Lunch Ride Review: Zevlin Big40 Handlebar Tape

One of the easiest, and cheapest, places to give your bike a bit of character is the handlebar tape; and Zevlin’s custom tape takes things to a whole new level. While Zevlin has a line of standard handlebar tape that includes cork ($12.95) and synthetic foam ($16.95), it’s their custom offering that caught our attention when a box full of Zevlin goods arrived at the office (they also make chamois cream and leg-shaving cream that are made from natural and organic ingredients).

At 40mm wide, and 3mm thick, Zevlin’s Big40 custom handlebar tape is a bit more robust than many others on the market. Its feel is much closer to that of a cork tape, rather than the rubber or plastic feel of the popular synthetic material tapes from Fizik and Lizard Skins. We wrapped a pair of 44cm Specialized handlebars that had a flat section on the tops; their width, combined with the flat section, makes them handlebar tape hogs, typically requiring a fair bit of stretching of the tape to ensure we don’t run short on tape before finishing the wrap. Zevlin’s Big40 wasn’t chintzy on the tape, giving us more than enough to achieve our ideal tape tension (we still had about five or six inches of extra to cut).

Overall, we’re happy with the thickness and feel of the Big40 tape, which is thick enough to add comfort and dissipate some road vibrations without having you lose the feel of the handlebars. Even without gloves on we haven’t had any slippery hand situations once the sweat starts dripping. 300 miles in, and we’re yet to see any signs of logo wear whatsoever.

While the non-custom Big40 handlebar tapes start at $12.95, the custom treatment runs $33 dollars, but there’s also a $25 one-time setup fee, and a 10 unit minimum order. This might be out of reach for someone wanting to just print their own name on the tape, but for a club or team it could make for the ideal finishing touch. 

Price: Big40 cork $12.95, Big 40 synthetic foam $16.95, Big40 custom $33 (minimum of 10 and a $25 one-time setup fee)

Weight: 66 grams (uncut)

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