Project 24 Review: Crank Brothers Cobalt grips
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Why on earth would Crank Brothers decide to make a grip alongside their other components? After all, there are already hundreds of grips on the market, and most long-time riders have found something that works well for them. Because they’re pretty awesome grips, that’s why.
Until now, I had never found a clamp-on grip that I liked. Because I prefer a slimmer grip and the clamp-ons that I’d tried in the past gave up too much comfort in the name of security, I was actually dreading long days training and 24-hour racing on the Cobalts. Hit ‘more‘ to find out how the Cobalts earned a special place in my
OK, so it didn’t take much: Crank Brother somehow made the closed-cell foam grips comfortable. Despite an underlying nylon structure, the high-density foam provides plenty of cushion without being any larger in diameter than most mid-profile grips. The grips are clamped in place by two tiny Torx T10 bolts apiece- something I thought would be a hassle until I noticed that the size was coincidentally included on my Crank Brothers Multi-19 tool.
It did take a while for me to find a position where the clamps wouldn’t interfere with my shifters or their relatively sharp edges didn’t catch on my thumbs or pinkies. Ultimately, I settled on pointing the slots forward, parallel to the ground, where they’ve never been a problem. The 3Nm torque requirement wasn’t quite enough to secure the Cobalt grips on my Cobalt 3 (aluminum) or Iodine 11 (carbon) handlebars- so I tightened them a bit more.
Amazingly (for those who weigh grips), the Cobalts’ 65g weight is less than that of most non-clamp grips (WTB Trail Grip: 84g; ESI Chunky: 66g; Oury Mountain: 99g) and about half the weight of ODI’s Rogue Lock-On (132g). At $25, the Cobalts are on par with most Lock-On grips’ prices. The included bar plugs are awful, though- both the large (for aluminum bars) and small (for carbon bars) sets were extremely brittle and exploded when I tried to tap them in to handlebars.
Personally, I find the Cobalts comfortable for 6 hours at a go. That’s pretty awesome for a lock-on grip and about 5 hours longer than any others I’ve tried. I experienced some hand pain during my 12 hours’ riding at 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo- though there aren’t many grips that would prevent that. The Cobalts have never become waterlogged and the foam seems to be molded through the underlying nylon in places, which should help keep them in one piece. The clamps’ added security is a bonus for technical riding and the bands are available in blue, gold, and silver. I really didn’t expect to be recommending this, but I would suggest checking them out when the time comes.