ProTaper Handlebar Waltworks NSMB Andrew Major (1)
Review

Lizardskins DSP Lever Grips

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Oct 28, 2022
Reading time

DSP v. DIY

Anyone who rides through the dark, dank, and damp pacific rainforest winters has thought about ways to balance the thickness of their gloves and icy cold aluminum brake levers. There are always carbon lever blades, but at some significant expense and with a slick finish that some riders dislike. I've also come across and tried every home remedy from Hockey Tape to Plasti Dip. For years I've just sucked it up with a pair of 100% Brisker gloves and warm thoughts.

My first thought about the DSP Lever Grip from Lizardskins was actually quite positive; I love Lizardskins' DSP bar tape. Then I thought, how many sets of these little grippies could I cut out of a couple of rolls of bar tape, and what kind of super glue would keep them in place through our wettest months?

I've been riding the Lever Grips for a few months, which come as a four-pack (two bikes worth) for 13 USD | 18 CAD. And they work. I can take them or leave them in the warm months, but now that I have some cold, wet rides on them I'll say that my aluminum lever blades are less uncomfortable. They're not on the level of carbon blades, but I'm almost convinced that when these die I'll pay to replace them. My partner in crime, aged 8, is more of a fan. She likes that the thin layer makes her brake levers "squishy and grippy" and immediately noticed the difference in her digits with a pair of crispy-cold levers and some moist gloves.

Lizardskins DSP Brake Lever Grips NSMB Andrew Major (3)

My grom loves the little bit of extra squish and the bonus grip from the DSP setup, rain or shine. She doesn't love that Lizardskins doesn't sell them in blue. Yes, I've created a monster. Given the choice of black, red, grey, or nothing any of the first three would be fine.

ProTaper Handlebar Waltworks NSMB Andrew Major (1)

I was full 'meh' for dry rides. I quite like the textured lever blades of these Dominion A4 brakes. In the wet and cold, for 9 CAD a pair, I think I will buy another set when these are toast.

Installation

Lizardskins joins the growing list of brands who think their customers are morons by including a how-to on handwashing in their instruction manual. I mean, sure, include a note suggesting folks wash their hands but the how-to is just a little too Thank You For Knowing Not To Drink The Battery Acid for me. In case you've missed it all these years, glues adhere best to clean, dry surfaces.

Aside from my mini-rant, installing the Lever Grip is as easy as putting on a Band-Aid. Which, I mean, in case you've missed it all these years, it's a good idea to wash your hands and clean the surface you'll be applying those to as well.

Try Them, Maybe?

Durability wise, the Lever Grips are worn on the edges after a few months, but I'm anticipating they'll stay in place all winter. I'd purchase black ones from the three colour options - black, red, and grey - for the simple fact that they should look good the longest. That brings me to The Clairebarian's beef with the DSP setup, why doesn't it come in blue?!?

If you're happy to suck it up with frigid fingers, live somewhere cold, dry, and flat where a proper pair of lobster mitts do the job, or are out there shredding in pogies then good on you. If you're prepared to forgo a four-pack of tall cans, or half a four-pack if you split the beers and the Lizardskins Lever Grip set with a buddy, these are better than holding a moist-gloved finger against a thick chunk of anodized aluminum.

We'll be colder and wetter this year than we have been thus far, but we'll still be thinking DSP is a win when the weather warms up in spring. If you're Lever Grip curious, two pairs cost 13 USD, from Lizardskins or your preferred local shop.

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Comments

kcy4130
kcy4130
3 months, 1 week ago
+9 Timer Rowdy Andrew Major whotookit HughJass Bogey Ryan DBone57 OneShavedLeg

You're instructed to wash and dry your hands because the lizard skins are designed to be glued onto your index fingers, not the brake levers. Sheesh.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 1 week ago
0

You’ll note I’m only making fun of the hand washing part of the instructions not the part that shows that Lever Grips go ON the levers. Heh.

Reply

Rowdy
Rowdy
3 months, 1 week ago
+2 Andrew Major Ondřej Váňa

Some of my friends use little silicone sleeves. I don’t think those come with any instructions at all.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 1 week ago
+1 Rowdy

How do folks know the lever goes inside them? I tried a over-blade sleeve and found it really bulky but I’d be curious to try an updated product if they’ve gotten thinner - do not like frozen fingers.

