Note: Lizard Skins sent the DSP handle bar tape and the Monitor SL gloves at no charge for test and review. We were not paid nor bribed for this review and we strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.
Lizard Skins Gloves And Handle Bar Tape: Quick Review- by Grannygear Lizard skins: Who knew? I have read a few articles recently regarding Lizard Skins written by word nerds like me in the review game. Pretty much all of them have said one thing in common: They were surprised by how many products this company makes, not only for cycling, but for other sports as well. Well, I am not going to buck that trend. I am just as surprised. If you said the brand name “Lizard Skins”, I would think of those neoprene chain stays wraps from days long ago and I might add in grips too. Heck, anyone can sell branded grips these days. https://www.lizardskins.com/road/bartape Gloves: Well these were a pleasant surprise, but watch the fit. I was sent a set of Monitor SL gloves as I like a glove with very little padding, even for mountain biking. I find that pads in the gloves get between me and the bike and lessen feel of what is happening ‘down there’ although I do have some MTB gloves with slight palm heel pads that have been OK. Gel gloves and the their ilk are an abomination. So when I unboxed the lithe and supple Monitor SLs with the nice Terry wipe section on the thumb top, the embossed rubber sticky pads on the grippy sections, and the Velcro wrist entry point….oooooooo! The seams are flat and barely noticeable. Now let me say this in public…. Based on my experience, I think a truly fine glove just might be the hardest thing to make in all of cycling clothing…or…perhaps they are often ignored or not given the attention they deserve in the design and manufacturing process. I have used so many that fit so poorly, that had seams in the wrong places, that you could not get your hand into, and that just pretty much sucked, that I had to wonder. Since most of these things are spun up out of China at a few bucks a pop, does anyone even try them on before they hit the “please make me 10,000 of these” button? Thankfully these are not like that, but I did have some fit issues that I will bring up. But first the good. I really, really liked them on the gravel bike (or anything with drop bars). They are supple, never rubbed me wrong, and gave me a high level of purchase on the controls without squirming under me. Obviously they are a light weight glove with no pretense of cold weather protection, but they did not get me all nasty and sweaty in warm temps. Little touches like reinforcements where you pull them on, extra layers at the thumb tips for shifting point wear…yeah. Very well done. I had to go up to an XL size though and I am never an XL in a glove, rather always a LG, so I assume these run slim. Not short, exactly, just slim. Maybe they would stretch over time, but maybe not. However, when I used them as an MTB glove on a flat bar, I ran into issues where the grip pressure at the webbing between my thumb and first finger made the glove too tight against my thumb and first finger tip. Annoying. I get this a lot in gloves so I wonder if I have longer than normal/average digits? Dunno. But on the gravel bike the pressure is not in the same place as it is on a flat bar and when on the hoods and in the drops the binding was not an issue for me. So on the gravel bike they were stellar with never a thought to how they fit or felt, they just disappeared and did the job which is just what you want something like this to do. For $29.99 MSRP I think they are a good value and I am glad to have them in my kit bag.And if I were to stretch a bit I might recall bar tape, but gloves? Huh! Who knew? When I was having lunch with the owner/founder of Lizard Skins, we were discussing this very scenario where most cyclists do not know the extent of the Lizard Skins product line. They are sponsors of Lotto Soudal and Movistar on the road side of things. Ever seen that Danny MacAskill guy hop and balance his bike in precarious places I could not even walk over? Him too. Outside of cycling, how about baseball bat grips and even LaCrosse grips? Indeed. And so, after my level of education was upgraded a bit, I was sent a nice little sampler pack based on my predilections and interest. After using them for a few months now, here is what I have and how it has worked out. DSP Bar Tape: Comfy and decent to clean but it will cost you. A gravel bike is something that can benefit from some extra impact absorption if you can get it. Obviously the tires are the number one source of comfort (assuming no active suspension exists) and then things like seat posts, saddles, etc. But if you can get a bit of vibration knocked out by the stuff you always have wrapped about your handlebars anyway, even better. So I have two samples of the DSP bar tape they sell, one in a 2.5mm thick version and one in a 3.2mm thick version. I ran the 2.5mm thick stuff on the road bike and the 3.2 on the gravel bike. Installing it is a little or no stretch deal, so it was easy enough to get into place and looked good. Now I really suck at wrapping road bars. I typically re-watch a You Tube video and see how the rabbit goes under the hoods and around the bars, then back into the hole, etc. But I got it done. I noticed a good level of vibration reduction, actually more on the road bike than on the gravel bike, although I imagine it was working for me there too. Its likely that the ‘larger’ nature of the impacts on the gravel bike were only a bit muted by the bar tape. I did enjoy the reduced buzz in the bars on the road and the tactile feel of the wrap was quite good. And frankly, I will take anything I can get, short of running one of those ugly carbon fiber sprung forks, to quell vibration and impacts into my hands while in the dirt. I also found it cleans up pretty well, using a kitchen sponge and some Dawn detergent. It is a bit costly though at $45.00 MSRP. Hard to say I would be excited about going into a bike shop and dropping a 50 note for bar tape. However there is always room at the top for a premium product, and perhaps that is where we are here. But I have used the Fizik 3mmish tape and found it good too and it is 10 to 15 bucks cheaper. Just as good? Hard to say. I have not used it long enough to know if it outlasts cheaper tape so that is always a consideration. If I only re-wrapped once a year, then that could be acceptable. I typically wear through or ugly out bar tape in one season.