I did six unique molds, with and without gloves, with and without the textureRussell Eich / Immediate Media
Molding and set up
Custom molding the TMR grips to your hand is what sets the Imprint Pros apart from other grips.
Two minutes in boiling water then a dunk in coldRussell Eich / Immediate Media
It’s a simple process, soak the grips in boiling water and squeeze the then pliable rubber to imprint your unique hand shape.
I found that following the directions to the letter, which includes a dunk in cold water before squeezing, resulted in a less drastic impression. Foregoing that step is definitely hotter (the water is near boiling after all) but also made the grips’ rubber noticeably softer and easier to form.
Paying attention to whether you ride with or without gloves also needs to be considered. I molded them both ways, but found a more noticeable difference when riding gloveless.
Less arm pump
Strangling the grips when the trail gets wild is a bad habit. Yet I still do it. Despite knowing better, and reminding myself to relax, at the bottom of long, ragged descents I feel arm pump and aching hands.
TMR Imprint Pro grips are moldableRussell Eich / Immediate Media
With the TMR Imprint Pro grips, I experienced less discomfort in my hands and forearms. I swapped the grips onto five different bikes, and rode everything from cross-country to enduro-style trails. In my case, I noticed the biggest improvement in my forearms.
The reason it’s noticeable in the forearms is that when you tighten your grip, as your hand gets smaller, your arm muscles are involved. You can feel it when you make a fist and squeeze.
Credit goes to the contours and ridges. Each finger imprint was like a little cradle keeping my hands solidly in place. Because my hands were stabilized, I found I didn’t have to squeeze the life out of the bars just to hold on.
Do they provide a better grip on the bars? In a way, yes. The Imprint grips definitely engage more with the sides of, and between, your fingers. I found that I preferred the non-textured grips better as they still had enough ridges and bumps to hang on to, and they felt more custom to my hand.
A bit hard and big diameter
Thin grips are popular for more trail feedback; thick grips offer more cushioning. Of course, hand size plays a role in grip size.
The kit includes the lock-on grips, bar end caps, titanium screws and mesh for adding texture to the gripsRussell Eich / Immediate Media
That said, where the TMR grips are formed, they felt small and thin. But where they weren’t, mostly the outer edges, the grip felt a bit thick even for my XL-size hands. They measure 33mm whereas some of my favorite grips are in the 28–30mm range.
They were also very firm. The rubber was hard, but the alloy sleeve underneath was the bigger culprit. Some riders love hard grips, some prefer more squish, your mileage may vary.
Lastly, if you move your hands around the grips a lot, these will likely drive you insane. If your fingers aren’t aligned, it’s a very odd feeling until they find home.
TMR Imprint Pro grips bottom line
The ideal rider for these grips is someone whose hands and/or forearms ache after riding. The added stability afforded by the grooves keeps your hands where they need to be without the death grip.
Before buying a carbon bar, or a new suspension fork, I’d fully recommend experimenting with your grips. I’d also suggest dropping a PSI or two out of your front tire and backing off your low-speed compression if your fork has it.
If your hands ache while riding, or you want to feel more in control at the end of the day in the bike park, TMR’s Imprint Pro grips are absolutely worth checking out.