Lizard Skins, known for some of the best mountain bike grips, has released its take on the famed brake lever covers of old - it's called the DSP Lever Grips. Comprising a soft rubber with an adhesive backing, they make any brake lever more comfortable and much grippier. They are a must-have for any gloveless rider but they are quite costly and leave an unwanted residue upon removal.
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Lizard Skins DSP Lever Grips - Specifications
The DSP Lever Grips from Lizard Skins are designed to boost the level of grip offered on your brake levers. They have a soft polymer feel that Lizard Skins says is responsive and durable.
In the pack, you get two pairs of grips and a single alcohol wipe to clean your lever before installation. At first, this is a thoughtful inclusion but it would be useful to have a second alcohol wipe in the pack for the second set of grips. It’s a small oversight, but can be a bit of a pain if you don’t have any isopropyl or wipes of your own in your toolbox.
Lizard Skins DSP Lever Grips - Fitting
Lizard Skins promises a universal fit with the DSP Lever Grips and I’ve tested them with both Shimano’s XT levers and the new Hope Tech 4s. Fitting on either brake was as simple as it gets. Think sticking a sticker onto a curved surface; it’s essentially the same task. Though, as the Hope Tech 4 lever has a much larger and flatter surface area, it was easier to get a smooth adhesion. The XT lever needed a little more patience but even so, I was left with a wrinkle or two that, for the most part, went unnoticed.
A big downside I found with the lever grips is that upon removal, they tear away from the adhesive, leaving a super sticky film on your now gripless brake lever, even with heat applied. But the advantages of having these wrapped around your levers are pretty vast. Usually, I stay firmly away from riding gloveless as my hands can get very sweaty which is detrimental to my grip, and we all know what happens when you can’t get a firm hold on the brakes…
Lizard Skins DSP Lever Grips - Riding
The DSP Lever Grips transform the brake lever’s feel, giving it a soft and exceptionally grippy surface not only because of the texture but also because of the soft rubber compound. With these, my levers never got slippery, no matter how much my hands perspired, and when matched with the right grips, they can convert even the most diehard glove wearer.
While their benefit is clearest when not using gloves, they take the edge off of sharper levers when riding with gloves. They don't interfere or negatively affect the brakes should you choose to wear gloves, though it's rare that I find myself hunting for grip on the levers when wearing gloves.
A clear upside to these grips is the fact they can be stuck onto both mountain bike and drop bar-style levers. Our resident graveller, Suvi, tested a second pair on drop bar levers, and here’s what she had to say:
“These grips offered such a cushy but grippy feel to my levers, I really liked them. I placed the grips midway down the shifter/lever so I could reach them even when riding on the hoods and found they really made my grip more secure, braking softer, and more enjoyable as my fingers did not slip."
"Obviously, these grips are so short they don't extend to the whole length of a road/gravel bike lever and because of the dual function that road levers have, I had to cut the grips a little narrower. Whether these grips are a necessary item for a gravel rider, I would say no, but they definitely boost comfort and confidence so if you have both a mountain bike and a gravel bike, why not stick the second pair on the gravel rig!"
Lizard Skins DSP Lever Grips - Verdict
They do come at a price though - £14. While getting two pairs in a pack does take away the sting, they feel a bit expensive for what they are. For half the price, you could pick up the GoneBikingMad! Sticky Fingers MK2. These slide on the levers rather than relying on adhesive, so if you ever want to take them off, they won't leave a residue. Then again, they won't fit onto drop-bar levers.
There is also a plethora of similar slide on grips on eBay for as little as £4.08. Though few of them are as slim and none of them come with the texture of the DSP Lever Grips, so they could still be slippery when wet. Of course, the upside to the Lever Grips is that they can stick on any brake - whether that’s mountain bike brakes or drop bar levers.
On hot summer days when I've not wanted to wear gloves, the Lizard Skins DSP Lever Grips have come into their own and performed as promised. While they cost a fair bit for what they are, they can make any brake lever super grippy and a lot more comfortable over long periods. Just be prepared to clean off any sticky residue should you decide to take them off.