Words by Seve Mustone & Drew Rohde
Photos By Seve Mustone
As mountain bikers, we often think of the most expensive pieces of equipment as those that will make the biggest difference on our rides. For that reason, we overlook our grips and throw whatever chewed up, three season old pieces of rubber we have laying around on our handlebars. The truth is that different diameters, designs, and rubber compounds can have profound effects on your overall ride experience. Deity definitely put a lot of thought into their design for the Knuckledusters, and it has led to a pretty awesome product.
The Knuckledusters have an outer diameter of 32mm, making them fairly large. For reference, ESI’s Chunky Grips have the same outer diameter. As soon as you wrap your hand around these grips you will notice the slightly larger diameter.
The grips blend several different design elemets to give you one unique feel and visual experience. The most inboard section of the grip features mushroom ribbing, which Deity claims helps reduce vibration. Moving out from there you’ll find a V-channel of chevron ribs that feel very nice in the palm of your hand. Underneath the grip, where your fingers wrap, you’ll find a recessed half-waffle section. These gridded lines help give traction when pulling or leaning off the back of the bike, however they were a feature not all testers loved.
Another design feature we really like about the Knuckledusters is the single bolt lock-ring design. By just using an inner lock-ring the rubber extends all the way to the end of the grip, giving your palm the most real estate possible and as someone who rides with their palm on the end of the grip, I appreciate the damping qualities of rubber way more than metal. Just make sure you properly push and tap the grip all the way onto the bar to ensure it’s bottomed out all the way. Deity uses a tapered internal sleeve to secure the grips with only one lock-ring so it’s vital to follow this step.
Much like tires, compound is very important when it comes to keep your hands on the controls. The Knuckledusters usa a TRC compound and are very tacky. They can easily be used with or without gloves. While one of the testers liked that added traction and looser grip the half-waffle pattern offered him, I didn’t love the feel. While it wasn’t a huge issue or something that affected my ride, it was something I felt and thought about from time to time. The feel takes a little getting used to and riders used to having a grip with uniform texture all the way around might find themselves in the same situation.
Something that all testers did agree on however was the larger diameter of the grip. Larger grip diameters are good for riders with bigger hands, understandably, but the larger area also spreads pressure out around your palm and fingers. This can mean less grip fatigue for some riders. As someone who personally struggles with hand pain and finger fatigue after long days in the park, I’m always looking for ways to reduce arm pump and white knuckle grip grabbing. Increasing your grip diameter is something worth looking into if you haven’t tried it yet. I found the Knuckleduster grips helped reduce my pain, even though I have relatively small hands.
Overall our testers give these grips two paws up, although they’re probably not for everyone. The single lock-ring improves comfort in our opinion but it does mean the end of the grip gets chewed up and beaten down a bit more than a hard capped end with a metal ring. Also, some riders may not like the mixed texture and grid pattern on the backside of the grip. One rider loved the design, and I was 50/50 on it. Also some riders may not love the oversized grip in their hands.
If you are looking for a bit more girth to your grip, want a durable and tacky rubber and something that offers a lot of traction for your mits, then check the Knuckledusters out. They’re definitely one of our favorite grips on the market and something we’ll continue to use on plenty more test bikes in the future.