Motocross history is filled with examples of creative ideas that were heralded as groundbreaking, but, because of the rapid rate of change in development, sank into the swamp of forgotten technology. Although some ideas are best left abandoned, others were truly innovative (if not ultimately successful). MXA loves to reveal motocross’ tech trivia. Do you remember this idea? The Jones ball grip.
Motocross has seen barrel grips, hex grips, fin grips, curved grips and octopus grips, but none as unusual as the Jones ball grip. It was the brainchild of Don Jones and used by four-time 250 National Champion Gary Jones. The grip area was based on the classic Oury waffle design (in fact, the basic grip is made from an Oury mold), but on the end was a round ball of thick rubber. As odd as it looks, the ball grip had several unique functions:
(1) The ball stopped the end of the handlebar from piercing the rider’s skin in a crash.
(2) A bike with ball grips could be leaned against the side of a truck without scratching the paint.
(3) The ball protected the brake and clutch lever in a crash.
(4) The thick rubber ball resisted tearing off and exposing your throttle tube or bars in a crash.
(5) It stopped a rider’s hands from slipping off the grips in the whoops.
(6) It could be used in long motos as a massage ball to lessen arm pump and hand cramping.
(7) The Jones Ball Grip had a lot of useful features, but it was too ugly for fashion-conscious racers.