Supple is the perfect word to describe Wolf Tooth Component’s first handlebar tape. Their original Supple Bar Tape was a whopping 5mm thick, which when combined with the 40mm width made for some very plush bars.
But not everyone needs (or wants) bar tape that thick. So now Wolf Tooth Components has added their Supple Lite bar tape, and it’s more than just a thinner version of Supple…
…but the width is a big part of the story. As mentioned, the Supple tape was 5mm thick at the center. Supple Lite measures just 2.5mm thick, though 2.5mm is still fairly thick for your average bar tape. Also, Supple Lite adds a light adhesive strip underneath, where Supple was adhesive-free.
It’s hard to convey just how wide this tape is without pacing it next to a roll of the average bar tape. It’s wide. 40mm wide to be exact. That allows you more flexibility when it comes to wrapping. You can stretch out the overlaps, giving you a more ‘ridged’ feel to the bars, or you can overlap it tightly, making it thicker the whole length of the bar (even when properly stretched). WTC says this allows you to wrap it from 2.5 to 5mm thick depending on the overlap.
Just like with the Zelvin Big40 tape, the wider 40mm tape allows you to get creative with satellite shifter placement and other bar tape ‘hacks’. I’m relieved that the tape is so durable, since I spent a while getting the placement of the Blips on my Why PR jussst right.
Supple Lite is also made from a different material than Supple which was 100% Silicone foam. Instead, Supple Lite is constructed from EVA foam which has a slightly more tacky feel to the surface with a bit less texture.
I’ve been testing some of the Wolf Tooth Supple Lite tape ever since we got the new Otso Warakin Ti in for review, meaning the tape pictured has been used for about a year and a half at this point. Since day one, it’s been some of the most comfortable tape that I’ve used – both with and without gloves. Honestly, unless it’s cold out, there’s no need for gloves. It’s that comfortable. And unlike the original Supple, it’s not so thick that riders with smaller hands will find it a bit awkward.
It also turns out to be supremely durable. I’ve dropped this bike countless times attempting to take photos, and there have also been plenty of crashes when things got a bit spicy on mountain bike trails for a gravel bike (that can also run MTB tires). Most other bar tapes that I’ve used at this point would have serious wear marks, or worse. The Supple Lite shows some denting and scrapes, but it’s still fully intact and shows little signs of wear otherwise.
Another bonus over Supple – it’s a lot lighter. To get 5mm thick silicone tape, you end up with rolls that weigh about 104g. The Supple Lite, is well, light-er at just 35g per roll (and that’s measured with the adhesive backing strip still on – which will shed a few grams once removed).
Sold as a set with WTC bar end plugs and polyurethane finishing tape, Supple Lite Bar Tape is available in black for $29.95.