Shorex, a grip and bar tape brand with a strong following in Europe, has made a push into the U.S. market. They offer a variety of grip configurations and materials which include ergonomic shapes and cork construction, but their main focus is on grips and tape made with silicone material. Shorex praises silicone's durability, shock absorption and water resistance. We received a box of their Streamlined Lock-on grips to check out, as they're applicable to the riding of most Vital MTBers.

If you want a specific grip color to match your build, you're all set with Shorex. Opening the box was like opening a pack of Skittles with a complete rainbow assortment of color choices, including grey, black and white. Color options aside, the most noticeable feature of the grips is their smooth, patternless appearance. Additionally, it's quickly apparent with the first grab of the grips that the Shorex Streamlined Lock-ons are a bigger diameter than what we're used to running.

Shorex Silicone Grip Highlights

  • Full grip length: 5 inches
  • Grip material length: 4.5 inches
  • Weight: 5.125 ounces
  • Grip material: 100% silicone - Temperature rated for -50 C to 230 C. UV resistant. Doesn't react with oxygen. Grips won't become sticky or break down. Shorex's unique silicone mixture allows the grips and bar tape to be shock-absorbing, more tacky, and have memory ability. They will not absorb water and the hydrophobic property allows the grips to dry faster.
  • Lock-on material: Aluminum, dual-collar with 3mm allen bolts
  • Bar plugs included
  • Price: $27.99

Compare: Bontrager Race Lite, Shorex Streamlined Lock-on, Sensus Disisdaboss

We had some Bontrager Race Lite and Sensus Disisdaboss lock-on grips in the garage for some comparison. The diameter of the Shorex matches the diameter of the lock-on collar, where the Bontrager and Sensus grips are both thinner with a flanged design mating to the ring. The actual, usable grip zone of the Shorex is on par with the Bontrager while the Sensus runs long.

Mounting the grips to the bars was easy and the 3mm allen bolt (vs. 2.5mm of the Bontrager and Sensus) was appreciated, making the grip-tightening dance feel a lot less precarious. They took a bit of snugging to keep them from spinning, but they are secure and no bolts were stripped in the making of this First Look feature. The included bar end plugs popped in easily, but visually, they're a bit bold for our taste.

The initial thought was that these grips are obviously bigger in diameter than we would choose off the shelf and the silicone material feels definitely different than the normal "rubber" grips we usually ride. There's a "memory foam" feeling to them and if you press or grip a certain spot long enough, you'll see an impression that slowly disappears. With that said, the foam seems to "ramp up" with a soft, easy initial squish that gets firmer through the travel. Can a grip have travel? That soft initial squeeze takes a bit of the sting out of the large diameter we're not used to. The grips weren't packed out and rigid, just a bit more molded to our hands and that was in only in our garage. We're interested to see how the grips conform during a trail ride.

Note the finger impressions on the bottom of the grip. These are just from grabbing and gripping before our first ride. The *memory foam* aspect of the silicone material is an interesting feature.

The lack of pattern in the grips is still visually tough for us to get over. The malleability and memory of the foam, however, indicates our impressed hand prints may provide the stability of a traditional grip pattern once riding is underway. The claimed quick-drying and easy-cleaning properties of the silicone material excite us, too. When we ride without gloves (which is often) our mitts can get sweaty and dirty on a hot, summer day.

There's always an exciting feeling when trying a product you'd probably not choose off the shelf. Grips, while a small, inexpensive product, can have a profound impact on your ride. If you're a fan of big grips or have experience and fondness for silicone road tape and products, these should be immediately considered. If you're on the fence, stay tuned as we'll get some ride time on the Shorex lock-ons and report our findings soon.

For more information on Shorex silicone lock-on grips, visit www.shorexgrips.com.

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