First Impressions: Zevlin Big40 2.5 Handlebar Tape

Dialing in your bike’s contact points is often a trial-and-error process. Between shoes, saddles, and bar tape, you can spend a small fortune searching for a comfortable setup. Thankfully, Zevlin’s Big40 2.5 handlebar tape ($17.95 MSRP) proves that comfort doesn’t have to be expensive.

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Zevlin’s Big40 2.5 tape is available in six colors.

Founded in 2011, Zevlin is the brainchild of two brothers–Brad and Drew Hagestad. Zevlin’s Big40 2.5 tape is the company’s latest addition, and features a (wait for it…) 2.5 mm thickness for added comfort. Like the company’s other tape, Zevlin’s 2.5 tape is 40 mm wide (most tape measures 30 mm). According to Zevlin, the extra width makes wrapping easier, and allows for more overlap and coverage (which is a boon if you run wide or non-traditional bars).

Zevlin’s Big40 combines a thin outer layer (or skin) with a layer of foam padding. A narrow strip of 3M adhesive keeps the tape in place. The end result is a tape that’s extremely flexible and very easy to apply. Unlike some wraps that don’t tolerate being stretched, Zevlin’s tape can be pulled tight without tearing (the foam base layer will separate long before the outer skin breaks). And while we generally prefer tape without adhesive backing, the Big40’s 3M adhesive easily accommodated re-wrapping and left very little residue when removed.

If you’re a fan of Goldilocks bar tape–not too thick, not too thin–chances are you’ll like Zevlin’s 2.5 wrap. It’s thick enough to reduce road buzz, but not so thick that you have to maintain a death grip to keep your hands in place. Our first set of 2.5 tape retained its cushion after several months of testing, and we only replaced it to try a different color. The tape’s lightly textured outer layer proved very grippy–with, or without gloves–even during Colorado’s early-summer thundershowers. That outer skin also makes it easier to clean than competitors’ all-foam tape. While we didn’t crash-test the 2.5 tape, it held up to several encounters with a particularly rough brick wall.

Zevlin offers the Big40 2.5 tape in six colors: black, white, grey, pink, red, and yellow. Inside the box you’ll find two rolls of tape, brake hood strips (2), finishing tape, and two plastic bar plugs. If none of the standard colors strike your fancy, Zevlin offers tape with custom graphics with minimum orders as small as ten sets.

Disclosure: Zevlin provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.