13 April 2008

bikefix Exclusive Review: Ritchey True Grip V

I know that I'm going to get flamed for saying this, but hear me out. In a given grip style and size, I feel that a Lock-On type grip will be less comfortable than its traditional counterpart. I know that, thanks to wet climates and more aggressive riding styles, people have flocked to Lock-Ons over the past few years. However, adding a hard plastic layer between your hands and the bar reduces the amount of room for good old fashioned cushiony rubber. If installed with an air compressor (no water, spit, or hair spray), old-fashioned grips tend to stay put, too. If you don't have an air compressor, take your bike and nicely ask the shop you buy them from to throw them on- it only takes a sec. Given the trend away from padded gloves for mountain biking, my hands were starting to feel a bit hammered with the Lock-Ons, especially on longer rides, and I don't particularly like the feel of overly thick grips. So, a few years ago, I found myself looking for a comfortable but not too thick grip. After trying a few that didn't really do it for me, I stumbled across the Ritchey True Grip V.

Over the years, I've used a number of Ritchey products. From a Hakkalugi cross fork to the company's original clipless pedals to stems and headsets, Ritchey stuff has tended to be lightweight, unassuming and well thought out (and usually reasonably priced).

Ritchey's True Grip V is apparently the fifth version of the company's True Grip (there is now a 6th). It's got a comfortable inverted hourglass shape that fits well in the palm of the hand. The opposing cones that make up the surface of the grip are of a middle-density rubber- not as soft as some grips', but softer than the inner core of the TGV and provide plenty of grip, even in the wet. The shape means that there's only one spot for your hands, but for me, it's a comfy one.

It's been a few years that I've been using the True Grip V, and I've had no reason to try anything else. They stay put on my bars just fine (though we get very, very little rain here) and hold up reasonably well. I'll get a little over a season out of a pair, and when they wear out, they're readily available for about $8. If you're looking for a bit more comfort in a grip without resorting to something massive, the True Grip V would be a great place to start.



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