Marque Handle Bar Tape: Quick Review- by Guitar Ted
Handle bar tape is not often spoken of. However; since it is one of the “touch points” of our bicycles, it seems like it should be more important. Maybe like a saddle is important. Ironically, it doesn’t seem that way. Especially when you consider that there are certain types of cycling where handle bar tape could maybe make an even bigger difference, such as gravel road riding.
Gravel riding would seem to be a type of riding that would put a premium on tough, vibration damping, grippy bar tapes. The question is, which bar tapes can manage that magical trifecta of characteristics? Well, I have tried several brands and types of handle bar tape over the years. I have even tried those gel pads, gel tapes, double wrapped bars, and these odd grips under the tape. I’ve got favorites for sure. So when a new handle bar tape comes along, I have some high expectations. Marque sent along a couple boxes of their newest tape for me to try out. It’s called “Diamond Tape, and following are my thoughts on it…..
What It Is: Marque makes a full range of handle bar tapes, but this newest style, the Diamond, has an almost file tread pattern with a thick, firm backing. The tape comes with the usual compliment of plastic bar end caps, and finishing tape. Now I know what you might be thinking- “Yeah, but who ever actually uses that finishing tape?!” Well, I’ll get to that, but if you get any Marque handle bar tape, do not discard the finishing tape strips! You’d be making a big mistake if you did that. First off, here is a feature set list from the Marque Cycling site:
- Extremely durable 3-layer tape with a superior hand feel
- Super anti-slip texture and durable construction for more riding comfort and longer wear
- Additional shockproof pad beneath microfiber tape optimizes vibration absorbing performance for increased relief of pressure in hands
- Extra layer of Vex gel provides easier wrapping to bars without leaving anything behind on the bar when removed
I received two boxes of the Diamond Tape, one black and one a nice Sky Blue color. Marque claims that their colors stay fast and don’t fade, an issue I have seen with other handle bar tapes. The tape is backed with an adhesive strip, which is a common feature with many tapes these days.
Installation of the Diamond Tape was straight forward. In my “day job”, I wrap hundreds of handle bars a year as a bicycle mechanic. Since I get to handle a lot of different brands of handle bar tape, I can give a pretty good read on what you can expect here. The Marque Diamond tape is beefy in the hand, yet it has a reasonable amount of stretch. It is “rubbery”, but not in the elastic, squishy way that some tapes are. This feels like a cross between Lizard Skins tape and fizik tape, a good thing, in my opinion.
The roll had plenty of length to cover my 46cm flared drop bars, which is nice. Some rolls don’t give you enough length to do a nice, closely overlapped wrap and still cover a flared drop bar’s flats. Remember that finishing tape? Well, Marque has the best finishing tape I’ve ever used. It looks like the rest of the roll, but it is thinner, stretchier, and has a lot of adhesive. All in the best way possible that it is so much better than using anything else that it would be a shame not to use it. In fact, it blends in with the tape so well it doesn’t look like you used a finishing tape at all! (Which may put off purists who like the finishing tape contrast)
Ride Feel: The Marque Diamond Tape feels like it has give, but it also is firm, not vague or too squishy. When you have to make a decisive move using the bars, the grip is solid and tacky. Yet this tape does help mute the vibration of the gravel enough that it is definitely noticeable. The tacky feel doesn’t restrict movement with gloves, which is nice. Bare handed I think it feels very good. While it hasn’t been hot, or anything even close to it here, I think the tape will still have a good tack even with sweaty hands.
I haven’t had this tape long enough to determine if Marque’s claims of non-fading colors and durability are going to hold up, but I have had a spill on gravel with the tape on. It didn’t rip at the slightest hint of trouble, and only a small biff on the handle bar end is all that can be seen as a result. Impressive…….so far. If anything untoward should pop up during the time I’m using this tape, I’ll chime back in here, but I don’t expect it to. In fact, I’ll be switching over the herd of bikes here to this tape, it is that good, in my opinion.
The Diamond Tape sells for $24.99 USD per roll and comes in six different colors. Marque Handle Bar tapes can be found at their site: www.marquecycling.com
NOTE: Marque Cycling sent over the Diamond Tape handle bar tape for test and review at no charge. We were not paid nor bribed for this review. We always strive to give our honest thoughts and views throughout.