Help or Hype?
Words & Photos by Taylor Haenny
RevGrips – what does that name mean to you? I’m sure by now you have all tried some accessory that magically reduces fatigue and improves performance. Some products out there actually have some perceivable benefits, while others leave you wondering what you spent all that money on. Would these gimmicky RevGrips be all they claim or just another marketing masterpiece? After spending quite a bit of time riding a few different models, I hope to shed some light on the product and the problem it sets out to address.
I stumbled upon RevGrips after a weekend bike park trip was shortened, due to unbearable hand fatigue. Like many others, I discovered braking bumps, and lapping rock gardens can really punish the joints and muscles in the hands. I had been riding for a while, but for some reason this particular weekend just did me in.
I was hesitant due to the expensive price tag (back then they were over $100) so I avoided buying some. I tried swapping gloves, changed grips, alternated cockpit setups, however I was still suffering pain.
The first piece of the puzzle was a pair of Spike Spank Vibrocore bars that I received as a birthday present. The extra damping was extremely helpful for chatter, however they didn’t totally alleviate my discomfort.
Inspired by the performance of the Vibrocore bars, I put my skepticism aside and bought a pair of Race Series grips. Right out of the box I was impressed with the design and the quality of the clamps. The grip setup took longer than I expected, but once you get the hang of how they work, setup is a breeze.
I was unsure and hesitant with how much the grips moved, hence their name REV-grips, but I was happy to find out that while riding it was virtually unnoticeable. I can’t say that all of my fatigue went away, however I have not shortened a bike park day since.
“So Revgrips are just for someone with hand fatigue right?”…Wrong!
Nearly a year later, I took a quick trip to Sedona, AZ. I had badly worn down my grips and I didn’t have time to get a new pair of sleeves. Without the abundance of braking bumps, I figured that Ruffians would suffice for the weekend. This is when I discovered the real secret weapon of the Revgrips system.
Sedona is notoriously rough, but that’s not what I noticed first. It felt like my reaction time had slowed, and I was not able to handle the bike correctly. Every small bump seemed to throw my bike in a different direction, which left me perplexed. Was I just having an off weekend or were the grips also benefiting my bike handling skills? After I returned home I ordered another set of grip sleeves and headed out to Laguna to test my hypothesis. To my surprise the results were staggering.
With my aggressive riding style, the bike felt more under control and this led to higher speeds and a much more confident ride. In my experience the saying “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone” couldn’t be closer to the truth.
Saying I put these grips to the test is probably an understatement. The set of Pro Series grips shown here have lasted me well over five months. During this time period I rode over 1,200 miles ranging from bike park to singletrack.
Although they aren’t adjustable like their Pro Series brethren, their shock absorbing inserts land in the medium-soft range and are great for someone who doesn’t want to muck around with loads of tuning options. The Race Series comes in small (31mm), medium (32.5mm), large (34mm), as well as a 31mm half waffle that feels more like a medium. They are slightly heavier and do not come in customizable color combinations. Alloy handlebar plugs are included which are easily tightened and look better than any plug I’ve ever seen. But with replacement grip sleeves costing only $24.95 these are a great place to start.
Maximum adjustability, lighter weight, and color choices make the Pro Series my favorite option. A slightly different shock absorbing insert is used that, when paired with the tuning washers, allows for a customized ride. You can run them without washers to keep the grips stiff, or add two washers to soften them up and turn them into a Cadillac.
The Pro Series comes in small, medium, large, and waffle just like the Race Series but with five different color options to choose from. The clamps on the Pro Series are machined to save weight and offered in eight different color options.
The only casualties were a tuning washer, and a single shock absorbing insert. They provide you with extras so I didn’t even have to purchase an additional tuning kit.
Add-Ons / Replacements
Once a rider purchases either one of the grip systems above, they can replace upgrade or test other combinations as they see fit. RevGrips website has many “a la cart” options, and tuning bundles to ensure you don’t have to buy a whole new kit each time you need new grips.
Medium vs Half-Waffle
After trying all of the options I finally settled on the half waffle grip option. The smaller traction on top perfectly complements the waffle on the bottom. Although it features the smaller diameter (31mm) it feels more like the medium size.
Grip choice is incredibly personal, and many readers may not see any need to change up the grips they are already using. That being said, if you’re suffering from arm pump or hand pain, these could easily be the missing link in your setup. They reduce hand fatigue as advertised, and provide added confidence while charging through especially rough terrain.
The Race Series option is a no-brainer for someone who wants to test the waters, throw the grips on and shred without worrying about options. If you like to tune, the Pro Series gives enough options to keep you busy and tweaking while actually making your ride more enjoyable. The initial investment is a bit spendy but replacement grips sleeves are super affordable, and the new waffle grips are a game changer and well worth the money I’ve spent on them.
Race Series ($59.95)
Pro Series ($89.95)