Lizard Skins DSP V2 4.6mm Handle Bar Tape: Quick Review

Lizard Skins DSP V2 4.6mm Handle Bar Tape: Quick Review – by Guitar Ted

Handle bar tape is often an afterthought for many of us that use drop bars. You pretty much have to have it, and what matters most to many is the color. Does it match my bike? But with gravel and unpaved riding, handle bar tape, like this Lizard Skins DSP V2 4.6mm handle bar tape, can be used to help bring more comfort and control to the rider. We have reviewed Lizard Skins previous thickest bar tape here before, but the new DSP V2 4.6mm tape eclipses the old record for Lizard Skins by quite a margin. Is the DSP V2 4.6mm tape too much of a good thing, or is more better? I attempted to answer this question. But first, let’s take a closer look at this new addition to the Lizard Skins range of handle bar tapes.

Lizard Skins DSP V2 4.6mm and 3.2mm bar tapes.
Even the packaging had to be made bigger to contain the girth of the 4.6mm version of Lizard Skins DSP V2 bar tape.

What It Is: The new DSP V2 4.6mm tape is much like the next thinner model of DSP tape, which is 3.2mm thick. DSP V2 is also available in 1.8mm and 2.5mm thicknesses as well. However; the new DSP V2 4.6mm tape has a few upgrades. Here is a bit from the Lizard Skins webpage for the Cobalt Blue DSP V2 4.6mm tape:

DSP Bar Tape V2 features a new pattern, an upgraded polymer and a screw-in bar plug. The new pattern is more technical with a new design and multiple layers of depth. The polymer has new formula enhanced for more durability and comfort. The new plug provides a clean, tight finish.

  • Increased shock absorption and excellent durability
  • Includes 2: Bar Tape, Finish Strips, Clamp Covers, and Screw In Plugs
  • 1.8 mm – Weight: 50 g | Length: 82 in/208 cm
  • 2.5 mm – Weight: 74 g | Length: 82 in/208 cm
  • 3.2 mm – Weight: 86 g | Length: 89 in/226 cm
  • 4.6 mm – Weight: 102 g | Length: 91 in/231 cm

First Impressions: Lizard Skins recommends strongly that you do not stretch the tape during installation. They also ask, in the instructions, that the installer “Keep tension in the tape throughout the wrapping process so the tape doesn’t shift and form gaps over time.“. The tape comes with an adhesive strip on the back of the roll which is there to help the tape stay put when you wrap it. Out of the box the tape has a rubbery feel to the top and looks to have a thick, foam-like material adhered to the back of this. The tape has a nice width and the length seems about normal for standard bar tape. I asked my contact if Lizard Skins has any options for the really wide (46cm to 50+ cm) bars which are becoming more popular these days and I was informed that Lizard Skins DSP V2 tape should be long enough for any of those handle bars.

The DSP V2 4.6mm handlebar tape from Lizard Skins on Guitar Ted's Raleigh Tamland Two
The DSP V2 4.6mm tape wrapped onto the Spank Flare 25 Vibrocore handlebar with little trouble.

Performance: Obviously, I had to choose a handle bar to wrap the DSP V2 4.6mm tape onto, and I chose the PRO Discover Big Flare handlebar I have installed on the Noble GX5 test bike here at Riding Gravel. The PRO Discover bar features a pretty tight transition from the tops to the ramps of the bar. (NOTE: For our legend for Drop Bar Terms, see here) During installation, I tried for over an hour on one side to figure out how to get the tape to lay down- without stretching it- over this transition on that handlebar. Finally, I gave up. It was frustrating since I typically can wrap a complete drop bar in less than five minutes, and I did so with this same bar with some faux-cork tape immediately after the Lizard Skins attempt. In my opinion, this tape wasn’t compatible with that handle bar. Now I should say that this bike has Shimano GRX hydraulic levers. The way that Shimano routes the exit of the hose for the run to the caliper makes the ‘nook’ formed by the PRO Discover bar’s tops to ramps transition an even messier place to wrap.

In the end, I feel it was a combination of incompatible bits: The bar, the lever, and the tape, which was the issue. Read on for why I feel that is the case.

I tried the bar tape on the handlebar which I had previously tried the 3.2mm tape on, the Spank Flare 25 Vibrocore bar. That worked. I had the installation done in less than five minutes. Now this bike, my old Raleigh Tamland Two, has Gevenalle (TRP) HYDRO levers on it which have a completely different hose arrangement. The Spank Flare 25 Vibrocore handlebars also do not have this severe transition from the tops to the ramps. So, this combination of parts was agreeable and was what I ended up riding with.

