Professional racers are very meticulous about their equipment selection. They compulsively seek out the ways to shave a few extra grams from their bikes, but also understand the importance of comfort and durability. Some places they are willing to compromise comfort for weight savings and others not. When items like the ESI Chunky grip consistently adorn the bikes of pros, especially those that are unsponsored, it speaks volumes of the product's merit.
ESI grips have swept the Elite Cross County ranks with force. The 100% Silicone grips are substantially lighter than your standard rubber grip, do not slip, and offer much better comfort and shock absorption than foam or bar tape! The grips are UV resistant so the bold colors will not fade or harden with time.
The ESI Chunky grips are a slightly thicker grip which offers more shock absorption than the Racer's Edge model. The Chunky grip weighs in at 58g, approximately 10 grams heavier than the ESI Racer's Edge. Installed, the grips measure 5-1/8" in length and 32mm in diameter. ESI grips include bar end plugs. We recommend using rubbing alcohol or compressed air for installation and removal. Those who run twist shifters should opt for the ESI Chunky grip as it mates well with the diameter of a SRAM twist shifter.
5 1/8 in
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Half the price of the Gucciest grips and twice the comfort? I'm sold.
I tend to climb without gloves and descend with/without gloves on about 50/50. These grips provide just the right amount of cushioning either way. The actual grippiness of the grip is less than I've experienced with some of the Lizard stuff, but it's still more than acceptable.
I followed the provided installation instructions and both went on easily.
Comfortable, lightweight, inexpensive. Tougher to install than modern lock-ons, but not terribly so, and more comfortable than most. The diameter of the Chunky model is just right for my hands, and the grip is second to none, in my opinion.
I've been using pretty much since day one. Love how comfy they are, and how they have minimal impact on my carbon bars. They absorb much more jittery shock than any lock-on's or other less dense foam grips out there. Keep it core, keep it simple.
I don't use other grips anymore. I love these beyond belief. They're just so comfortable. I've used Ergons, just couldn't get them quite right (especially standing out of the saddle). ODIs just don't even come close. These are just the right amount of cush and grip. I haven't found better. I've got pretty big gorilla hands; if you have smaller hands the racer's edge 30mm ESI grips may work better; my friends with small hands have really liked them but thought my grips felt too big.
They're also apparently really lightweight. Like the lightest you can get. Personally, that doesn't matter to me because comfort is more important than any 100g, it will result in more speed at the end of a race.
These also look fab, I have them in different colors on each bike. They get dirty after a bit (especially if you wear black gloves), but a little bit of acetone cleans them right up (this was the recommendation from ESI itself).
They're reasonably durable, but a crash can ruin them. They're fairly cheap though; I usually have a spare set waiting in the wings anyway.
Not as convenient as lock-ons, but soooo much more comfortable. They go on surprisingly easily with rubbing alcohol (just wet the inside) and stick in place really well. Getting them off intact requires patience, but is doable.
For me, they're the perfect grips. I refuse to use anything else.
For what it's worth I've also met the owner (based in SoCal and goes to a bunch of the ProXCT races) and he's super cool and nice, willing to talk bike stuff for as long as you'll stand there and a knowledgeable and great guy.
I've been an ODI Lock-on devotee for years, I bought my first pair in 2004 and hadn't looked back since. I love their convenience, how easy it is to install and uninstall them whenever you want to change your cockpit around. They were also very comfortable and grippy, among the best I had used. I swore off all non-locking grips and with the exception of a brief experiment with Ergons a couple years ago, I remained totally devoted to my ODIs. I believed that they were by far the best combination of grippiness, comfort, and convenience in a grip that I would find. I wasn't concerned about the weight penalty, I thought my friends with foam grips were just being ridiculous over 60g.
That was until I bought my first pair of ESIs a month ago. My teammate has been swearing by these for forever and urged my to try them so I evenetually broke down and bought a red pair because it matches the red highlights on my bike. They're not very expensive, I figured I could afford to give them a try.
I almost got rid of them immediately. These things are a PITA to install. I was wetting my bars and the insides of the grips with rubbing alcohol, which has always worked well in the past, but these were having none of it. I managed to get them on by brute force and got two blisters on my hand in the process. In retrospect that was during a freak heat wave here in SoCal (like hot even for us) and the rubbing alcohol was evaporating really quickly; I should retry it in the winter. In any case, the inside diameter is significantly smaller than the bar diameter; this is on purpose for security.
I'm glad I stuck through the installation though, because these grips are amazing. They are SO comfortable. They are leaps and bounds above my ODI Rogues. Just...so much better. Grippier and softer and my hands just feel so much better on the bars. It's incomparable. They are light years ahead of the last foam grips I used as well, and way way better than bar tape. I thought they would be just another foam grip, but they feel nothing like other foam grips. They are squishy yet firm, grippy, stay put...basically they're everything I want in a grip. They're perfect. My hands are 100% happier since putting them on, even with the blisters from installation.
So they are a huge pain to install, be warned, but if you make it past that your hands will thank you. These are wonderful grips, I have yet to find anything like it.
They're surprisingly durable, they've taken a few rock and tree scrapings with not even a blemish (unlike other foam grips which tear if you don't think nice thoughts about them)
The red is a tiny but pinkish, but it's still definitely red and I love the way it looks. That's a minor consideration, I'd still be sold if they only came in black, but looking nice is always a plus.
They're also ridiculously lightweight, but really, that should not be much of a consideration in a grip. Comfortable hands will make you faster than 60-100g of weigh savings. So while it's a bonus that these are light, I don't really factor that into my rating of them.