ODI’s Vans MTB Lock On Grips brought the famed waffle tread pattern of the Vans shoe and made it into a grip. The brand has now completely revamped the grip and the result is the Vans v2.1 MTB Lock On Grips. It brings a host of updates, all of which work to make one of the coolest-looking options in the best MTB grips segment.
ODI Vans v2.1 MTB Lock On Grips - Technical details
The second version of the Vans Lock On Grips gets a vastly different design while still making proper use of the famous tread pattern. Now, the grip utilises ODI’s v2.1 Single-Clamp Lock-On System, which, in short, is a single lock ring inboard of the grip, resulting in a secure hold on the bar complete with a squishier end.
Other changes come in the form of the texture itself. As before, it uses the waffle pattern that we’ve all come to know and love, but it’s been cleverly rearranged. The open diamond pattern coats a large portion of the grip while a tighter-looking packed tread, usually found around the ball of the foot on Vans shoes, is used on the palm area. There’s also a denser diamond patterned strip at each end that also runs along the front side, while a small flange takes up residence at the onboard side.
Breathing new life into the Vans grip is ODI’s latest Soft Compound TPE rubber that offers better feedback and control. The grip measures 135mm in length, and 31mm in diameter.
ODI Vans v2.1 MTB Lock On Grips - Performance
Having been a long-time wearer of Vans kicks, I always thought that the ODI/Vans collaboration was pretty exciting and, as soon as this updated set of grips landed, they were on my bike. As far as looks go, I reckon these are some of the most stylish grips out there, complementing my SRAM Code Ultimate Stealth brake and Wolf Tooth Light Action dropper lever.
As mentioned in previous tests of ODI’s recent grips, the new lock ring is excellent. It’s slimmer than many on the market but that doesn’t impact the grip’s security on the bar. Instead, it offers more space for the placement of the controls on the bar. This may not be a huge deal to many out there, but the more room for adjustment, the better in my books.
On the bar, these grips are certainly slim, which made me a little sceptical as a rider who prefers a little girth to a grip but, in practice, I found absolutely no issue. The bar feel is exceptional and the overall grip is plentiful, especially with gloves. While narrow, their profile isn’t as slim as others, such as Funn’s Hilt grips. However, the material that is present marries a great bar feel with just enough squidge to offer effective damping.
ODI’s location of the slightly different textures work very well together, where there’s more material at the palm portion, increasing surface area and boosting comfort. The more open tread pattern offers more holds for the fingers to grip and the combination of the two results in a great feel. Then the new single clamp design means that there’s a good soft rubber cap that doesn’t dig into the palm when riding. The new but small flange is also a great addition, receiving a little bit of texture for extra grippy goodness and it doesn’t get in the way of the controls.
If I were to nitpick, I'd like to see a tapered version available. This aside, durability has proven to be rather good with minimal signs of wear. The only thing suggesting that these grips have been ridden for a couple of months is that some of the ‘off the wall’ text on the grip's outer has worn down a touch.
ODI Vans v2.1 MTB Lock On Grips - Verdict
Like many of ODI’s grips, this one is reaching the upper end of the grip price scale – £30 to be precise. The price is the only thing that may put some riders off but it is justified through its top-quality build, excellent performance and it’s style. But that doesn’t mean other, cheaper grips aren’t nearly as good.
Compared to another ODI grip, I was pretty enamoured with the Reflex grips. These cost £28 and you’re getting a more technical tackiness for the money, with fancy squishy areas to dampen vibration and enhance grip.
The Vans v2.1s come in cheaper than Ergon’s GFR1 grips though, which will set you back £32. These are much thinner grips that get a more complex pattern again, with a special panel for vibration damping and finger grooves for grip when lifting the front wheel.
The ODI Vans v2.1 MTB Lock On Grips might be pricey but you’re getting a premium product in return. One that offers great grip and bar feel with a welcomed level of vibration damping.