After many seasons of riding/guiding in the Portes du Soleil, my hands are really starting to feel it. Of course, I’ve fiddled with bar/brake/suspension settings, but one thing I’ve really been experimenting with is grips. You might view them as a pretty basic piece of kit but as your contact point with the bike, there’s actually quite a lot to consider ; comfort and feel spring to mind.
You name it, I’ve tried it ; silicon, thin, thick, rubber with comfort pads… even moulded ones ! But I couldn’t find anything that was comfortable enough for long days on the saddle but still gave me enough feel from the bike. Enter Revgrips and their “shock absorbing grip system”.
So what’s different here ? The grip itself looks very similar to a classic Lock-on grip… but with a twist ! Instead of being locked directly to the handlebar, there are small rubber inserts between the actual grip and the locking collars. The idea being the grip is isolated from the handlebar vibrations and shocks, which means less fatigue to the hands and wrists. You can also adjust the amount of movement by using different rubber inserts or adding washers between the grip and the clamps. Different patterns and diameter grips are available too.
So what’s the verdict ? The packaging is neat and you get everything you need in it, including spare inserts, washers and even Allen keys to make sure you don’t use old ones that might round up the small screws. Installation is a little bit fiddly but won’t take more than10 minutes. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully, no one wants a grip coming off in the middle of a run ! It also took me a couple of rides to find the right setup for me, so there is definitely a bit more faffing than with traditional grips…
Once installed, the grip feels really nice with a tacky rubber and good width (130mm) and… no, you can’t feel the grips moving when riding ! The only time it happened was when riding proper steep tracks and under heavy front braking, even if I could feel my hands twisting forward a bit (not nice) it never ended badly. It does take away vibrations and harder impacts though, clearly improving comfort without compromising on the “feel” department.
I‘ve been riding with the half waffle and medium sized (31mm) grips with both the race and pro series inserts but my favourite setup is the medium grip + pro series inserts + 1 thin washer, the half waffle are great on my pumptrack bike for gloveless riding.
What could be improved ? Well, they ain’t cheap ! But considering the build quality (fully USA made), what’s included, and of course, the benefits of the system, I think it’s definitely worth it. There are loads of colours and shape options and also a cheaper version is now available (a bit heavier but the system is identical). So you’re sure to find a good fit for your hands/steed. Finally, all parts are available separately, so once you’ve made the initial investment you can keep the system going for ages, at a reasonable cost.
The other thing worth noting is that due to the system, you can’t put your hands on the outside edge of the bar, it didn’t really bother me but I might go back to some slightly wider bars on my next bike. Revgrip has also developed their new SLI system to address the problem, check out their website for more info.
My hand don’t feel as bad as before, I’ve also had less calluses on them at the end of the season than normal, I reckon this is thanks to the Revgrips. So overall, it’s very positive feedback from me ! All my mtbs are now equipped and I’m certainly not going back to traditional grips !