Grips are grips you may say, but choosing the right ones can make a big difference to your ride.
There are a myriad of grips out on the market right now, so much so, you can quickly loose yourself in the rabbit hole that opens up in front of you. The initial excitement soon turns to a dullness as your eyes glaze over while you duly scroll through endless pages of what looks like the same product.
I’m a fan of thin grips. I like to feel every nuance of the trail and a thinner grip allows me to feel a little more connected to the bike, and also reduces arm pump. The feedback you get from the cockpit can be effected quite dramatically with such a simple thing as grips.
By having a thicker grip, your hand is constantly trying to squeeze a larger circumference. Yes, you’ll end up with forearms like Arnold Schwarzenegger but you’ll also feel like you’ve just done arm day at the gym, which is not ideal.
Choosing the right grips is important. You may not think so, but when you get the right ones you’ll notice the difference. A simple thing as the right grips can really lift your riding. As well as the direct feedback you gain, your mood in general will be much more positive due to everything just feeling right. A happy bike equals a happy rider.
The lovely people at Bike Ribbon have seen fit to send us more grips to test. These are the second pair of grips we’ve been fortunate enough to test for them. The others were the SIO2 RACE Grips, which we were pleasantly surprised with. The B-SIDE Grips are from Bike Ribbons MTB range and are more akin to your standard MTB bar grips, using a hard Polypropylene compound.
Installation is quick and hassle-free. They slide on very easily and fit most bar diameters. The two lock rings tighten up with an allen key. Just tighten up a little, not fully, then rotate the grip on the bar to your desired position and then tighten up the rest of the way. Don’t go crazy with these bolts as you’ll need to get them off one day and you don’t want to thread or ruin the bolt.
Now, we’re getting down to the wire when we have to talk about the look of a bar grip. Really, there’s not a lot you can say about bar grips, unless you’re talking about the slightly odd looking Ergon GE1 or if they’re a crazy colour. Both of which, these are not.
We opted for the black, which tends to go with everything. From a distance they look good! A nice slim profile. On closer inspection they do have a neat grip pattern and some nice branding on the bar ends. Which we we liked a lot.
The B-Side grips offer a great level of bar feedback due to their slim profile and tacky grip. You can feel every nuance of the trail but there is enough thickness to provide good cushioning for impact and fast rutty sections of trails. You know, those sections where your arms just turn into a blur.
The tread pattern has a low profile so you don’t get any hot spots with your hands on longer rides. The grip uses a half tread pattern. This is so you can twist the grip around on the bar (when loose) to suit. i,e have the smooth part under your palm or your fingers.
The lock on component of the grip is sturdy and we never felt any movement. The grips stayed in place and overall, had a solid feel to them.
Overall the quality is very high. The surface is still intact and there are no signs of wearing on the grip surface. Our only gripe was the bar end plug. It’s plastic and quite flimsy which didn’t sit flush to the bar end. We’re hoping Bike Ribbon will look into this design as it’s the only area that we could fault with them. Our preference would be an alloy bar end plug. Not many brands (that we know of) are doing this but we’ve found them to be the best option. So listen up all you manufacturers out there…we want ALLOY bar end plugs!
All in all, a great set of grips. Easy installation. Great feel and bar feedback. Good levels of cushioning and a nice tacky grip. They also have some nice branding and tread patterns to choose from. I guess if we had to compare. They would sit next to or above ODI Ruffians.
If you’re looking for something a little different to talk about on the trails. If you talk about grips that is, then why not give these a go.
- Inside the pack: 2 grips, 2 plugs
- Inner Mold Structure: Included
- Weight: 110 grams each complete set
- Lockring system: Available
- Performance: Freeride/Trail/All Mountain/CrossCountry
- Construction: Polypropylene + Gel
- Lockrings: 2 pcs alloy 6061
Where to get them?
The shop on the Bike Ribbon website is coming soon. So in the meantime they can be purchased at:
Author: Jason Lorch
Born and grew up in Wales but now a fully fledged Aussie. A passionate mountain biker, hiker and general nature addict. I’m also a bit of a muso and enjoy a good craft beer every now and again (probably too often).
I hope what we do here at Tyres and Soles will inspire people to get out there and experience first hand, the natural wonders that surround them.
So, pump up those tyres, don your favourite boots. Grab a mate, a partner, a pet… and head out into nature. But tell us all about it when you get back.
Chief editor at Tyres and Soles.