What do you look for in a good bar tape?
For me personally, I like to have a durable covering for my handlebars, and it is also nice to have lots of options on colours as the mood or bike dictates. Fi'zi:k have used a material to make their tape that differs from the norm, in that it is not made from the almost standard cork. By using Microtex, which is a leather substitute, they are using a material that they are well versed in. It has been used on the excellent Fi'zi:k saddles for many years and has proved to be very hard wearing.
The thickness of the tape can be a difficult thing to get right, some preferring a very thin tape while others wanting a little more bulk to absorb the shock. Fi'zi:k have taken a very sensible approach to this problem by making the tape super thin, thinner than most cork, which allows a very precise feel to the cockpit. If you prefer a tape with a little more comfort you can add the Gel pad kit underneath the bars. This feels in use very similar to quality Gel tapes like the Cinelli or Specialized options out there. But you have the added benefit of two things. One, the extended life that the Microtex material provides over a regular cork tape. Two, and an important thing to note, compared to other Gel pads, the Gel used will not harden over time, is not effected by heat, sweat or any other outside influences. I have had a set on for over 9 months now with no problems to report at all.
If you prefer white tape but in the past have been plagued by the dirty hands syndrome, this is the tape for you. Over the period I had the white tape on my bike it did lose some of that crisp white look, but after the 9 months it has been on I thought that this was fantastic. As you can see in the pictures I have recently changed to black. It is important to note that the black has a different texture to the white and the coloured tapes. The black has a cork/rubbery feel to it where the colours have a smoother finish. All things being personal I actually prefer the feel of the black. As I have not spent a long time on the black I can't comment on the longevity as yet but I cannot see a reason why it shouldn't perform any different to the white. This should mean that I will be able to leave it untouched for another 9 months and longer, or until I have another whim and decide to change the colour.
In my opinion this tape represents excellent value for money, even if it costs twice as much, using this set-up. The durability is second to none. Combined with the Gel pads it'll cost you just over the £20 mark, and that is money well spent in my book.