Review by Johan Hjord // Photos by Johan Hjord and Tal Rozow
A grip may seem like a simple component, but get this one just a bit wrong and it can seriously mess with your ride. The grip needs to be comfortable, grippy, and not slip on the bars. Furthermore, it needs to be adapted to each riders hand size and preference with regards to grip thickness. Finally, it’s an obvious place to add a touch of bling to your bike, so a good looking grip is never a bad thing either. With these points in mind, we set out to see how Loaded Precision’s latest offering handles.
Loaded AmXc Pistol Grip Highlights
- Grip Length: 130mm
- Diameter: 29.5mm
- Lock-Rings: CnC Machined T6-7075 Al
- End Cap: Integrated T6-7075 Aluminum
- Colors: Black, Blue, Gold, Green, Red
- Weight: 118 grams
- Rubber: Hydrophobic & Oleophobic Rubber
- Hardware: Stainless Steel M3 (3mm)
- MSRP: US $29.99
Pulling the Pistol grips out of the packaging, you’re met with a general impression of quality. You’re also met by a slightly less common design, both in terms of appearance and function. This is a relatively thick grip, with pronounced blocks all along the grip surface. If you are used to this type of grip you’ll feel at home immediately, if not, you might be slightly taken aback at first. The machining of the all-aluminum lockrings and assorted hardware appeared first-class, and the compound chosen for the grip itself solid and tacky.
Closer inspection revealed a somewhat unique mounting system. The grip features lockrings at both ends, which hold onto tabs that protrude from the actual grip part. The lockrings ALSO grab onto the aluminum end-cap via a rounded tab on the latter, creating a 3-part system that locks itself in place on the bars when you tighten it down (there is a simple insert that performs the same function on the inner lockring, since there is no end-cap on that side). It would appear that this multi-part system helps apply pressure to both sides of the rubber tabs more evenly, instead of just pressing them against the bar. Incidentally, Loaded used 3mm hex bolts for the lockrings, which is a nice touch – they feel a lot more solid and less prone to stripping when you work on them, compared to the 2- or 2.5-mm bolts more commonly found on many other grips.
Installing the grips on the bars proved to be easy and straightforward, the inner diameter of the grips matching the handlebars perfectly, creating a snug and secure fit. Time to tighten down the bolts and go riding.
On The Trail
Moving out, we immediately noticed how solid the grips felt. There is absolutely no play to be detected, not in the bar/grip interface, nor within the grip itself. The grip is roomy, and as mentioned before, quite thick. The big blocks on the grip surface had us worried about comfort at first, but that proved to be non-founded as the grip feels quite natural in the hand, especially if you ride with gloves. We did find that orienting the grip in a particular way helped align each row of blocks with the shape of the hand, but that could be the OCD talking.
The compound used actually needs to wear in before it delivers its best performance. When the grips are brand new, there is a shiny coating on the compound which is slightly less grippy than we expected after the parking lot test – but it wears off fairly quickly leaving the grips as sticky as we could ever want. The initial feeling of solidity persisted throughout the test, and we became completely used to the blocky grip surface as well. The grips inspire confidence and stay comfortable on long rides, including when they get dirty or wet. The sharp edges of the blocks on the grip surface help provide traction even if you like taking long cold mudbaths with your trusty steed.
Things That Could Be Improved
There is very little to complain about on the AmXc Pistol grips. At the end of the day, grips are a very personal choice, and evaluating a grip typically involves equal parts objective observation and subjective appreciation of several aspects ranging from performance to feel. The AmXc Pistol grip is very well made and this is reflected in its performance. The thickness of the grip and the design of the grip surface won’t be to every rider’s liking, and in this aspect, Loaded would do well to include a few more options in their catalogue (thickness, type of surface, etc). They do offer the AmXc “NoSlip Grips” which feature the same locking hardware with a different, smoother grip area design and a different compound, but this still remains on the thicker side of the scale.
Long Term Durability
The AmXc Pistol grip appears to age very well. After a couple of months of fairly solid abuse, there is not much wear and tear to report. The compound’s grip level has actually improved with time, and there are no rips or major cuts to report. There is some scuffing on the end-caps which is to be expected on such an exposed part, but both the graphics and the anodized finish appear solid. In terms of function, the grips still feel like new, absolutely free of any play. While it is a little bit early to conclusively state that these last longer than many other grips on the market, we certainly feel that they are headed in that direction.
What’s The Bottom Line?
The AmXc Pistol grip mixes performance and good looks in equal parts. The innovative clamp design and the apparent care applied to producing this grip have resulted in a very solid and dependable component. Pricing-wise, it comes in at a bit of a premium, but thankfully, it provides the performance to match. Whilst the thickness and design of the grip surface may not be to every rider’s liking, if you are looking for a bit extra comfort or simply have bigger hands, the AmXc Pistol grip should definitely make your short list.
More information at: Loaded Precision Inc.
About The Reviewer
Johan Hjord loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 200-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.