The new F1 Series Vapor grips from ODI are a slide on mountain bike grip made from the companies own A.I.R.E. elastomer compound designed to better absorb vibrations. The light grip is comfortable but probably better suited to long distance miles than gravity fed slaying.
The F1 Series Vapor grips looks like a foam or silicone grip but feels pretty different to touch, there’s more of a rubbery feel combined with a textured surface pattern akin to regular grips. The grip also features a dimpled underside for your fingers, just make sure you get them on the right way round! If you aren’t sold on the texture of the Vapor grip then you can try the Float grip which is smooth all over.
The new A.I.R.E compound from ODI is really what makes these different from foam grips. The compound is an elastomer that they say is also “infused with air like the frothy foam of a good morning latte!” I don’t think I’ve ever thought about coffee and mountain bike grips in the same headspace but I have now. The grips have a reinforced inner layer for added durability, this layer appears to be less spongy and gives the grip a little more rigidity.
Fitting the grips is a doddle, just use the old hairspray technique, they take a bit of working on compared to lock-on’s but that’s not surprising and isn’t a hardship. Once fitted I found them to stay in place well, there was no slipping or moving at all. In fact, I would have liked to adjust the fingerprint pattern a little but there was no chance of that, they stuck fast to the bars like chewing gum to a cat.
The grips dissipate a lot of unwanted vibration and excelled on longer riders where these vibrations become tiresome. Personally, I found them a little large in diameter for my smalls hands which did account for some fatigue but riders who prefer a larger grip won’t have the same problem. Take the bike over more technical terrain though and elastomer deforms and moves under your fingers, especially noticeable when jumping, manualling or bunny hopping. As you manoeuvre the bars the grips compress slightly which is off-putting, they don’t move on the bar but there is a certain amount of ‘squidge’ present which isn’t ideal.
On long rides the ODI Vapor grips will be a great partner and one that won't break the bank either. For any more technical trails though the movement of the elastomer is disconcerting and we’d recommend something else from the ODI range like the Elite Flow Lock On’s.