I recently reviewed Redshift’s Kitchen Sink Bar and in the same box was a set of their drop bar specific Top and Top grips for me to try.
The Idea of these grips is to combat numbness, hand pain and trail/road buzz. Made of kratoni rubber the Top grip fits under your bar tape on the top (no surprise there!) of the bars and the Drop grips fits over the end of the dropped park and butts up to the tape. The Top grip is secured to the bar with a sticky pad and tape and the Drop grip has an alloy collar with a retaining bolt to stop it sliding off.
Installation is fiddly there’s no denying it but nothing the home bike enthusiast couldn’t cope with and there are very detailed instructions and sticky pads and positioning tape in the box. You will need to replace your standard length bar tape too though as the extra volume of the Top Grip takes a lot of wrapping. Redshift also sell a “really long bar tape” set though to solve that problem. you need to position the Top grip where you want it first and I’d recommend going for a gentle ride to check this first BEFORE putting the bar tape on as once set the position will be nigh on impossible to move without removing the bar tape you took ages getting just right, ask me how i know that!?
I had to trim the Top grip slightly to get it where I wanted it, this is easily done with sharp scissors. the Drop grip works like a normal flat bar grip but test fit first and mark your bar where you want your bar tape to start (the kitchen sink bar has these marks already, very handy!) as only the very tip engages with it. You can adjust the angle easily and then tighten up the bolt to secure the grip to the bar.
The ride, Now I will come clean here and say from the outset that i do not like a thick bar, I know a lot of riders double wrap their bars for comfort but that has never worked for me. I just like a slightly squidgy bar tape to be comfy. With this in mind I was quite reluctant to add these grips to the kitchen Sink bar but the only way to test these properly is to ride them. I rode the bars for two weeks on long and short rides, over all the usual terrain near home and too and from work to get a good back round knowledge of how they feel and if they made any difference. After that i removed them and ran the bar as a standard bar to compare the two set ups. With the grips fitted i found cruising along on the tops more comfortable as I could lean my palm on the enlarged part and this definitely made a difference to fatigue after a long ride as my hands didn’t ache where they usually did. The Drops didn’t really work for me as rightly or wrongly I just don’t hold the drops where the grip sits, I tend to use the rounded part of the loop as I can hook my thumb and fingers around it while reaching for the brake lever when riding technical trails. I climb using my hand in a similar position for power and so again hardly touched that Drop grip.
Are these grips for you? if you like a thicker bar and suffer with hand ache and fatigue I’d recommend giving the Top grip a try as it does work towards giving extra comfort on the bike. if you use the very end of the drop a lot and i know riders that do spend more time on the very ends them the Drop grips could be a solution to long ride comfort and increased grip over rough terrain. The Cruise control Top and Drop grips will also work with other drop bars so you can fit them to your current bars and don’t need to buy the kitchen Sink bar too, although they are great bars.
You can find more info on the Top and Drop grips from Redshift sports here
As with all my tests, this is a real world review. I’m not sponsored and I’m just an average rider like most of you reading this. companies sometimes send me things to test but i always let them know it will be an honest review good or bad