April 23, 2012
Jon tries a pair of grips that could cure his thin-grip obsession
Even in a pastime where participants can spend ages arguing about the relative merits of Design A against Slightly Different Design B until they’re both blue in the face and have almost come to blows, it’s still quite hard to get fired up about grips. If they don’t spin around the bars, match your bike nicely and feel alright then that’s enough for most people.
Sadly, I have a terrible sickness, an obsession. It’s all to do with thin grips. In my defence it’s not as insane as it may appear. If you don’t have hands like shovels and arm strength like Steve McClure then a thinner grip is easier and less tiring to get a secure hold of, resulting in less arm pump on long descents. That means less T-Rex impressions as you try and shake lactic acid from forearms and clawed hands down the bottom of a mountain.
You also don’t want them to spin, because you end up falling off or punching yourself in the face instead of doing a sweet drop or jump. The most effective way to stop spinny-grip syndrome is by using a Lock-On design, which requires a hard plastic section for the clamps to secure. The need for a plastic section means a choice; a thin grip with relatively little rubber to absorb shock or a fat comfy grip that’s hard to hold onto.
So, onto the Sponge. Charge Bikes designer Nick Larsen has a bit of a knack for coming up with simple, inexpensive and elegant solutions such problems. Instead of a full plastic inner, half of it is cut away. Ta-daa! Thin and secure. The outer rubber itself is comfortable and durable, with a waffle design on the front for your fingers and a file pattern on the palm. They grip well in rain and when covered in mud and they’re a decent length too. I’ve had no issues with them spinning and they’re available in a load of clamps and grip colours.
Overall: If you like them thin, these are grip pefection.