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Review – Edge Bars and Roubaix Tape

On Saturday I managed to get in my first ride on my Look with the new Edge bars and Specialized Roubaix bar tape mounted – these were the bars I’d originally planned to put on my Baum when it arrives, but got cold feet when I considered the fact that I’d never used this shape of bar before, and because I wasn’t entirely keen on how they’d look on the finished bike.

With very subtle changes seeming to make quite big differences to my comfort on the bike at the moment I wasn’t sure how these bars would fare, but I’ve also been suffering with road buzz lately and was keen to move to a carbon bar to help dampen that down a bit.

I’d read a couple of negative comments about the Edge (who are now called ‘Enve’) bars so kept these in mind whilst I was riding – one such comment regarded the flexibility of these bars, and I have to say I’m inclined to agree, although I wouldn’t say they were necessarily weak or ‘noodly’, and it’s only really noticeable in the drops. It’s just that they’re not as stiff as the 3T Ltd Rotundo bars I have run before for example.

The other comment was more around the shape of the bars and how parts of the upper portion and curve of the bars interfere with your arms when you’re in the drops. I couldn’t understand how this could be the case, but sure enough I got into the drops to try an out-of-the-saddle sprint and the portion of the bars that curves round to the hoods dug into the middle of my forearm. Sprinters should take note of this as it’s far from an ideal situation, and is actually quite uncomfortable.

The shape of the bars is subtly individual, and is essentially a twist on the compact style bar – looking at the side profile there is clearly a continuous gentle curve as soon as the bars curve towards the hoods. Many compact bars have a flatter portion and only begin to curve down as you reach the hoods, which normally results in everything sitting at the same level from the tops to the hoods. As the downward slope begins as soon as the bar curves from the top section this difference in the Edge bars might leave you with a slightly lower hood position if you usually run something like a 3T Ergosum or an FSA compact bar for example. Worth noting, even if it is barely 5mm. The reach of the bars is fairly standard for a compact bar at 85mm so your hoods will at least be the same distance away from you.

Neither the flexibility of the bars or the quirkiness about their shape will ever trouble me excessively as I don’t spend much time in the drops. The bars are otherwise beautifully finished with very neat cable grooves and a lovely matt carbon finish. The end caps are a slightly odd setup as are the ends of the bars – they have been finished almost to a point, and then a rubber cap is plugged in. You peel the cap back to start wrapping the tape at the tip of the point, and then fold it back over when you’re done.

There was a definite reduction in the road buzz having made the switch so my ultimate goal was achieved. The bars will be staying on so that should tell you all you need to know. Plenty good enough for all but the sprinters amongst us I would suggest, and the price is (almost) justified by the quality. They’re a bit lighter than the aluminium ones I took off too which is nice – not that I’ll ever notice the 75g difference.

As for the Specialized Roubaix tape, I’m just not sure. There’s nothing ‘bad’ about it per se, but it’s just not as nice as my favoured Lizard Skins DSP Race tape. That alone could see it confined to the rubbish bin quite soon. It wrapped really easily and because it only really has a textured underside rather than actual sticky tape I don’t expect it to leave any residue when I unwrap it. It’s relatively cheap too (compared to the DSP stuff at least) so it is a good option for anyone needing to re-wrap their tape frequently, or for those prone to crashing!

Weekend Changes – Edge Bars and Roubaix Tape

On Saturday I managed to get in my first ride on my Look with the new Edge bars and Specialized Roubaix bar tape mounted – these were the bars I’d originally planned to put on my Baum when it arrives, but got cold feet when I considered the fact that I’d never used this shape of bar before, and because I wasn’t entirely keen on how they’d look on the finished bike.

With very subtle changes seeming to make quite big differences to my comfort on the bike at the moment I wasn’t sure how these bars would fare, but I’ve also been suffering with road buzz lately and was keen to move to a carbon bar to help dampen that down a bit.

I’d read a couple of negative comments about the Edge (who are now called ‘Enve’) bars so kept these in mind whilst I was riding – one such comment regarded the flexibility of these bars, and I have to say I’m inclined to agree, although I wouldn’t say they were necessarily weak or ‘noodly’, and it’s only really noticeable in the drops. It’s just that they’re not as stiff as the 3T Ltd Rotundo bars I have run before for example.

The other comment was more around the shape of the bars and how parts of the upper portion and curve of the bars interfere with your arms when you’re in the drops. I couldn’t understand how this could be the case, but sure enough I got into the drops to try an out-of-the-saddle sprint and the portion of the bars that curves round to the hoods dug into the middle of my forearm. Sprinters should take note of this as it’s far from an ideal situation, and is actually quite uncomfortable.

The shape of the bars is subtly individual, and is essentially a twist on the compact style bar – looking at the side profile there is clearly a continuous gentle curve as soon as the bars curve towards the hoods. Many compact bars have a flatter portion and only begin to curve down as you reach the hoods, which normally results in everything sitting at the same level from the tops to the hoods. As the downward slope begins as soon as the bar curves from the top section this difference in the Edge bars might leave you with a slightly lower hood position if you usually run something like a 3T Ergosum or an FSA compact bar for example. Worth noting, even if it is barely 5mm. The reach of the bars is fairly standard for a compact bar at 85mm so your hoods will at least be the same distance away from you.

Neither the flexibility of the bars or the quirkiness about their shape will ever trouble me excessively as I don’t spend much time in the drops. The bars are otherwise beautifully finished with very neat cable grooves and a lovely matt carbon finish. The end caps are a slightly odd setup as are the ends of the bars – they have been finished almost to a point, and then a rubber cap is plugged in. You peel the cap back to start wrapping the tape at the tip of the point, and then fold it back over when you’re done.

There was a definite reduction in the road buzz having made the switch so my ultimate goal was achieved. The bars will be staying on so that should tell you all you need to know. Plenty good enough for all but the sprinters amongst us I would suggest, and the price is (almost) justified by the quality. They’re a bit lighter than the aluminium ones I took off too which is nice – not that I’ll ever notice the 75g difference.

As for the Specialized Roubaix tape, I’m just not sure. There’s nothing ‘bad’ about it per se, but it’s just not as nice as my favoured Lizard Skins DSP Race tape. That alone could see it confined to the rubbish bin quite soon. It wrapped really easily and because it only really has a textured underside rather than actual sticky tape I don’t expect it to leave any residue when I unwrap it. It’s relatively cheap too (compared to the DSP stuff at least) so it is a good option for anyone needing to re-wrap their tape frequently, or for those prone to crashing!

Specialized Roubaix Tape – Update….

Just wanted to offer a bit of an update now that I’ve got a few rides in on this bar tape – quite simply (and possibly unfortunately) it’s only as good as ‘ok’.

Yes, it wrapped well and easily, it’s got quite a nice texture to it, and it’s reasonably well padded. Can’t fault it for any of that, but after only 300km it doesn’t seem to be holding up that well.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not falling to bits or anything. For black tape to start looking tatty after such a short period of use isn’t good though.

As I said before, it’s not awful – it’s just not my favoured Lizard Skinz DSP, and even more so now I want to get that back on the bike as soon as possible.

Little details, but important ones.

Rich [@RichTheRoadie]

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