Here’s a nice easy one, everyone likes grips, everybody rides with grips, if you don’t you’re some kind of self-hating, hand abusing masochist. Hell, even I moved away from riding road bike tape! For the first 10 months of winter in Britain, grips are simply the way we prevent our fingers being amputated due to frostbite. For the rest of the year they stop our sweaty, slimey, kebab and cider lathered hands from slipping a bar and landing on to our fragile arses with a familiar thud. On a serious note, grips are the only part of your bike that ever touches your bare skin (well, you hope anyway…) so it is beneficial to have a set that suit you personally.
This time around we’ve got a panel comprised of pegless guy (with a tear in his eye) Greg Pearson and Brighton BMX Co owner Ben Stringer as well as my salty self discussing the industry’s current top 5 bar buffers.
And before we start, no, there’s no ODI Longnecks listed here, mainly because despite being one of the greatest and oldest BMX grips available today, it’s spawned a million douchebags, from race to flatland, who insist upon declaring that they ride ‘Longnecks, and only Longnecks’, for 15 years on the trot, and that they buy them for their wheelbarrow, the broom, the track pump at work, the beers in the fridge, even Granny’s fucking wheelchair… We get it! Longnecks are good, and they’ll continue to do just fine outside of this list.
Greg Pearson: Best grips I’ve ever owned. Super comfy but really durable and forgiving because of their structure. They have a ribbed design like most but it’s supported within sections so bits don’t fall apart or rip off like on a traditional mushroom grip. I like the mini flanges on them too, I normally don’t like flanges.
Stranger Eric Lichtenberger
Ben Stringer: Yeah the stranger Eric L grips are rad. Super long and thin. The pattern looks like it’ll be whack but actually it’s really grippy. In fact the other stranger grips, the Quan, are the same. They ride almost exactly the opposite of what you think they will.
I never thought a Stranger part would end up on one of my Top 5’s but hey, we’re all impartial here and if something’s good, we’ll ride it. The Eric L’s have a consistent texture, not much to get your fingers dug into like the next grip on our list but I can definitely see myself twisting up into a tabletop with these in my hands as a winter grip.
Sunday Garrett Reeves
BS: I’m a big fan of the Sunday Garrett Reeves grips. The gradual change in the thickness of the ribs is a cool touch. And as they say, ribbed, for your pleasure.
Or hers, I can never remember…
When I put these grips on my bike a few months back I kinda felt like I turned my bars into a samurai sword. I couldn’t stop doing long carving wallrides, fastplants, putting my hand down going over spines like a fucking ninja… Sometimes a part doesn’t even need to be that good, it just needs to convince me that I am Garrett Reeves. These just stopped being made so snap up the remaining ones while you can!
BS: I used to be quite into the Proper Stebsons. They have a super thin profile but gripped like that of a bigger diameter grip because the ribs are thinner and shark fin shaped to create a bigger surface area.
Not to be confused with their Team grips, the Stebson is a new take on the mushroom grip, and not just some cheap ODI knock-off as you’d be forgiven for thinking at a brief glance. The ribs are ‘shark-finned’ with finer and pointed ribs rather than rounded ones like on a traditional mushroom grip, this apparently allows it to be softer and thinner without it falling to bits in your hand like some grips do.
Animal Edwin Delarosa
GP: Honorable mention to Longnecks (dammit Greg…)
BS: Edwins. Straight up one of the best grips to ever grace us. Aside from the short length, but I guess a boil and stretch could remedy that. Otherwise the balance of comfort to durability is spot on.
There was no contest. You already knew the winner before you even saw the thumbnail on BMXUnion’s Facebook or wherever, didn’t you? We all did. You don’t get better than Edwin Delarosa’s signature grips from Animal and seeing as they’re still around, they definitely make the list. I can still feel my first pair now, they feel great straight out of the packet right until you can put them off your bars again with your little finger.