Giant Swage Lock-On Grips Review
Giant is primarily known for bikes but many of the in-house components spec'ed on those bikes are available in the aftermarket. Reviewing house-brand components isn't common but some of the features of Giant's Swage Lock-On grips caught my attention. After some time on them they came close to being the new go-to.
- Integrated Tube and single clamp lock ring
- Rear hollow structure and high-density rubber design
- Ergonomic hand fit (tapered toward the outer edge)
- Thicker rubber compound in the palm enhances damping
- Black, Silver, Red or Blue (lock ring)
- 145mm wide (inc. lock and integrated plug)
- 103 grams/pair (claimed)
- MSRP: 26 USD / 27.99 CAD
Grips don’t normally generate excitement but after grabbing the Swage's, their large core reliefs caught my attention. Aside from two roughly 15mm wide pieces, the outer 55mm of the grip is nothing but rubber to bar. Removing the core of the grip from this area leaves more rubber between hands and bar, without making the grip fatter. The lack of core can improve grip and comfort.
Andrew Major’s affinity with push-on grips, especially those from Renthal, is noteworthy for this reason. Nothing but rubber around the bar increases damping under the hand, removing a great deal of trail feedback and increasing comfort. The problem, according to some, is that riders want the simplicity of sliding on a grip and clamping it down.
Others have tried similar approaches to the Giant reliefs (pun intended). Ergon grips, like those tested last year, include slivers that are cut out of the core. ODI strategically place more rubber under the palm than around the side where our fingers wrap, and so on. But I’ve never encountered anything with such a relief and it got me excited.
Riding on a Cloud?
Fastened to the bike, the Swage grips felt really good. Although the area with nothing but soft, tactile rubber only accounted for roughly two-thirds of my mitts, it was noticeably comfortable. The location of the large relief is well positioned and with most weight transmitted through this part of the hand, the soft rubber here does its job. Four more small oval reliefs are found on the inboard side of the grip, roughly 15mm from the collar.
The Swages fell short for me because of my hand position. With my hands slightly off the end of the grips, the integrated plastic end caps were irritating, especially once scuffed up (nothing some light file work can’t fix). I also found the rounded portion toward the end didn’t support my hands as I'd like. This hand position and the grip length also meant I never made use of the smaller inner reliefs. These are personal traits and anyone who holds the grip without any extending beyond the end won't have this problem.
One concern with the design was how the unsupported rubber of the outer 55mm would hold up. I never had a problem with the ends twisting or the rubber popping over the two small structural pieces that connect the end plugs. Off the bike, this area easily twists. On the bike, with the support of the handlebar, they're solid.
Everything else about the Swage Lock-On felt great. The textures provide an excellent combination of comfort and grip, especially with the aggressive webbing under the fingers. Rubber compounds differ but these feel very good. And they’re lightweight too.
More information on the Swage Lock-On on Giant's website.