Mountain bike technology has undoubtedly skyrocketed in the past few years. Practically every detail has been researched, engineered and developed numerous times over. Yet, when it comes down to it there are only a few points of actual contact between the rider and the bike: grips, seat, pedals. And UK-based TMR's Imprint grips look to make improvements to one of these important touch points.
Its Imprint Pro moldable grips are claimed to provide 100 percent contact, grip better and decrease arm pump. They're said to be remoldable as well.
Boil, soak, and dunk
Molding the grips is pretty straightforward.
Boil some water, soak a mesh-covered grip for two minutes, dunk in cold water, then slide them on the handlebar and squeeze! Pop them back in the cold water for two more minutes and that's it.
I molded the grips three times, each time trying to squeeze as hard as I could.
My resulting custom grip pattern wasn't nearly as dramatic as the grips shown on TMR's site. However, while the indents I pressed in were shallow, they did provide a unique shape that lined up with my hand.
Out of the trail
Riding the Imprint grips felt different, not in a bad way though. It sort of felt like one of those rubber finger guides you put on your pencil in grade school so you held it the correct way.
When my fingers didn't line up with the grooves, it was similar to when your fingers don't land on the home row on your keyboard. You know something's off, not quite right.
But once my fingers adjusted and settled into the correct grooves, it was like 'ahh, there' everything's fine.
I rode the new grips sans gloves (just like I molded them) and they felt firm, but very natural, and easy to forgot about.
They were very positive feeling when pulling up on the bars. The finger indentations were not that noticeable pushing down, such as when just spinning along, but they were very noticeable when yanking on the bars for a jump or a manual.
The only negative I've noticed is that I do wish there was a bit more concave on the top through the palm.
Regarding arm pump, I didn't notice any, but then again I wasn't banging out lap after bike park lap, which is about the only time I get the dreaded claw hand.
I'm pleased the Imprint grips are re-moldable because my current mold seemed too far to the outside of the grip. I need the molding to be more centered.
I'll be sure to report back with a full review after I get a bunch more time on them.
TMR Imprint grips pricing and availability
Two versions are offered: the Expert for £19.99 / $26 / AU$34 with a high-density polymer core and the Pro tested here for £34.99 / $45 / AU$59 with an aircraft-grade aluminum core.
The grips are available through TMR's site.