When it comes to MTB grips, there are about a billion designs out there: fat, skinny, tapered, ergo and everything in between. And although they're all different, they're also more or less round in shape.
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The Sushi Grip (now live on Kickstarter), however, is not round, and creator Sean Madsen came up with the idea for it while eating, you guessed it, Sushi.
Before you dismiss this as another half-baked Kickstarter invention, consider this: Madsen currently runs Bike Fit Solutions but used to be in charge of Specialized’s Body Geometry fit programme. As well as being involved in the development of Body Geometry products he's also done bike fits for four Tour de France winners, over two dozen UCI World Champions and four Ironman Kona champs.
According to Madsen, “When we grasp a bar, most of the force of holding it comes from our ring and pinky fingers. This is called our 'power grip', because those fingers act in opposition to the thumb.”
Furthermore, when your hand is relaxed your fingers naturally settle into a conical shape, so round grips can't provide optimum grip for every finger. In order to do so the diameter of a grip needs to reduce towards the outside of the bar.
Flat tops and wings
Madsen says that by creating a shape optimised for the 'power grip', the Sushi Grip allows for better handlebar control with less soreness and fatigue.
In an effort to combat hand numbness – a common complaint among cyclists – the Sushi Grip has a flat top to distribute pressure away from nerves in the wrist and palm to more padded areas of the hand.
There's also a wing on the end of each grip that’s intended to help you to lean the bike harder in a corner.
To achieve this optimised shape, Madsen had to make part of the Sushi Grip smaller than the diameter of a standard MTB bar. The result is that 65mm of the Sushi grip hangs off the ends of the bar. This is great if you’re looking to try a wider bar, but if the bar you’re already riding is wide it’s a quite a commitment.
To prevent the end of the Sushi grip snapping off when things get rowdy, Madsen uses a reinforced-nylon core structure while the exterior is made from a durable ‘rubber-like’ compound.
Madsen is s seeking funding for his Sushi grips on Kickstarter now. Pledge US$40, and if the project is successfully funded, you'll get a set of of Sushi grips. Pedge $100, however, and you'll get the grips on to your preferred size of aluminium bars (US$200 gets the grips on a carbon bars).