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 are best left abandoned, others were truly innovative (if not ultimately successful). MXA loves to reveal motocross’ tech trivia. Do you remember this idea? Nuetech A. P. E. curved grips?
Are you old enough to remember PowerLite BMX bars? They bent downwards on the ends to give riders a better hold on the grips. What about Nuetech A.P.E Attack grips? Nuetech did for motocross what PowerLite did for BMX. At first glance, every MXA test rider thought that the A.P.E bars had been bent in a crash because the ends of the bars were tilted downward at a 30-degree angle. It was a strange idea. So strange that 13 years later it has been completely forgotten; but, in reality, it just might have been the best handlebar ever conceived.
The Nuetech A.P.E Attack grips looked weird but felt right when you first wrapped your hands around the grips. Curving the bars allowed the grips to mate perfectly to the palms of your hands, which are also curved. Ergonomically, the Nuetech A.P.E (Arm Pump Eliminator) curved bar ends made sense, but they looked so strange that most riders were wary of them.
In the end, the MXA wrecking crew was split down the middle on A.P.E. bars. Riders who disliked the A.P.E. bar ends claimed that the curved part made the grips feel shorter and that the downward bend made their wrists turn awkwardly. The riders who loved the A.P.E. bars said that the curved grips made it easier to keep their elbows up, led to less arm pump (because they didn’t have to hold on as tightly) and, unlike traditional straight grips, allowed their two smallest fingers to actually hold on to the bars.
No test rider could complain that running A.P.E.’s curved grips stopped him from running his favorite handlebars, because the Nuetech A.P.E. curved handlebars were actually curved bar ends that slipped into the end of your favorite bar just like hand guards. The throttle had a special CNC-machined throttle tube that curved downward. To make it spin freely, a bearing was fitted into the throttle tube (on the straight section), and it locked into a bearing guide that was inserted into the end of the handlebar. Riders had to cut 1-1/2 inches off their bars to get the desired bar width.
This was a brilliant idea that failed to catch on because it looked different, but don’t cry for Nuetech. The company went on to invent the Tubliss tire insert that turns any motocross tire into a tubeless tire and the Nitromousse foam tube used by GP riders and offroad racers.