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Two-Minute Review

Giant Swage Lock-On Grips Review

Words AJ Barlas
Photos AJ Barlas
Date Jan 16, 2019

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. 

Highlights

  • 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


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Deep ribs under the fingers and a comfortable rubber compound adds to the comfort of the Giant Swage. 

Attention Seekers

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.

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Nothing but rubber! This may be the closest a lock-on grip has come to the feel of a push-on.

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The two ~15mm sections of core that connect the end of the grip are placed under the fingers where it has less affect on feel. 


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.

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That plastic end cap seems like a missed point. If only the rubber continued over the ends…


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. 



Comments

Lynx
+1 Shinook
MountainBikeBarbados .  - Jan. 16, 2019, 4:55 a.m.

Hey Aj, did you measure the diameter of the grips? Curious how big they are. My fav current grips are the Oury lock ons, the rubber is very thick, comfy and grippy and they're big for my big mitts. Was also looking at the grips from SQ Lab, think the 30X ones would be the ones I'd try.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Jan. 16, 2019, 6:55 a.m.

Hi MountainBikeBarbados. If you enjoy the Oury grips I don’t know that you will get on with these. As you say, Oury grips are very thick. For reference, these taper from about 29mm near the collar to 31mm at the largest point.

Reply

Lynx
0
MountainBikeBarbados .  - Jan. 16, 2019, 6:58 a.m.

Thanks for the quick reply. Yeah, wasn't sure about the tapering or biggest diameter on them, but look like a reasonably priced option compared to a lot of the other grips out there - haven't been so impressed with Ergon these days, ran them for about 10 years before.

Reply

Shinook
0
Shinook  - Jan. 16, 2019, 10:04 a.m.

I've been using the 70X and they are awesome. I have issues with a compressed ulnar nerve and, while they aren't a total solution, they do provide more structured support for my hand and relieve pressure points. I'd recommend them for sure.

Reply

mammal
+1 AJ Barlas
Mammal  - Jan. 16, 2019, 8:21 a.m.

Thanks AJ. Very interesting product to which I probably would have otherwise been oblivious. I love the ease of lock-ons, and usually go for pretty average diameter grips, but a bit more rubber damping would be well received. Cheers.

Reply

rigidjunkie
0
Allen Lloyd  - Jan. 16, 2019, 10:30 a.m.

Any idea how these hold up when they hit a tree?  For whatever reason I have a habit of hitting trees with the end of my bars and the Santa Cruz grips have a plastic piece on the inside of the end of the grip that I have gotten really good at snapping.  That said my fear is had I not broken the grip I would have damaged my bars.  So I keep buying them because I like how they feel and appreciate them protecting my bars.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Jan. 17, 2019, 6:59 a.m.

Hey Allen. I haven’t tested their tree smacking capabilities. Where I hold the bar, it’s more likely to result in broken fingers/hand than the grip.

Reply

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