape would be going to a landfill, more than likely. Grepp tape could last for quite some time, and when you are done with it, it can be recycled, or even composted. It won’t be for everyone, as it may not have the ‘cush’ you desire without adding something to it, but I think this is a minor thing in the long view.
So, since Grepp tape lives up to its promise in usage, and since it has that environmentally favorable side to it, I give it a high recommendation.
Note: Grepp sent the Handle Bar Tape to Riding Gravel at no charge for test and review. We were not paid, nor bribed, for this post and we always strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.