Originally known as the “racer’s” grip, ESI’s 100% silicone grips continue to gain fans. While at Sea Otter we spotted a road bike in their booth which caught our attention because they have focused mostly on mountain bikes. ESI has made a road “grip” but it was a 2 piece per side system, similar to the foam grips on road bikes of the past. Instead, ESI’s newest product in the works is clearly an actual bar tape made from the same silicone that has made their MTB grips famous.
In addition to the prototype tape (prototape?), ESI is now offering a thicker, chunkier version of their mountain bike grips. More after the break.
Currently still in development, ESI’s bar tape felt really good on the display bike. When I asked how it wrapped on the bar and if it was stretchy, I was provided the demonstration above. The two photos show the same piece of bar tape, and after it is stretched it returns to normal. Not only does that make a tape the wraps really nicely, but because it has no “memory” when the tape starts to wear out you can unwrap it and re-wrap it in the reverse with the fresh side of the tape exposed. According to ESI, there are currently 3 testers using the tape in road, cross, and gravel riding and the feedback has been that the tape absorbs road vibration extremely well – much like their MTB grips.
Due to the stretch of the material, no adhesive backing is needed to keep it in place. The production version of the tape will likely be wider, thicker, and have beveled edges to provide a nicer transition between wraps. ESI is hoping for an Interbike release.
While not brand new, ESI’s Extra Chunky grip is their newest mountain bike grip. Measuring 34mm in diameter, the grips have a bit of an ergonomic offset and come in 130mm widths. Extra Chunky grips weigh in at 80g and retail for $22.99.