PNW Loam Grips Range Bar NSMB AndrewM (14).JPG
EDITORIAL

Do The Twist (and stay safe on the trail)

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Mar 30, 2021
Reading time

Twist & Tug

We're standing at the bottom of a trail called Lower Crafty Butcher in Cumberland. It's just over 500 meters of the kind of Blue-rated trail that everyone-and-anyone can love, and we're finishing the day with a big stack of hot laps. It's a fast trail and I'm on my rigid single speed, so 'hot laps' for me consist of bumping down the trail as fast as I can while my friend Hulklyn comfortably half-wheels my back tire on her 6" travel Knolly, sh*t talking me about how many pairs of brake pads I owe her.

Me: “Do you want to go ahead?"

Her: “Oh no, I’m good. HAHAHA!

Now for the record, I love some two-way trash talking and I can usually hold my own, but in this situation, I'm like an aardvark wrestling a grizzly bear who flips dump truck tires at the gym. It's only once stopped at the bottom of the trail, subjected to the mischievous mirth of the cackling pack of hyenas I call friends, that an offramp from the mocking of my minute momentum presents itself in the form of her half-clocked lock-on grip. I reach down and with no more effort than a slight-twist, I pull the left grip straight off and hand it to her. The look that Hulklyn gives her husband/personal bike mechanic is the stuff of nightmares, but it's hilarious relief for me.

Soma Dream Collaboration Handlebar AndrewM

Whether it's a single 3mm hex bolt like this SQLab 70X grip...

Rev Grip Race NSMB AndrewM.JPG

...or a pair of 2.5mm hex bolts like this Rev suspension grip...

Push On Grips Sensus NSMB AndrewM (1).JPG

...or a push-on grip. You shouldn't be able to just twist-and-tug it off.

In stark defense of Hulklyn's husband, an inability to adequately tighten lock-on grips is not a rare condition among men or women who mountain bike. If you talk to anyone who turns wrenches in a shop, the issue of loose lock-on grips is so prevalent as to not be a laughing matter at all. With an obvious exception for the solitudinarians among us, there's a very good chance it afflicts someone you ride with semi-regularly. I don't know anyone who will admit they've been injured by a grip-that-slipped but it's unfathomable that a few riders haven't been taken down by them.

Before anyone jumps into the comments with the semi-common defense of "I always use a torque wrench," grips are one place where that practice is a bit questionable. Certainly you shouldn't tighten your lock-ons until the bolt heads pop off, but if your torque wrench reads 3 N⋅m and you can still twist the throttle, I'd recommend tightening a bit more.

You may be thinking, is it really so hard to tighten lock-on grips that NSMB.com is writing an article about it? Isn't there a press-release about Aaron Gwin's chamois-cream sponsor they could run instead? Here's a two-step process to find out for yourself:

1) Secure your own bike(s). I know you already perform a regular bolt check but humour me anyway. If you maintain your significant other's bike I'd recommend they not be in the room lest uncomfortable questions about that unexpected crash last year come up. Grab your grips and give them a REALLY good twist-and-tug.

2) Save some lives and have some laughs. I'll be really surprised if you don't impress/embarrass a few friends this year.

I'd love to hear about the results. Frankly, I think it's fair to expect a beer per grip in compensation.

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Comments

danielshiels
+7 Andrew Major AverageAdventurer AJ Barlas taprider Angu58 Tremeer023 goose8
danielshiels  - March 30, 2021, 4:28 a.m.

Push ons , grip glue and wire. I'll need that grizzly in the article to twist them off

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 AverageAdventurer
Andrew Major  - March 30, 2021, 5:53 a.m.

You know it’s push-on for me! Sensus Swayze, Renthal? What you running?

Reply

mothrock
+2 Andrew Major goose8
mothrock  - March 30, 2021, 8:35 a.m.

You're articles have pushed me to using push-ons exclusively and it's been great.  I have chester's on my DJ and Oury mountain grips on Ragley HT.  I've also run ESI Chunky grips that were nice but not durable enough.

Turns out glue is enough for me, no wiring needed.

Thanks Andrew!

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Grif AverageAdventurer Korc
Andrew Major  - March 30, 2021, 8:50 a.m.