A bicycle leaning against a fence in a rural setting
The DSP V2 4.6mm handlebar tape does a pretty decent job of damping down vibrations from crushed rock roads.

Riding with the thicker DSP V2 tape was nice in that there was a bit of a reduction in buzz and the tape had a very noticeable give. It should be noted, however, that thicker tape means that your handlebar grip diameter will be larger. This may or may not be a positive for you. I can imagine that folks with bigger hands will love this. I did not particularly get on with it though, as I tend to like a bit more traditional diameter for my handlebar grip. That’s just me. I do think it is something one needs to factor in when considering this tape. Smaller handed folk may find this tape makes their grip area too big in diameter, for instance, so it is something to think about here.

At The Finish: The end result was not a satisfactory one, in one case, with this new thickness of the DSP V2 tape. With the ‘no-stretch’ rule in effect, and with the thickness of this tape, it makes it so that it becomes very difficult to install on a bar like the PRO Discover without gapping or having the tape slip over itself in time. Is 4.6mm of DSP V2 too much of a good thing? In my opinion? Yes. Yes, it is too thick, if you have a certain combination of handlebar, lever, and this tape, that is. It does work on some handle bars, like my Spank bars featured here, so I am not going to say you cannot get this thickness to work on any handle bar. Just be aware that this tape may be a difficult fit for some handle bars and certain lever combinations.

In my opinion, the the slightly less thick 3.2mm DSP V2 handlebar tape I used before this does a great job and is far easier to install. It should work on about any lever/handlebar combination. While the 3.2mm tape does increase the handlebar grip diameter somewhat, it doesn’t push that past what I think is a range that would please most people. Also, one has to consider that at $51.99 MSRP for the 4.6mm tape, having a possible limitation in regard to having it work well, or at all, seems a bit less than ideal. So, if the thickness here is seen as something you are attracted to for rider comfort, it seems that the value proposition is lessened by the 4.6mm’s cost and difficulty of installation when seen in that light. Now if you have larger hands and have never thought your drop bars were big enough around? This is your tape.

At the end of it all, I wanted to like the idea of having a thicker, cushier handle bar tape, but in this case, I feel that the 4.6mm is just too much. My recommendation would be to skip the possibility of a frustrating install and extra cost of the DSP V2 4.6mm tape and go with the 3.2mm, or thinner, offerings from Lizard Skins which I thoroughly enjoyed using.

Note: Lizard Skins sent the DSP V2 4.6mm Handlebar Tape to Riding Gravel for test and review at no charge. We were not paid, nor bribed, for this review and we strive to give you our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.

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Author: Guitar Ted

Guitar Ted hails from Iowa. Home of over 70,000 miles of gravel and back roads. Co-creator of Trans Iowa in late 2004, he has been at the forefront of the growth of gravel events and riding since then. Creator of Gravel Grinder News in 2008, he produced the premier calendar of gravel and backroad events. GT joined forces with Riding Gravel in late 2014.

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3 thoughts on “Lizard Skins DSP V2 4.6mm Handle Bar Tape: Quick Review

  1. In my experience, handlebar tape that doesn’t (or shouldn’t) stretch is a nightmare to get smooth on curves. I’ve used Domain Cycling Extra-Long Gel Tape (3.0mm) and had great success with it. At only $25, it’s much more reasonably priced than Lizard Skins DSP tapes.

  2. What happens to Lizard Skins DSP tape if you DO stretch it during installation (for instance to get it smoothly laid-down around tight curves)?

    1. @ Kai – Well, I did try that. The thing is, with such a thick cross section, (4.6mm), it is really difficult to stretch it anyway. I have noted that with the thinner Lizard Skins DSP V2 tape that it is easier to stretch, but this compresses the ‘foam’ backing which is really what the tape is all about, and you lose the benefit that is intended.

      More than the stretching, it was the sheer thickness of the 4.6mm DSP tape which made getting the tape edges to lay down flat on each other, and to not slide off the unevenly overlapped sections (think transitions from bar top to ramps) which was frustrating me. Gaps and places where the tape just wouldn’t stay put was the main issue with the PRO Discover Bar, which, as I have said, may have been an example of where the two things were not compatible.

      So, you ‘can’ stretch the thinner DSP tapes a bit, but you lose the comfort benefits. The 4.6mm tape, in my opinion, is just too thick. Stretching actually makes the gapping and slipping issues worse with this version of the DSP tape.

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