Reply

Rowdy
Rowdy
3 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

My friends are geniuses or something like that. 

Thickness is why I haven’t bothered with the sleeves. Not sure if there’s a thinner version out there.

Reply

BadNudes
BadNudes
3 months, 1 week ago
+2 Andrew Major Rowdy

I love my lever blades fat and girthy (or maybe I've just gotten used to it and can't go back to cold fingers)

I also run a top tube pad that means I can stand over the top tube for more than a few seconds without getting frostbit in my inner thighs. Aluminium sucks in the cold!

Reply

mikesee
mikesee
3 months, 1 week ago
+2 T0m AlanB

The cost of carbon levers seems a small price to pay for warm digits in winter.  But we're all different -- both in terms of budgetary concerns as well as regional climate and tolerance to it.

I spent a healthy chunk of my life chasing ghosts on the Iditarod Trail in winter.  It took me a few years to dial in a system (<-key word is "A" system, not "The" system, because there is no one wrote way to make it work) for reliably warm digits that didn't use batteries.

Most of what I learned there wouldn't be applicable to riding tech trail on the shore.

But the main takeaway was that if you can't have carbon levers, go to a local fabric store (or even secondhand store) and find some thin neoprene.  Cut as needed and use contact cement (3M 90 works great) to affix.  

I even sewed myself some neoprene grip covers that I install on my fatbike every November.

Neoprene gloves and socks never worked for me, but applying that material to the cold surfaces my hands are touching emphatically does.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 1 week ago
+2 T0m AlanB

Interesting, all add neoprene to the DIY experiment list. Neoprene gloves never worked for me but lever covers are a different application.

Carbon lever blades make more sense to me than any other carbon product when it comes to an immediate improvement in performance (when it’s cold). Love the fantastic-plastic blades on my Magura brakes. 

But a $9 pair (1/2 set) of Lever Grips is a comparatively small investment.

Reply

mikesee
mikesee
3 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

And ~$5 for a child's wetsuit (or similar) at a thrift store is a comparative steal when you realize that it gives you enough fabric for a lifetime of lever covers for you, your family, your friends, their families, etc...

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 1 week ago
0

100%. What thickness are you using? I'm certainly going to play around with some DIY options.

Reply

mikesee
mikesee
3 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

Largely dictated by what you can find at thrift stores or fabric stores.

I like 2-3mm.

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SteveR
SteveR
3 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

One winter I spirally wrapped the levers using self adhesive foam (neoprene?) weatherstripping that is 2-3 mm thick and about 10 mm wide. Found at any home improvement store. It worked fine but was hell to clean off in the spring. Which needed doing as it was worn by then.

Reply

Timer
Timer
3 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

They could be nice on my commuter bike in the winter. Not sure if the extra money over my current heat shrink tube solution is worth it, though.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 1 week ago
+2 Timer Mtnbikerva1

Nah, commuter bike I’d stick with Plasti-Dip or heat shrink. I just loathe those options (and thick gloves) when I can avoid them for trail riding.

Trying pogies on the MTB is on my list this year when the temperature drops,

Reply

Coarsebass
Glenn Bergevin
3 months, 1 week ago
0

I think you'd really like the Wolftooth pogies - the V1s are easy on off, have sort of a trail mode and adjust for more warmth. Pretty light, pretty low profile, don't feel like monster fat bike pogies. Perfect for winter MTB trail riding. V2s are warmer but bulkier, great for a true fat bike and sub zero snow blasting.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 1 week ago
0

Seems only the V2 is sold now? Yes, was certainly thinking something very light/less insulated.

Reply

karakoram
Ryan
3 months, 1 week ago
0

Curious to read your experience on the pogies. I find them too warm even in the coldest temps but that's better than the alternative.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 1 week ago
0

I feel like I need some Wet-Coast Pogies. No insulation at all just a shell?! Not trying to cook myself.

Reply

grcgrc
grcgrc
3 months, 1 week ago
+1 Mtnbikerva1

I remember stuff like that from BMX back in the day. May have even been Lizard Skins. 

As for pogies get the neoprene version for the wet coast. I have a set for my regular bike & they make all the difference. I am not spending ten minutes trying to warm my hands after I arrive. Best money i have spent for winter weather riding in years.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 1 week ago
+4 Vik Banerjee 4Runner1 BadNudes Timer

Make and model?

