Bar tape is a great way to customise your bike, for just a few pounds you can add a new splash of colour to your cockpit, whilst also aiding comfort and performance.
The Lizard Skin DSP tape is some of the best I have tried. First there is the cushioning; unlike synthetic cork bar tape it doesn't seem to compress too much in well used areas of the bar, rather the Durasoft Polymer has continued to offer good cushioning, shock absorption and comfort with repeated use.
Comfort is one benefit, but grip is the significant second. The DSP's textured grooves (see image insert) stay incredibly grippy even when wet; giving a reassuring firm hold when sprinting, climbing and cruising over rough ground.
The DSP also washes better than many cork tapes; just spray on some bike cleaner, scrub with a brush, and it's quickly restored!
This bar tape looks set to last a long time, looks great and provides super comfort and grip. It comes with some cool bar end plugs as well, and in a variety of colours.
Lizard Skin Bar Tape - Available from Wiggle (Link)
#2 - Paceline Products - Eurostyle Chamois Butt'r
I've tried a few chamois creams in my time, and you know when you've found a good one. This Chamois Butt’r from Paceline is certainly up there with the best. It’s got a pleasant peppermint scent, with a bit of a cooling sensation to help uncomfortable friction build-up. It is nice and thick too, so it stays put even with up to six hours in the saddle. Ridden, and rated highly.
#3 - Pedros Green Fizz Foaming Bike Cleaner and GO! Chain Lube
Bike cleaner is a product that should be in any cyclist’s garage over winter; it will help to ensure you clean all the road grit and salt off your frame and components, and avoid corrosion and damage that can occur through the wet and cold winter months. The Green Fizz foaming bike cleaner from Pedros is a great option; I found it most effective if you spray a little on your cleaning brush and then scrub over the frame and wheels. It foams up to an effective lather and helps to get to all of the hard to reach places on the bike.
After you’ve washed and cleaned your bike you’ll need to re-lube the chain. The GO! low viscosity lube from Pedros is a good option in the winter months if it is still dry. It goes on easily and stays put as long as you don’t blast too much mud and water at it.
You can also get a Pedros spray canister, which you can fill with lube, then pump up and spray the lube onto your chain and parts. This is a great easy application tool and means you can easily get the lubricant into the necessary areas. Low viscosity lubes are best for this application.
Pair the Pedros Green Fizz and GO! Lube together and you have a great package that will keep your bike running smooth and fast through the winter months.Pedros Green Fizz Foaming Cleaner - Available from Wiggle (Link)
Pedros Chain Lubes - Available from Wiggle (Link)
Pedros Tyre Levers
Tyre levers are a simple piece of kit, but sometimes they can cause a real headache. Whether that be because they snap when you use them, or because they have sharp edges that puncture your fresh new inner tube. The scope for annoyance is surprisingly high given the plain nature of the product. The Pedros tyre levers are the best I've used; they don’t break, they don’t have sharp corners and they are a good size. They work.
Pedros Tools - Available from Wiggle (Link)
This winter I'm venturing into the world of running, as a bit of cross-training off the bike (more of that in another blog). Tying shoe laces has never been one of my favourite past-times though, so I decided a set of Lock Laces would be a great option to avoid getting into knots. These are easy to fit, very simple to adjust and they stay done-up all run long. In addition, I actually find them more comfortable than normal laces; they seem to have a bit more give in them, allowing a more comfortable fit. For the triathlete readers of the blog, and for those that do some running as well as riding, these could make a great stocking filler.
Lock Laces - Available from Wiggle (Link)
I hope those are some useful suggestions for stocking fillers, happy riding and running!