RevGrips Pro Series mountain bike grips are an innovative ‘suspension’ design that creates a gap between it and the bar, allowing a small amount of float aimed at combating fatigue and arm pump. They're a faff to set up and expensive, but they do absorb vibration without affecting control, so if you're suffering numbness they're definitely worth a look.
The RevGrips clamp on while leaving a gap between the main sleeve and the bar. The alloy clamps hold the sleeve firmly in above the surface, while small rubber inserts provide a degree of twist and extra insulation from vibes.
This grip is available in three sizes encompassing 31mm-34mm diameters, and in a range of colours – there are eight for the clamps and five for the sleeves, allowing pretty good customisation.
The four small rubber inserts allow the grip to rotate a very small amount around the bar, and that movement can be tuned via some thin metal spacers. These ‘tuning washers’ essentially provide a moving surface, stopping the bar end holding the grip solidly in one position.
Fitting is a bit of a faff. It involves installing the washers and then the rubber inserts on the grip sleeve, then placing the clamp over these – it's fiddly. I struggled to get the clamp over the inserts without knocking everything and losing them on the floor, and when I say floor I mean grass. Pro tip: fit these on a flat, empty, light-coloured surface!
Once this part is done, you just need to sandwich both ends and slide the whole lot on the bars without letting go of either end or allowing a rubber insert to escape. Next, tighten the clamps (outer first), being careful not to round out the soft metal bolts – I recommend using the new Allen key provided. Then fit the bar end. Finally, give yourself a pat on the back and promise you won't remove them anytime soon.
There is a 'fix' in the pipeline, where the four small inserts are strung together in a circle, to make fitting more straightforward. Cyclorise, RevGrips' UK distributor, will be sending some over once they're past the prototype stage and I'll update this review.
Full disclosure: I was sceptical about the RevGrips. The idea of a grip that moved conjured images of nasty push-on grips spinning unpredictably, but testing proved me entirely wrong. The actual movement of the grip around the bars is pretty indiscernible when riding, even with both washers installed for the greatest movement possible.
I rode these back to back with my favourite regular grips (DMR Deathgrips) and found the differences most noticeable when swapping back. That sounds odd but is a good sign, I think – they're not so different from normal grips that you particularly notice it, but they offer enough of an advantage that you do notice when it's gone.
I tested these on various styles of bikes and lengths of fork, and found they slightly reduce vibrations and take the edge off harsher, more chattery action. It's arguably nothing you can't get with adjustments to other parts (such as your fork or tyres), however.
I don’t think they improved my riding much – I didn’t feel more confident, as RevGrips might claim I should – and while I appreciate the smoother ride and extra vibration damping, these grips may just be papering over the cracks of your real problem.
For example, one Pike-forked e-bike I'm riding makes my palm ache on longer descents, and the RevGrips didn't fix it. However, this bike has underpowered SRAM Code R brakes, so I end up hanging onto them for longer when short, sharp braking efforts tend, I find, to prevent hand pain.
I tested a small diameter grip using a grip sleeve with the large square pattern, and found it good in the dry but a little slippery in the wet. This size grip is also available with a half-waffle pattern, which should do better – again, I'll be testing that in the near future.
If you're struggling with aching, painful or numb hands and your suspension is sorted, you're happy with your brakes and you have £100 to drop (or £70 For the Race version with less adjustment), I’d say give the RevGrips a go. They're fiddly and the benefits are subtle, but they're well-made, offer great scope for customisation and tuning, and look pretty good to boot.
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