ESI Silicone grip review

Never mind the grips, THAT'Swhat i call a winter playground.

Ever heard a mountain biker whine about a bikes contact points? Grips, saddle and pedals all seem surprisingly divisive for lumps of plastic and metal. Riders sound like Goldilocks as they flit between grips. Too hard, too soft, too thin, too thick. Over the years my preferences for set up have varied (obviously never following fashion and whatever the worlds fastest have been doing) from steep brake lever angles to almost horizontal. Narrow bars to wide bars (well, narrow was all you could get back in’t day) short bikes to long (again, for years you bought the smallest frame size you could find just to get the standover height) but my 1 constant has been:

I hate fat grips.

I also hate grips that spin about on your bars as soon as there’s a hint of moisture in the air.

No moisture to worry about, but the grips weren't spinning anyway. Lorne Cameron photo.

I used to glue or wire onto the bars whatever was the skinniest grip I could find from Oban Cycles (internet shopping for bike parts wasney a thing when I was a wean, or inventive shop names for that matter) and hope that I didn’t need to take any of my controls off the bars. Then along came lock-on grips which cured the ‘spinning on the bars but still able to take them off’ issue, the only problem is that they need to be that wee bit thicker to take account for the plastic collar and the outside lock is pretty uncomfy under the hand, so we’re back to seeing racers glueing and wiring their grips to the bar. At least we can take the controls off a bit easier these days.

So along comes silicone (that’s silicone, not silicon) grips which promise good grip, light weight and skinny diameter. And no worthwhile reviews on the internet.

One pair of brand new silicone grips.

I bought them, put them on the bike and rode them for 4 months, 6 Coupe du France enduro races and an EWS.

They’re still on the bike, they’re doing ok. The grip is much easier to damage than a lock on (the end caps lasted all of one ride as I have a habit of clipping trees) but a bit of electric tape around the last 1cm of the grip seems to stop the damage getting worse and if I’d thought of it before I sent me and the bike cartwheeling through the undergrowth it would probably have stopped the grip ripping. Or I could have not cartwheeled through the undergrowth.

There is plenty of grip in the dry, though I needed to wear gloves in the wet or if my hands got sweaty otherwise it all felt a bit insecure.

More, without the hard plastic layer the grip really does take a bit of buzz out of the trail. Not so much that I’d buy them for that reason, just let a bit of air out your tyres, but it is a help on long rides.

And the same grips 4 months, 7 races and unknown crashes later

Will I buy them again? Undecided. If it was for long rides back in Scotland on a shorter travel bike them maybe. For riding fast down hills in the alps with 160mm of travel and 2.4 front tyre, I think I might go back to a skinny hard grip that feels a bit more solid under the hand.

Was that any help?

I don't really care if that helped, I'm going riding.