I didn't order it, didn't pay for it, haven't said boo to Brooks in a long time. Maybe it's a belated gift for signing up for their Cambium C15 beta program many months ago? I dunno. But, I do appreciate that they're thinking of me. :)
Actually, I had been interested in trying this stuff just because I'm so fond of my Cambium saddles (I now have C17s on three different bikes), but was a bit hesitant due to the price tag. It's €45 in the Brooks store (about $50). As bar tape goes, that's not cheap.
Now that I see it in person, boy am I glad I didn't pay for it.
Basically what you get for your €45 is:
- 2 rolls of pretty standard looking cotton tape, very similar to Newbaum's.
- 2 rolls of really plain/cheap looking black "cork" (aka foam) tape.
- 2 cool looking Brooks branded rubber bar end plugs.
- Italian looking packaging.
I can buy Newbaum's at my LBS in just about any color I'd ever want for $5 per roll, and cheap cork tape is $10 for a full handlebar's worth. The plugs are cool, but I think of plugs as something you get for free when you buy tape. So, basically what you get is $20 worth of bar tape for $50. The fact that you can get it in a color that matches your Cambium saddle is kinda cool, but since it's cotton tape, I would expect that the color is going to fade out pretty quickly anyway, and then it won't match.
Never mind that the idea of wrapping cotton cloth tape over cork tape doesn't really work for me. Either I want cork or cotton, not both. Cloth over cork is going to be sort of bulbous and weird.
But, as I said, I appreciate that old man Brooks is thinking of me, and I owe it to them to at least give it a try. So, I think I'll use just the cloth on my Rawland Stag, since its black cork tape is starting to get a bit ratty anyway. The color they sent is the "natural" which matches the saddle on the Rawland and, well... that's cool.
I still love my Cambium saddles and in general I think Brooks is a very cool company (they did send me free stuff after all), but I think they sort of missed the mark on this Cambium bar tape. Because they are Brooks, I was expecting something unique and in some way superior to other options available. So far I'm not seeing it.
I'll be sure to report back if in the process of installing and using this stuff, I find that it has some magical properties that I'm not seeing at the moment.