Extra-light, very durable and providing excellent grip – but this is one skin you can only shed once
Weight: 30 grams
Choosing a bike and components is one of the most complex issues in the devoted cyclist’s world. Picking out a frame, suspension, shocks, and other “important” parts can sustain hundreds of online threads and posts by riders over prolonged periods. But at the end of the day, the cyclist’s world rests ultimately on the three components: the tires, saddle, and handlebar grips. Without exaggerating, this small piece of rubber can be the decisive factor between a good biking experience and a nightmare.
Lizard Skins is one of the most experienced companies who tend to this important rider-bike interface point. The company’s grips are developed with the help of, and feedback from, many sponsored athletes, and they can be found on many handlebars over the world in a variety of disciplines, from BMX rigs to road bikes (they also make bar tape).
The DPS 32.3 tested here belong to a genre known as “cushioning” grips – made of a soft polymer, usually without a rigid spine and often without a locking mechanism. They are characterized by low weight, above-average grip, and a certain ability to dampen vibrations coming from the terrain. Lizard Skins’ grips use the company’s unique independently-developed polymer that carries the name DuraSoft. The material is characterized by a very low weight, excellent grip, high absorption capabilities, and high durability.
On the trail:
Like similar products in its category of soft grips, the DSP are not set upon on any rigid spine. That makes them extra-light and a favorite for weight-weenies. Usually this type of grip gets installed by forcefully sliding it onto the handlebars. In the case of the DSP this is achieved via a strong double-sided adhesive tape, which is first applied to the handlebars, and then the grips slide on forcefully with the generous aid of window cleaning fluid. The adhesive tape ensures that the grips’ hold (pun intended) on the handlebar is absolute, eliminating any chance for spinning or distortion as a result of wear and tear. On the down side, it’s a single-use solution, which means that if you want in the future to swap the DSPs and use them on another bike, you will need to cut them off brutally in order to pry them loose of the glue. It should be noted that in our experience, even grips from other brands do not generally break off easily, and often require destruction in order to be replaced.
The DSP is a medium-size diameter grip and is suited for medium- to large-sized hands. The unique polymer and its rough tread provide excellent grip from the moment the product comes out of the box, and it increases as the ride carries on because of the heat generated from the friction of hands, gloves, and grips.
The DSP grips indeed greatly tone down the vibrations generated by mountain bike riding, but we did not find that they particularly stand out in this field. Their strong point lies in their durability when compared to similar products from other brands. After considerable use, and over a relatively long period of time, the DSPs did not show any signs of wear and tear. They retained their shape and their excellent grip, as if they came out of the box only yesterday.
For better: weight, excellent grip without unwanted play, effectively locking, durability
For worse: rather uncomfortable installation, one-time use