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Review: ESI MTB Grips

Theresia 12. September 2017

It took some time to find the right grips, but when I came across ESI it was love at first touch. Read on for my review.

Often, the importance of finding the right grips is underestimated. However, the perfect pair can prevent hand, wrist and underarm pain. Choosing which ones is based on your personal preferences and what type of riding you do. After searching and searching, I eventually came across my now favourite brand, ESI grips.

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Specifications

ESI Extra Chunky ESI Chunky ESI Racer's Edge
Application MTB MTB MTB
Material Silicone Silicone Silicone
Length 130 mm 130 mm 130 mm
Outer Diameter 34 mm 32 mm 30 mm
Weight 80 g 60 g 50 g

How they feel

The ESI grips listed above all have a round profile over the entire length. Because I am constantly changing my hand position during a Cross Country race, ergonomic grips aren’t an option. I need grips like the ESIs that will form themselves to my hands as I turn my wrist forward on the downhill and back when riding up.

All of ESI’s grips are made of silicone which dampens handlebar vibrations well. Because the silicone forms to my hand’s position, they prevent any pain in my hands or arms. They are also available in various sizes. The Extra Chunky model is made for large hands, the Chunky for medium and the Racer’s Edge for smaller hands like mine.

Made of silicone, the ESI grips are super comfortable.

Made of silicone, the ESI grips are super comfortable.

The bar end plugs do get a little beat up, but they are easy to replace.

The bar end plugs do get a little beat up, but they are easy to replace.

Mounting

Before installing the ESI grips, the handlebars need to be cleaned and the end caps pressed in. After, both the handlebars and the inside of the grip need to be sprayed with window cleaner. Once pulled onto the handlebars, they need to dry for 24 hours. An air compressor can also help get the grips onto the bars. One of the cool things about the ESIs is the fact that they do not require a clamp. This is due to the way silicone forms itself to the handlebars. They can be difficult to install, but they also never slip.

Racing with the grips really puts them to the test.

Racing with the grips really puts them to the test.

Looks

The grips are available in 10 different colours: black, pink, aqua, blue, grey, green, orange, red, white and yellow. This allows any rider to find the right colour to match any bike. I recommend cleaning them often as well, to keep dirt and mud from cramping the bike’s style.

No matter how muddy, the ESIs never slipped.

No matter how muddy, the ESIs never slipped.

Technical descents are no match for the grip of the silicone ESIs.

Technical descents are no match for the grip of the silicone ESIs.

Taking jumps with the ESI grips is never a problem.

Taking jumps with the ESI grips is never a problem.

Training and racing

After injuring my hand last year, finding the right set of grips was important to prevent any pain. ESI’s soft and damping qualities made them perfect for spending some serious time in the saddle. However, they are not too soft and provide a great amount of support as well. With or without gloves, they give me the right amount of grip and when it’s wet, they preform unfazed. I’ve ridden in some muddy races this year and the ESI grips never slipped, even on the roughest downhill portions of the track.

Durability

The only negative thing to say about these grips, has to do with their durability. When not wearing gloves, sweat and friction tend to wear them down quickly. However, with the amount of riding I do, this is no surprise. The bar end caps also get beat up quickly, but they are available at a good price so exchanging them isn’t a problem.

 

Final Thoughts

I believe that ESI grips are truly the best for Cross Country riding. Silicone is the ideal material to form to the hand’s shape and maintain grip in all conditions. The colours also give anyone an array of options and I can only recommend giving them a try.