£99 for a pair of mountain bike grips? You read that correctly. But as David Hayward found out, the RevGrips ain’t no ordinary lock-on grips
Vibration is a well known cause of nerve injuries. I’ve personally suffered from the effects of a bad handlebar combined with a week of braking bumps. Worryingly, the tingling in my palms carried on for months afterward.
There are various things you can do to sort out bad vibrations on a bike. For me it was partly tyre and fork tweaks, but mainly getting rid of the cursed handlebars that bog witch gave me (some of my best friends are bog witches, she was just a bad ‘un).
RevGrips are ultra-high end grips aimed at damping vibrations. I was sceptical.
How The RevGrips Work
If you’ve ever done any soundproofing, you’ll know that one of the best ways to thwart vibrations is to make them travel through different densities of material.
RevGrips achieve this by having an air gap between the handlebar and grip body, which is suspended from elastomers in the lock rings. This allows a certain amount of rotation, and I made this video to show it:
Its looks disconcerting, but it’s not. Notice my handmeat has more movement than the grip. It’s really not pronounced enough to be obvious while riding. On first grabbing them, they just feel sumptuous.
In the box, you’ll find the grip cartridges, lockrings, elastomers, plastic shim washers, and bar end plugs. The elastomers are a consumable, though lasted fine for the months of this test. Replacements come in two different densities.
Installation is more complicated than other grips. The elastomers need packing in while you assemble each grip. If you want to tune feel with the washers, they go between the grip cartridge and the lockrings – various thicknesses to give more or less movement.
I found it best to build the grip off the handlebar – which is kind of pleasing, like building a small Lego model. Loading the lockrings with elastomers then wiggling the grip cartridges in worked best for me. Once put together, cutouts inside the lockrings make it easy to see if everything’s seated properly.
Slip the built grip onto the bar, install the bar plug, slide the grip back to the plug, and do up the outer lock ring. When doing up the inner lock ring, you need to get rid of lateral play – the grip should be able to rotate as shown in the video above, but not move sideways between the lockrings. The best way to ensure that was to lay the bike down, then push down on the inner lockring while doing it up.
Not exactly straightforward, but easy with the right technique.
I did crash once during this test, and didn’t notice until the next day that one of the grips had moved inward along the bar a little. Like a fool, I thought I’d adjust this while holding the bike upright on our pebbled driveway. Grip: open. Elastomers: everywhere. Luckily I found all but one and they come with (a measly!) two spares in the box. Take note of my example, and rebuild these on a plain surface, preferably clean and indoors.
Verified weight for our test set as shown is 127g. ESI Chunky grips are much lighter (60g), but then the RevGrips are only 12 grams heavier than a pair of Renthal Traction Lock-On grips.
I expected these to feel weird. They didn’t. From the first roll around with them though, they did feel downright swanky.
The grip cartridge is a fairly thin layer of soft rubber, on a fairly hard plastic tube. It’s markedly less squishy to the touch than a soft compound standard grip, but the slight rotation and suspension makes it much more compliant.
The rotation isn’t really detectable when you’re riding. Hand flesh (for which there is surely a long German word) has quite a bit of rotational squish, even when death gripping handlebars. The movement while running RevGrips is like that usual wrenching of your palms, but pretty chill.
The only times I noticed were when I ended up with the edge of my palm on the lockring, making it suddenly obvious the grip body and lockring were moving slightly relative to each other. Even then, it didn’t feel unpleasant, and didn’t compromise control.
It’s worth pointing out here that RevGrips’ lockrings are 10mm wide. That means, compared to full length rubber like a WTB PadLoc or Santa Cruz Palmdale, RevGrips effectively reduce the width of your bars by 20mm – without any tree dodging benefits, natch.
The only slight flaw I found with these in use was on a wet uplift day. Specifically, picking up the bike to put it on the trailer got clay mud on my gloves, which then slipped around far too much due to the fairly shallow grip pattern. I ended up using a buff to scrub grips and gloves clean, then they were fine. Mud and rain never created any problems though riding alone, nor the grip pattern.
Should You Buy RevGrips?
I’ve taken these down everything from Welsh mountains to the rockiest plummets Hebden Bridge has to offer. On an uplift day, over lunch several riders remarked their hands were suffering from braking bumps. My own hands, riding the same trails, still felt fresh. Really fresh. Decidedly non-tingly by evening, too.
Without a doubt RevGrips work, and are second to none when it comes to vibration damping measures.
I’ve also used Spank’s Vibrocore bars extensively. Personally, I’ve found those, or some fairly flexy carbon ones, with good suspension setup and low tyre pressures, are enough for me.
That said, people who suggest to “just drop a few PSI from your front tyre” probably haven’t had to worry if ongoing pain in their hands is going to be permanent or not.
If you are looking at these because of an injury, they even come in this fetching grey, which is a close match for NHS crutches. They do feel great though, so don’t expect to find any abandoned at a bus stop.
RevGrips are a dramatic improvement on top of my normal setup. They’re plush, and it’s no placebo. For most of the test I’ve run one RevGrip and one normal grip at once. The difference during and after long descents is easily discernable. I don’t think that translated into any improved sensitivity or riding performance, but they were endlessly comfortable.
These are super-plush, tuneable, luxury grips that do a great job of vibration damping. If I ever suffer hand or wrist injuries again, these are honestly the first thing I’d get, despite the price tag. With no ailments and a cockpit that seems to be keeping vibration at bay, they’re extravagant, but so comfortable I’d definitely spec them for a money-no-object build.
To find out more about the RevGrips Pro-Series, click here
Looking for a slightly less expensive set of lock-on grips for your mountain bike? Then check out our top-5 current favourite lock-on grips here.
|Tested:||by David Hayward for 3 months|