MXA TEAM TESTED: TROY LEE DESIGNS MOTOCROSS GRIPS

September 22, 2011
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WHAT IS IT? A brand-new motocross grip resulting from a collaboration between ODI and Troy Lee Designs.


WHAT’S IT COST? $12.95.


CONTACT? (800) 239-6566 or www.troyleedesigns.com.


WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with Troy Lee Designs’ grips.


(1) Original concept. Originally, ODI and Troy Lee Designs envisioned and tested a “fish-scale” grip that had a rubber pattern that would pop up and grab when twisted backward and lay down flat when twisted forward. ODI had already successfully implemented a type of fish-scale design in a mountain bike grip. Under scrutiny on the motocross track, however, testers wanted more traction in the rolling-forward motion. 


(2) Gripping pattern. As a carryover from the fish-scale design, these grips are designed to provide some directional grip as well. But instead of a fish-scale, the little pyramids are stair-stepped in sets of three, allowing the hand to slide more easily up the stairs than down. The entire pattern is slightly spiraled, supposedly to match the rider’s hand when he is in the attack position. The flange is more flexible and forgiving for the thumb at the base and more rigid at the top for support. These features are clever, but very difficult to feel.


(3) Feel. Most MXA test riders felt that the Troy Lee Designs grip was smaller in diameter than the average grip, and that would limit the grip to small-handed riders only. But, even some test riders with large hands appreciated the smaller diameter, because they could really wrap their fingers around it. The trade-off was less cushioning between the hands and handlebars. 


(4) Durability. The MXA wrecking crew has installed many grips that utilize thicker or sturdier material on the ends for resistance to crash damage that then just rip inside the thick spot on the first crash. On the Troy Lee grip, the thick spot isn’t confined to the extremity, but has a cone of extra material that travels inward down the grip. The cone shape seems to support the end better. Many grips with short, non-waffle patterns lose their biting edge and traction quickly. Troy Lee Designs’ medium-firm compound keeps traction longer than most short patterns, but not as long as waffles or tall pyramids. 


(5) Colors. The TLD grips are available in white, black, blue, fire red, fluorescent yellow, purple, green, gray and pink. The specific shades are color-matched to Troy Lee Designs’ gear.


(6) Makers. Troy Lee Designs’ pro racers served as the exclusive testers in developing these grips, which were made in the USA by ODI.


WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? We had two complaints. (1) We commend ODI and TLD for testing and canning unworthy prototypes, but we were really looking forward to trying the innovative fish-scale design. (2) Small-diameter grips have to sacrifice cushioning material, which means hands can take a beating through choppy sections. Consider padded, as opposed to thin-palmed, gloves with these grips. Grips are, and always will be, a matter of personal taste.

Troy Lee Designs and ODI put a heap of thought and testing into a seemingly simple product, and it has paid off. This is the best small-diameter grip that we have tried.


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