Review by Justin Schroth and Joel Harwood // Photos by Justin Schroth
Lizard Skins recently applied their DuraSoft Polymer (DSP) technology to their mountain bike line, allowing them to create a grip that does not require an inner plastic sleeve or lock-rings. The result is a grip that is super lightweight with a soft feel and thin profile. Previously the DSP material was used to make bar tape for road bikes, touting improved durability, increased shock absorption and superior grip in all conditions. Curious to see how the DSP grip stacks up against a sea of other options, we mounted a few pairs and hit the trail.
DSP Grip Highlights
- DSP (DuraSoft Polymer) material
- Available in 8 colors (black, white, blue, red, pink, green, yellow, and orange)
- Available in two thicknesses (30.3mm and 32.3mm installed diameter)
- 130mm in length
- Includes end plugs and double-sided Feather-Lite Lock Tape
- Total weight: 27 and 30 grams for 30.3 and 32.3mm diameters
- MSRP: $30
Out of the box, the first thing you'll notice is how light the grips are, coming in at nearly 1/3 of the weight of most lock-ons. Installation involves the simple process of cleaning your handlebar, applying the provided double-sided tape, spraying both the tape and inside of the grips with glass cleaner, and twisting on the grips into position and letting them dry. Here's a video overview of the process:
The DSP grips use a foam base layer to absorb vibrations, and the DuraSoft Polymer surrounds the outside area where your hands grasp the grips.
On The Trail
For someone with smaller hands, the thin profile of the 30.3mm grip proved to be a welcome comfort, even on long cross-country rides without any arm pump or hand fatigue. The thicker 32.3mm grip would likely suit those with large hands well.
Without a layer of leather and padding between palm and grip, gloveless riders might be a little pickier. After a couple of months of riding these grips, we’re happy to report that they also suited bare hands just fine.
This grip has three traits that make them worthy. First, the absence of lock-rings on the outer edge offers more comfort to those who may hold the edge of the bar, or even overlap onto the palm slightly. Second, the lock tape technology results in a palm friendly, smooth surface with no pressure points to irritate bare skin. Lastly, regardless of the smooth surface these grips seem to remain sticky with a surprisingly amount of traction whether they are wet or dry. No worries about having to hold on too tight while riding in the wet or when your palms perspire.
Although the method of using double-sided tape to install grips seemed quite strange, they surprisingly never twisted, even after a few rocky "death grip" East Coast downhill sections and a wide variety of weather in British Columbia.
Things That Could Be Improved
The installation process will leave most scratching their heads on how to remove them, especially for those who want to swap grips between bikes or need to remove grips to install or remove brake levers and shifters. It's easy to see that removal will be much tougher than simply loosening lock-on clamps, and at best will require an air compressor, more glass cleaner, and a new set of Lock Tape to remount them afterwards. For this reason it would be nice to have a few extra pieces of Lock Tape included with the grips. Worst case, seeing as they didn’t move at all while riding, you may need to use a utility knife for removal which could be tricky with carbon bars.
In addition, one of four end caps on our two pairs of test grips fell out seemingly easier than normal after buzzing a tree through a tight section.
Long Term Durability
With black gloves the grips started to darken slightly after only a handful of rides. It didn't affect the feel or grip and is only a minor cosmetic concern.
What's The Bottom Line?
The thin diameter, grip, and comfort with or without gloves make the Lizard Skins DSP Grips very enjoyable. The only downside is the inability to quickly remove them, and a cost that's equivalent to many lock-on alternatives. If you are looking for a lighter set of grips with a bit of squish and a thinner feel than anything else on the market, then the Lizard Skins DSP Grips might be right up your alley.
Visit www.lizardskins.com for more details.
About The Reviewers
Justin Schroth has been riding mountain bikes for over 15 years, experiencing first hand the evolution of the industry from thumb shifters and MCU cartridge forks to carbon fiber frames and single-ring all mountain bikes. As an East Coast rider, he loves trails with a combination of jumps, technical downhills, and the occasional loose corner for some foot out action. With a Mechanical Engineering degree, Justin's instinct is to always consider how it works over how it looks. After many years of racing the Northeast Norba and Collegiate series, Justin hung up the race plate and his diploma to go behind the camera at Lucent Productions, creating mountain bike video content for several clients such as Highland Mountain Bike Park.
Joel Harwood has been playing in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia for the last 8 years. He spends his summer months coaching DH race groms in the Whistler Bike Park, and guiding XC riders all over BC. He dabbles in all types of racing, but is happiest while blasting his trail bike down trails that include rock slabs, natural doubles, and west coast tech. On the big bike he tends to look for little transitions and manuals that allow him to keep things pointed downhill, rather than swapping from line to line. Attention to detail, time in the saddle, and an aggressive riding style make Joel a rider that demands the most from his products. Joel's ramblings can also be found at Straightshot.