Just to confirm, are you commuting in them or mountain biking? I’m specifically thinking about pogies from a mountain bike perspective and my concern is I don’t want them to interfere with getting away from my bike in a crash.

(imagine the look on Deniz’s face when I show out for test-ride photos in my full face and pogies?! Hahahahaha. Warms me up just thinking about it)

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
3 months, 1 week ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

Hey, I am just here the document the truth... If pogies are the truth.. then so be it..  ::cringe::

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 1 week ago
0

Hahahaha. Might have to make that happen. 

There’s a couple times I showed up for photos with Dave and the look he gave me (dress code issues)… anyway…

‘Who will photograph the photographers?’

Reply

Hi_Im_Will
Hi_Im_Will
3 months, 1 week ago
0

Go for something like standard Bar Mitts. The heavy stuff like anything Revelate Designs or 45nrth makes is awesome for trudging through snow, but too hot for hard riding in any warmer than 25F imo. 

https://barmitts.com/products/mountain-commuter-pogies-flat-bars

Reply

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
3 months, 1 week ago
0

Rokko lever skins perhaps? I installed those on my bike in the late 80s when I lived in Toronto. They were made for motorcycles. You got two long ones in an air tight package. Cut them in half and do two bikes. You simply slid them over the lever and they shrunk to fit when exposed to the atmosphere. Very solid. And hand washing was optional. 

I would consider those hand guard things too but the cost they want for some plastic bits is too much and aluminum brake levers would probably still suck the heat from my finger.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 1 week ago
0

I had a couple ouchie pinky tags two summers ago that had me looking at hand guards. I mean, I’m all in on riding in a full face you think I could get over the moto guard look. I’ve never tried a set and yes, none of them are cheap. I guess if I actually break a finger they’ll seem comparatively reasonable.

I don’t know how much of a difference they’d make temperature wise. Wind blocking I guess?

Reply

khai
khai
3 months, 1 week ago
+1 Mtnbikerva1

I've had my eye on a different version of these for a few seasons, but a combination of injury, laziness, and forgetfulness kept it such that I only remembered when actually out riding in the cold and wet - which was less frequently in the past year+.

I've run pogies on the moto in the winter (back when I used to commute year round on it) and the combination of a heated vest and pogies made all the difference in the world. They look dorky as hell, but you've seen my fender... ;p

I'm not sure how much protection those handguards that some of the EWS guys use would give you from the cold. I asked Jesse about them when he was standing in line behind me at Whistler at the beginning of last season, and he said he was "just trying them out" as some of those Euro courses are super tight and he hits a lot of branches, etc. (same reason many of those folk run narrower bars than one might expect).  Seems he liked them as he's been running them for a couple of seasons now. 

In terms of pinkie protection, I really like the LoamLabs Counterpunch. I bought a pair after clipping the rock wall taking the high line on Pamplemousse, but they stayed on my workbench for a year. I finally installed them on the DH bike this past season and liked them so much that now I run them on several bikes. They won't help one bit with the cold, of course, but I've glanced off enough trees with sufficient force to be fairly confident that they've saved me some bruising for sure, if not a hairline fracture or worse. They actually help with control as well you can run slightly a looser grip and the Counterpunch helps to keep your hand in place, and gives you a bit more leverage when needed. I'm a big fan.

Reply

slyfink
slyfink
3 months, 1 week ago
+1 finbarr

your intro got me thinking about that roll of 3M mastic tape I have lying around... it seems to be the only tape I can find that stays put on my frame. seems like it could be a good solution for the brakes on the commuter (here on the east coast of Canada), and possibly the fatbike for winter riding. anyone have experience with it on brake levers?

re pogies, it's definitely a question of preference. Personally I don't like them. I like to ride with my hands just slightly off the edge of the bar, and pogies don't really allow for that (at least my 45N don't). I find they force me into one hand position. I also find they run really warm. warm enough that I have to wear thin gloves. But then if I crash or pull my hand out of the pogie for whatever reason, my glove is wet and gets cold quickly. they also make it harder to push the bike. For the price of them, I feel that an investment in heated gloves is better. with the benefit that you can use them for other sports (e.g. commuting, nordic skiing, DH skiing, skating, walking the dogs, waiting for the bus etc etc etc)

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 1 week ago
0

I have a friend who uses heated socks and raves about them. I do live in almost the mildest climate in Canada and don’t have the worst circulation, so grains of salt all around, but any time I can avoid adding a battery to my life I do so. That goes for derailleurs and gloves.