Cheers! What grip glue have you been using?

Reply

mothrock
+2 Andrew Major goose8
mothrock  - March 30, 2021, 3:26 p.m.

I've had sucess with:

no glue / isopropyl (only slight twisting over months)

spray can clear coat

gorilla glue

I think the clear coat is ulitamately the easiest of the bunch, just blast some in and slide it on fast.

Reply

Hollytron
+1 Andrew Major
Hollytron  - March 30, 2021, 9:37 a.m.

Im in the same boat with those swayzes Andrew hooked me and I bought out the qbp stock of pink ones. Spray paint and wire kept them on through a wet winter. They are tough to get off (use air!) but reuseable once they are off. Never going back to lock ons.

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AndrewMajor
+1 AverageAdventurer
Andrew Major  - March 30, 2021, 10:42 a.m.

Cheers! I love that this has really become an article about push-on grips!

I've been using spray paint and wire as well. I actually hadn't previously tried reusing grips but I've had really good luck now that I've given it a shot. My brown Swayze grips have been on three bars!

Reply

AverageAdventurer
+1 Andrew Major
AverageAdventurer  - March 30, 2021, 2:34 p.m.

Gold spray paint and .32 safety wire holds Swayzes on the big bike, renthals on the small bike and wax's on the dj. I do however have a small hate for non-split clamp components..

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 30, 2021, 2:43 p.m.

Non-splits definitely take some more planning.

gdharries
+1 Andrew Major
Geof Harries  - March 30, 2021, 5:59 a.m.

There's been a few times where for me it's hilariously the opposite: the lock-on bolts get stripped and those grips ain't ever comin' off. Or worse, the bolts are stripped and the grips turn, but they can't be tightened.

Thankfully my bolt-tightening skills have (mostly) improved over the years. I think.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+3 Geof Harries Andy Eunson khai
Andrew Major  - March 30, 2021, 6:09 a.m.

For whatever reason, this post reminds me of the Possum Lodge Man’s Prayer: “I’m a man, but I can change, if I have to, I guess.”

I’ve had to permanently remove a fair fee grips (mostly ODI dual-clamps with the little 2.5mm hex heads), some had even bonded to the bars, but that’s better than grips slipping I think.

Reply

cooperquinn
+3 Andrew Major Chad K Velocipedestrian
Cooper Quinn  - March 30, 2021, 1:39 p.m.

Whoever spec'd those 2.5mm heads should be forced to eat 400 of them.

Reply

andy-eunson
+1 Andrew Major
Andy Eunson  - March 30, 2021, 8:39 a.m.

Some time in the mid 90s the BC Cup final race was held up at Grouse Mountain. About 4°C and raining. Truly miserable conditions. A certain mud hole took a few shoes off feet. Most shoe Velcro was reduced to flapping bits. We were forced after the event to use the old blue gondola to download the muddy bikes. I helped unload at the bottom. I took a mental survey of grips. Probably 25% of bikes were missing one or even two grips. Nearly all had loose grips. My own had come loose. This was before lock on grips. I had wired on my grips but it was not enough. Hard riding and the pulling and twisting riders did in a race in the rain on forks with a token amount of travel proved something better was needed that day.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 30, 2021, 9:19 a.m.

I had a pair of grips come off on Burke in heavy rain in the 90’s. They weren’t glued or wired though! 

Riding without grips sucks so bad. No issues since I returned to riding push-on grips though.

Reply

cooperquinn
+2 William Swanson Zapp
Cooper Quinn  - March 30, 2021, 8:51 a.m.

Hi, would you have a moment to talk about our savior, ESI?

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 MuscogeeMasher
Andrew Major  - March 30, 2021, 9:21 a.m.

Ugh. Definitely an acquired taste that I haven’t acquired.

Reply

kekoa
+1 Andrew Major
kekoa  - March 30, 2021, 11:43 a.m.

I’m not the only one! Thank you!

Reply

cooperquinn
+1 Andrew Major
Cooper Quinn  - March 30, 2021, 1:39 p.m.

They're very love-em-or-hate-em. 

I know where 'Drew stands.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Velocipedestrian
Andrew Major  - March 30, 2021, 2:44 p.m.

