What the hell? Suspension grips for your handle bars? No way! Sounds like a gimmick, looks like a gimmick and the price isn't helping either. But if you suffer from arm pump or hand/callous friction/pressure burn then you'll do anything to alleviate the problem..am I right? I've had many a shuttle day nearly ruined from the fatigue and hand burn that appears about midday and I've tried so many grips, gloves, bars and drugs but nothing really seems to work. What about these Rev Grips?
I was dubious from the start. I reckon a shaped grip with lots of squishy stuff under the callous area and ridges under the finger tips and a generous amount of rubber thickness are the key to a pain free day of descending. And this grip has none of those. The grip sleeve has a larger diameter than the bar to allow the suspension room to suspend so the rubber thickness is quite thin but I did have the smallest diameter 31mm grip. The grip is a uniform circle with little knobs which are admittedly very soft but not exactly thick.
But I had to give them a go so attempted to set them up which looked vey technical and not so easy. The idea is to suspend the grip sleeve in a series of little rubber grommets that then fit into the lockrings. There are also 2 thin and 2 thick plastic washers that can sit around the grommets which allow a different insertion depth of the tabs into the grommets and which swapping those in or out you can change the amount of suspension...brilliant.
I went for the recommended middle setting and put the grommets in the lockrings with a thin washer each end and then pushed them onto the grip and Boom! That was it...easier than it looked on paper that's for sure. Once on the bike and flexing my wrists there was a noticeable amount of movement in every direction, about 1mm in/out/up/down and 2mm twisting it like a throttle. Wow these things might work, but the grip still feels too firm itself and I just knew that my callous issue would still rear it's painful hand.
I took them for a few laps on Mt. Victoria which has a few DH runs though only about one and a half minutes long. The grip movement soon became second nature and I quickly forgot I was running anything weird, but it wasn't really the test spot I was looking for.
Thankfully I had a weekend of sheer DH intensity coming up in Marlborough and Nelson with five days in a row of descending action with a full day in Wairoa Gorge where I always suffer some form of arm pump and hand pain issues.
Well what do you know? Nothing! I mean no pain, no arm pump, no hot hands or callous burn. Quite incredible really. I didn't even bother trying a softer set-up.
These things work a little like those earthquake pads under a building. When your bike gets shaken and pummelled to bits by a rough trail, the grommets absorb and isolate the vibration which allow the grips to "float" in a much calmer manner. I'm sold on these things.
I got the Pro version which has the adjustability. There is also a Race version which is more basic. You can get them in 31mm , 32.5mm or a fat 34mm which will obviously have more grip rubber. When the grip wears out you can just buy replacement sleeves with new grommets. You even get a few spare grommets in case you lose/break them. Sure they are expensive to buy ($90 USD) but is your riding getting ruined by arm pump? Even if you just put them on for shuttle days?
Cam at CJ Suspension is bringing them in so if you are interested, get in touch, the more he can order the cheaper they'll get. There are also MX grips coming in soon for you moto heads.
THE GOOD: Easy to set up, look tough, do what they say they do, tuneable for different levels of float.
THE BAD: Thin grip rubber on my 31mm grips but that didn't bother me in the end, easy to lose grommets when you pull the grips off so be careful tuning them on the trail
THE UGLY: The price, but what is no arm pump worth to you huh?