Reply

finbarr
finbarr
3 months, 1 week ago
0

I agree wholeheartedly. I had the 45N Pogies and couldn’t stand them, for exactly the same reason. I now just use bulky mitts (Kinco’s). I’m in Alberta, though (or should I say… Albrrrrrta), so cold is the problem, not moisture.

Reply

watermonkey
watermonkey
3 months, 1 week ago
+1 OneShavedLeg

Self sealing silicone tape is what I've been wrapping my fatbike levers with for winter riding. The wrapped levers stay tacky when damp/wet, low profile.  I use pogies, but typically fold them back on the climb once the core temp is up, and fold them back to full coverage for the descent.

Reply

Rowdy
Rowdy
3 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

Today I bought a dozen sets along with pogies for our fat bike fleet we run in the winter. Let it snow!!

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 1 week ago
+1 Rowdy

Post up with how folks like them.

Reply

cheapondirt
cheapondirt
3 months, 1 week ago
0

Thanks for the review, think I will try these. I used to use little pieces of skateboard grip tape: very effective for grip, but destructive to gloves.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 1 week ago
0

Interesting. Yeah, that would EAT gloves. Did it provide any insulation though?

Reply

cheapondirt
cheapondirt
3 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

Yes actually, I guess almost anything is better than polished aluminum. You can't wrap a compound curve with that stuff, so I only had a little rectangle of it on the lever face and that was enough to feel a difference.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 1 week ago
0

Yeah, that’s fair. These are surprisingly good (but still not the same as carbon levers). 

I have a few friends planning to split a set. If they last the winter and make a difference for ten Canuck bucks that’s a pretty good value I think - even if an entire roll of whichever tape is cheaper.

Reply

mrraulduke
mrraulduke
3 months, 1 week ago
0

I also use a similar grip tape setup on the brake levers for my hardtail, which i ride a lot more in the winter. i bought a roll of 1" self adhered grit tape. it's grittier than skateboard tape.  i've had the same piece on for a few winters now and it certainly helps with braking grip with saturated gloves, and gives a bit of insulation from the lever. I'd be interested to try these skins out.

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SteveR
SteveR
3 months, 1 week ago
0

Interesting, but for the cold and dry Alberta winter I'll stick (ha!) with my $2.49 roll of hockey tape from Crappy Tire. How Canadian is that?

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 1 week ago
0

It’s available in blue even!

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DanL
DanL
3 months, 1 week ago
0

A much more attractive cost than T4 Dominions with carbon levers!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 1 week ago
+1 DanL

That’s the truth! I do like that the carbon blades don’t gave the big tool-free reach adjuster dial. The aesthetic is much more classic Hayes. But it’s an investment I’ve not been prepared to make.

Reply

craw
Cr4w
3 months, 1 week ago
0

Wait no lavender option?

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 1 week ago
+1 Cr4w

Lilac. Cosmic Lilac.

Reply

IslandLife
IslandLife
3 months, 1 week ago
0

Thought these would be a great addition to the kids bikes as their riding programs go until the beginning of December.  

Headed to website... $12.99 USD for two sets, great!  Added to my cart... added shipping address, next just needed to choose my shipping method... cheapest was $36.81 USD.  Brought my cart total to $49.80 USD ($68 CAD)... haha, no thanks.

Doesn't make any sense... these look like they'd slip into an envelope, no?  Should be $3 or $5 or $10 max.

And their "find a dealer" doesn't seem to be able to find any in Canada?

Oh well, lots of good DIY options in the comments.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 1 week ago
0

They do come in a box but certainly a different packaging choice could make an envelope an option.

Almost every shop in North America can get you Lizardskins products on their next order though, so if you do want to try them your local can probably get you sorted.

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IslandLife
IslandLife
3 months, 1 week ago
0

Thanks, will check with my locals!

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AlanB
AlanB
3 months, 1 week ago
0

In a different century I had neoprene brake lever covers that were just tubes of neoprene that you slipped over the levers. My fingers loved them on every wet, cold, wintry ride. They were awesome!

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COWolfe
COWolfe
3 months, 1 week ago
0

I've been using Miles Wide Sticky Fingers for years. A bit thick, but great insulation and durability. I've also used self fusing silicone tape to wrap levers, with that you can make it the thickness you want, also very durable.

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