Are you sure? Because I’m think about writing you a letter on the subject.

Reply

cooperquinn
+2 Cam McRae khai
Cooper Quinn  - March 30, 2021, 10:40 p.m.

Please, do. 

I have a special filing cabinet under my desk for all the letters you send me.

andyf
+1 Andrew Major
andyf  - March 30, 2021, 8:59 a.m.

Sensus Swayze and Krylon Spray Adhesive. No wires needed.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 30, 2021, 9:20 a.m.

Riding in the rain a fair amount? Haven’t heard of the Krylon adhesive but I’ll try it out - you buy it at a craft store?

Reply

andyf
+1 Andrew Major
andyf  - March 30, 2021, 11:26 a.m.

Some rain but nothing too heavy. Mostly just morning mist in the Redwoods. 

It's usually located with or near the spray paint in hardware stores.  I don't know if the Krylon brand is big in Canada but it's almost generic for spray paint in the US, like Kleenex for facial tissue.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 30, 2021, 12:16 p.m.

I've used their spray paint (including to put lock-on grips on) but I'd be curious to try a spray adhesive under the assumption it would be stickier?

Reply

khai
+2 Andrew Major andyf
khai  - March 30, 2021, 11:32 a.m.

You're old enough to remember the hairspray trick from days LONG gone by...  I started using hand sanitizer a few years ago and it's been bombproof!  I've struggled using just rubbing alcohol (as recommended by certain grip manufacturers) but the aloe gel that they add to sanitizer helps the grip slide right on, move a bit for final positioning, and then dries tacky.  No wiring needed, and these days it's something we all have on-hand.  I asked the folks at OneUp to make sure they were cool with my using it on their carbon bar and they said to have at it.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 30, 2021, 12:17 p.m.

I haven't ever had much luck with hairspray. Using spray paint the grips slide on fine until it dries. Interesting that the hand sanitizer dies tacky enough - no problems even in the pissing rain?

Reply

khai
+1 Andrew Major
khai  - March 30, 2021, 11:15 p.m.

No, I learned the sani trick from moto where the repercussions for having a grip slide is potentially much higher than on a mtb (DH race runs at the elite level may approach).  I know guys who use paint as well, but I've had that slip on me - just once, but I never gave it another chance after that.  (I should note that after that incident I started safety wiring them as backup as well)  After riding in the pissing rain all winter, now that my ESI silicone grips are "ventilated" there's a bit of movement - but I think that has less to do with the adhesive bond than it does to the material just breaking down and stretching/tearing.  I need to replace those grips...

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 1, 2021, 7:37 a.m.

Neat. I’m going to try it with my next set. You recommend a thicker (gel) v. thinner sanitizer?

khai
+1 Andrew Major
khai  - April 1, 2021, 10:39 a.m.

I've only ever used the gel type of sanitizer as "in the before days" that was what was commonly available.  I'd imagine the foam type would probably work similarly, but I've never tried it.  If you're into adhesives, 3M makes a few types of spray adhesive that I've used for other applications and may work well here - though you might have to cut the grips off.  "3M xx" with the higher number representing a stronger bond.  It's supposed to be used like a contact cement (spray both sides, let dry, then stick together) so I'm not sure how it holds if you apply it and slide the grips on wet - but once that stuff bonds under normal circumstances I'd bet on that over most other options.

Dave_its_just_a_bike
+3 Andrew Major Tim Coleman Simon Apostol
Dave_its_just_a_bike  - March 30, 2021, 9:06 a.m.

Andrew, I really appreciate your perspective and think you write some of the best actual MTB articles.

Please leave that other website out of NSMB articles.  NSMB content is better, because it is better!

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Simon Apostol
Andrew Major  - March 30, 2021, 10:45 a.m.

Thank you, I'm really glad you enjoy them!

Is the second part of your comment in reference to Gwin's chamois cream sponsor? HAHAHA. Just having some fun.

Reply

Dave_its_just_a_bike
0
Dave_its_just_a_bike  - April 1, 2021, 7:05 p.m.

I don’t think we need to talk about Gwin’s cream.  Whether he is paid for it or nut

Reply

khai
+1 Andrew Major
khai  - March 30, 2021, 10:51 a.m.

