Earlier this week I posted the following picture and asked readers to send us an email with their guess of what the product is -
We received a large volume of guesses, including . . .
1. They are pads. You stuff your clothing and fill your pockets with them and when you fall you bounce and avoid all injuries.
2. Bar End Plugs
3. They are shock absorbers for a particular type of bike seat. The different sizes and colors represent a different "firmness" according to the riders needs.
4. Teflon Bearings
5. Really tiny tires
6. Customizable Handlebar Grips (or a variation of this)
7. Seat post vibration attenuators. They fit inside a seat post and help take the "buzz" out of it.
8. I reckon they're for sliding on the loop bit of a "ULock" to stop them making that clanking noise they make.
The vast majority guessed correctly and many had seen the actual product product page and campaign. The correct answer is 6. Spurcycle sought funding for their new product, GripRings, via Kickstarter and achieved their goal. Here is another picture with some added items that came with the rings, stickers to go over the bars (with instructions) and bar end plugs.
And here is a close up of the rings installed on one side of my bars.
I left the original grip on the other side and plan on riding for a while with both to compare. You can already see that as far as aesthetics are concerned, the rings make my bike even more of a mismatched colored eye sore . . . which is truly awesome!
So far the grips have 100% satisfied me, with only one minor negative note that came from my wife. First the good . . .
1. Super easy to install. The rings stretch easily and the only thing I had to do because of the size of the bar end plugs was slather a little grease on them to fit them in. The Spurcycle folks have already noted that they will produce multiple sizes of plugs so the grease hack will not be necessary.
2. Soft but not too soft. The gray grip in the picture above is the standard grip that came with my bike, an older model of the Specialized Body Geometry grip. It's main feature is that is it contoured to fit your hand. This is nice and all, but I have not noticed a huge difference as compared to round grips, and the rubber is a bit hard. The GripRings on the other hand are soft, but not too soft. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being soft and 10 being hard, I would say the Specialized grips are a 9 and the Griprings are about a 5. They are kind of the Baby Bear's bed in the Goldlielocks story, just right.
3. Textured. The Griprings are textured which helps me keep my grip, even in the rain. It was actually nice that it rained the first day after I installed the GripRings. I let them get wet to see how they would perform and they were great, not slippery at all.
4. They don't slip around. The GripRings hold tight to the bar and don't rotate. I can't say the same for the Specialized grips, they consistently rotate and I have to reposition them on a consistent basis.
5. Customizable! Let's face it, most companies sell us things the way they want them to look. These allow you to design the color scheme.
As far as the negative, I did not pick the color of the GripRings, I just got what was sent to me, which is totally fine with me. When my wife saw them on my bike she said the white was the same color as PVC pipe and it looks like I just had white plastic over my bars. To me this is no big deal, but if you are picky about the million different shades of white, the color of white I was sent can resemble PVC pipe to some out there in the world.
One thing that relates to this that I will not know for a while is how well the grips maintain their original color. The grey grips that came with my bike are pretty dirty and it will be interesting to see how long the GripRings take to get dirty. Once they are dirty, it will be interesting to see how easy they are to clean. I assume I could just scrub them with dish soap but only time will tell.
More pictures and information on the GripRings can be found on their (successful) Kickstarter page and the Spurcycle website, including a cool grip builder page where you can specify the color combination you want.
Now for even more good news, we have a winner who will get their own GripRings to test. Those who sent emails were put into a random drawing and Noah Sulman is the winner. Noah, we will be contacting you for your mailing address. Noah will conduct his own review and we will post it here.
One final note, the GripRings are not for sale yet, however you can sign up on their website to receive a notification of when they will be available. Bike Hacks would love to post pictures of the installs people come up with, so keep us in mind down the line if you (wisely) decide to purchase some GripRings.