6 min read
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How many of us have got tingly or numb fingers when riding a bike?
In our office, at least a third of us have experienced this at some stage or another. Of course you could seek out the very popular Redshift Sports Shockstop Stem, but if you want a low-cost solution for mountain biking, then you would be pushed to find something else other than the TMR Imprint Grip - made in the UK!
TMR Imprint Bike Grips are a fave amongst riders locally in Oxford, UK, but we wanted to get an independent review from a customer, through our Ambassador Program.
Mark Hester, was kind enough to apply, we sent him the TMR Imprint Grips for review, and here are his thoughts - all his own words.
But first, if you want to find out more about what TMR says official about the Imprint Bike Grips - check out this video:
"We are surprised at just how good these grips feel and how well they work. We were skeptical but these genuinely have a tremendous impact on how you feel riding a bike. It’s a no brainer for us, these are keepers." - RIDE.IO
The TMR Imprint Grips come packaged in a well-designed cardboard box with minimal additional packaging. Inside there are two grips, two plastic meshes for imprinting the grips, a small plastic bag with two socket head screws, two plastic end caps and some instructions on a single piece of card.
The box has a QR code on the back that takes you straight to the website where there is more information about the grips including a video that shows you how to mould them. In retrospect I wish I’d taken the time to watch the video because even though the printed instructions are nice and clear it would have been much easier to figure out how to mould and fit the grips from the video.
It’s great to see on the side of the box that these grips are “Made in the UK”.
The printed instructions for moulding the grips are clear with minimal text and lots of graphics. They’ve broken the process down into 8 simple steps which does not seem overwhelming and was simple to follow.
It took me a couple of go’s reading the instructions to understand that the purpose of the plastic mesh is to create a knurled pattern when you mould the grips. I wasn’t sure whether this pattern is optional or required in order to make the grips work properly but Step 2 does say the use of the mesh is recommended. It might not be to everyone’s taste but I decided to use the mesh to create the imprint pattern to see what it comes out like.
The actual moulding process is very simple. First you fit the mesh around the grip and then submerge it in a glass of boiling water for 2 minutes. Then you cool it off slightly in cold water for a few seconds and finally push it onto the handlebar and grip it firmly to mould the rubber to your hand.
One thing I nearly missed was the tip they give you to align the logo on the metal band so that it faces towards you. It would be annoying to mould the grip with the logo in a random position and then realise afterwards that you are stuck with this.
Once the grip has been shaped you dip it into cold water to cool the rubber down and set the shape.
The process of moulding the grip was simple but I found that I gripped the rubber more tightly with my right hand so the left grip had less shape to it. In the end I decided to re-mould the left grip (see below).
The only bit of the process that was a bit tricky was trying to get an even pattern using the mesh from one end of the grip to the other. The only way to do this is to try and press the ends of the mesh into the rubber using the hand that was not squeezing the grip. This is pretty awkward especially underneath the grip. I wasn’t very pleased with the result because the pattern faded out towards the end of the grip in an uneven way.
Fitting the grip was satisfyingly simple requiring just one screw and a 3mm allen key (not included). I actually like the fact that they haven’t included an allen key because anyone fitting new grips to their bike is going to have a set of basic tools for their bike. Other grips I have bought in the past come with an allen key which invariably ends up in a random box with all the others left over from Ikea furniture builds! This always feels wasteful and you know it will have been added to the cost of the product.
The grip is very well designed and manufactured so that the metal fixing band and solid plastic inner part fit easily over the handlebar and can be tightened with the screw to give a solid result.
The plastic end cap snaps on easily and in a way that gave me confidence it would not pop off in use.
One really nice detail is that they have provided a small slot in the end cap so that you can slide a flat-head screwdriver into it and pop the cap off without damaging it. This feature is often missing from other grips I have used which means end caps get damaged if you need to re-fit them for any reason.
As mentioned above the left grip that I moulded first needed re-moulding because I didn’t squeeze it firmly enough first time. I was a bit concerned that the pattern might not re-form properly and that there might be a messy combination of the old and new imprint.
The process was just as simple as first time around and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the pattern was perfect and the shape was much better on the second attempt. The only thing I noticed was that the plastic mesh had become a bit loose at one end so I don’t know how many attempts I could get away with before the mesh no longer works.
Not everyone is a fan of ergonomic grips and I have usually avoided them because they require your hand to be in a particular position all the time. I quite like to be able to shift my hand slightly on the grip whilst riding. However, what I really like about these grips is that you can choose how much shape you want to put into the grips. The images on their website show highly shaped grips which I think I might find a bit too restrictive over time. The level to which I formed the grips provided a really comfortable ride and I felt like I had a more secure grip than usual. But I can still move my hand around a bit without feeling any sharp ridges under my hands.
In the past I have avoided ergonomic grips because the ones on the market have never quite fitted my hands comfortably. The Imprint Grips allowed me to very easily customise the grips to suit me. The moulding process was very easy and is familiar to me from other products like mouthguards.
The end result was excellent and I feel that I now have grips that are more comfortable and secure than my previous ones.
Thanks very much Mark for testing the TMR Imprint Grips and putting them through the installation and moulding experience.
If you are interested in trying out the grips, perhaps you want:
Then simply click the link below to purchase:
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Caroline is our queen ambassador, organising all the free gifts that ambassadors receive in exchange for reviews. Caroline's passion is collecting all those half marathon medals (and annoyingly showing them off to us in the office!)