I'm currently running ESI silicone grips but have found that they don't take too well to being tossed into rocks/trees/dirt over and over (and over).  I've been really happy with the Chromag Wax grips on my DJ so I'll likely try those on the trail rig next.

The only real downside to push-on grips is when paired with non-hinged bar clamps, swapping inboard for outboard positioning (or outright replacement) is a bit of a hassle.  Not a big deal on my personal bike but sometimes when trying to help someone with their setup it can be a hinderance.  Fortunately most decent bikes come with lock-ons, so if someone is in need of help the aren't likely running push ons.  Unless it's a truly lower end rig...

Reply

GiveitsomeWelly
+1 Andrew Major
Karl Fitzpatrick  - March 30, 2021, 11:15 a.m.

I've tried to love push ons but the investment in a compressor as the easiest way to get them off and their utter bastardedliness to remove otherwise has made me move back to single collar lock ons. 

Merida and Marin OE ones are actually quite good and can often be found on sales pages for 10 clams a pair from people that have swapped them off their brand new bike.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Karl Fitzpatrick
Andrew Major  - March 30, 2021, 12:20 p.m.

I just slide a zip-tie under the grip (after removing the wire) and squirt some water in. No problem removing/reusing without an air compressor. Absolutely easier with air, but not a big deal. 

Some lock-on grips are certainly more comfortable than others but I haven't found anything aside from the, differently-comfortable, Rev grips that touch my push-on experience.

Reply

Ceecee
+1 Andrew Major
Ceecee  - March 30, 2021, 11:39 a.m.

On initial install, work a tiny dab of lithium grease into leading threads of your tiny bolts, even if they are Loctited. Install lightly and remove--receptacle threads are now greased. Repeat step one and re-install to desired bolt tension. Repeat step two on the half-season

Reply

DadStillRides
+1 Andrew Major
DadStillRides  - March 30, 2021, 2:49 p.m.

I've been exclusive with odi longneck for years. Thanks to your advice on the wire technique, I've switched back to the push on version for better feel, length, and price. Haven't even needed glue in the first year with this approach, but I did a pretty serious job with the wire.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 DadStillRides
Andrew Major  - March 30, 2021, 4:05 p.m.

I like the Longneck, ODI also makes the Eclat Pulsar which is similar (uses ODI’s softest rubber option) if you feel like trying something new that’s just a bit different but maybe has a bit more traction.

Reply

B_Badonde
+1 Andrew Major
Harry Barnard  - March 31, 2021, 12:43 a.m.

I saw someone break their femur right in front of me because of a crash caused by a loose grip. Ever since then I've always given my grips a whisky throttle when I pull my bike out of the car to go riding.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 1, 2021, 7:40 a.m.

Ahhhhhhhh. I mean it just makes sense that a grip slipping could end in pain but breaking a femur is... 

Thanks for sharing. It’s the first incident of an actual injury caused by a loose grip I’ve come across.

Reply

NuMexJoe
+2 Velocipedestrian Andrew McKee
NuMexJoe  - April 4, 2021, 9:35 p.m.

Andrew, thank you.  A second (third?) discussion of grips finally got me to create an account.  Been reading NSMB for years and have particularly enjoyed your contributions.  As a long-time user of ESI grips, I've you to to thank for the nice, grippy Renthal Kevlars I enjoyed on my bike park (Angel Fire) ride last season.  I'd never heard of them, but for the intended use, they were perfect.  Also running some purple Sensus Swayzes on my cruiser (again, never hear of them previously), thanks to you.

What prompted me to sign up and (hope to) contribute was the foregoing resistance to using push-on grips dues to the difficulty in getting them off without destroying them.  While I have an air compressor, when I've got to remove my push-ons, I find a hypodermic syringe with rubbing alcohol does the trick.  Get an 18- or 20-gauge, ~3cc, from the local pharmacy, stick it right through the grip and squirt a bit between the grip and the bar in 2 or 3 spots.  The grip will slip right off without any swearing, and you'll never see the holes when you re-install the grip, whether with hairspray or clear lacquer.

I hope that helps someone find it easier to swear off of lock-ons and choose comfort instead.  Keep up the great work, and thanks for the just-right stoke.

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