Getting To grips With Contact Points
Grips are one of the most important yet most overlooked parts of your bike, lots of people’s idea of customising grips is choosing a colour, but there is so much more to grips as I will detail below.
There are two main types of grips that seem to rule the staple of offerings, probably due to the fact that there is very little room for innovation in what is basically a rubber sleeve.
So Traditional is the grip that slips over the handlebar, this is a flexible rubber tube and often needs a bit of encouragement from hairspray or 'top tip' zip ties. Place them inside the grip and once the grip is pushed onto the bar pull the zip ties out.
The problem people often have with a traditional grip is twisting or grip slip as it is sometimes known. This could be due to moisture inside the grip, dirt or just general loosening of the grip through use.
Lock On is an ideal solution to the grip slip problem. With a plastic insert under the grip that sits between the rubber grip and the handlebar. A small bolt and cuff on the end of the grip secures it in place so there is zero chance of the grip moving.
When we mention width in this case it is vertical rather than horizontal, known commonly as thick or thin to make it easier.
Thick grips offer a great amount of cushioning and dampening so are great for people who suffer from trail buzz. But be warned they are harder to hold, so if you are blasting down trails all day holding on to thick grips will cause you to fatigue faster. If you have hands like shovels by all means go for thick grips, as the extra contact area will benefit big handed riders more.
Thin grips are great for people who really like to feel the bars, get a stronger grip on the bar and for those riders with smaller hands. Favoured by riders who tend to ride more technical trails and riders who do tricks. As it is easier to feel when the hand is in contact with the bar.
Some grips have distinctive patterns others just concentrate on a uniform pattern all around, but one thing modern grips tend to share is a surface that works in the wet. The best grips tend to have a smoother surface where the palm sits and a textured area where the fingers wrap around, offering a comfortable and extra secure grip.
Hard or soft
Again like with grip patterns most modern grips are soft anyway as soft compounds lead to a tacky feel. Meaning they offer masses of grip in all conditions. If you do see the grip labelled as soft then expect them to be really soft, usually aimed squarely at downhill riders and racers, as they are designed to last a season only so will wear out fast.
These are grips that offer a special shape that is designed to alleviate pressure on the nerves found in the palm of your hands. Riders who climb or often lean on the bars may suffer from a sharp pain in the hands and arms, these grips aim to help lessen or eliminate this.