Review: WTB – PadLoc Grip System

September 29, 2016

WTB padloc

Chipps get his hands and head round this grip system

PadLoc Grip System
£22.00 a pair
by Chipps for Five months

These unconventional (or should that be pioneering?) grips were inspired by a single moment in the life of Jason Moeschler, Global OEM Sales Manager for WTB.

Jason is a fast trail rider and bike racer and while racing an enduro tried to clear a double and came up a bit short. On landing hard, his Lock-on grips twisted, flipping his hands off the bars and him into the dirt and breaking bones. While recuperating, Jason was determined to find a way to make it impossible for a grip to twist on a handlebar – especially carbon bars that tend to be slick surfaced, and easily damaged by over-tightened grips, or scored by twisting Lock-on mounts.


The solution was the WTB PadLoc Grip. This needs a diagonal trim on the handlebars to exactly match the angle of the internal plastic framework of the grip – once married up, though, the grip only needs to be secured by a single, inboard 2.5mm Allen bolt and it won’t be moving anywhere. The bolt now just needs to keep the grip from slipping off sideways.

One handy by-product of this system is that the ‘empty’ top corner of the grip can be made of a wodge of rubber for comfort (the grey section here). And before you worry about cutting that angle by eye, there is already a Park Tool cutting guide for bike shops, and there’ll soon be a list of participating handlebar manufacturers who’ll be supplying them pre-cut. The grips come in three different diameters: from a slim 28mm through 30mm up to a palm-filling 33mm.

I was initially a little unconvinced about all this for a few reasons. Assuming you have bars cut without incident (my BlackBox Jerome Clement 3 bars came pre-cut), you’re going to be limited to that grip to bar backsweep angle. You’re also going to be committed to that handlebar system for evermore.

The grips slide on easily and you can feel the chamfer locking the grip into place until it hits the end stop. Even with the single bolt loose, the grip will not twist at all. Torque it up, or use a small Allen key and that’s it. A very confidence-inspiring installation for riders who worry about grips spinning or sliding off. Grasping hold of the bars reveals a rock-solid grip that still has plenty of comfort for end-of-the-bars riding.


What I hadn’t considered was that even with the thinnest 28mm grip, there’s still the same amount of padding at the end of the bar as the thicker grips. As an ‘end of bar’ rider but one that prefers a slimmer grip, I really liked this feature as it gave me the feel I wanted with a ton of comfort. For that reason alone, I’m sold on them.

Assuming you’re going to mount them on cut-down bars, then you need to be careful to make the cut so that the squidgy bit is where you want it. There’s no readjusting these short of tilting your bars back and forward. Apart from that, and the commitment to using this style of grips for the life of the bars, there’s not much else to worry about.

Overall: If you worry about grips slipping or twisting, or you like narrow grips with squidge, then track down some PadLocs and try. You’ll instantly know if you like them or not. And I do.

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