Back at interbike we snagged a pair of Aaron Gwin’s new signature lock on grip from ODI. It’s safe to say ODI is the leader in grip technology. They manufacture grips for all cycle sports as well as moto, snowmobile, and even watercrafts. With this grip, ODI shows off it’s first clamp redesign since they first introduced the original lock on’s around a decade ago.
Available in 4 colors(Black, Blue, Red and Orange), our grips came in at 112 grams. The AG-1 comes in at a full 135mm width. At just over 28mm, they are quite thin.
So, what makes Gwin’s new grip so unique? Quite a few things considering it’s simply a grip. First off, one clamp has been removed, and the allen screw used to tighten that clamp has gone up in size slightly. This will allow a bit firmer grasp on the bar without running the risk of stripping the hardware out. The (inboard) clamp itself has also been smoothed out and rounded off a bit – we liked the slick, improved clamp and found that it stayed put nicely.
On the other end, rather than utilizing a separate bar plug and an additional clamp, the AG-1 features an sturdy aluminum cap that covers the bar’s end in lieu of the traditional style setup. That aluminum end is precisely made to fit nice and snug over the bar’s end and is graced with some durable hard plastic. No more bashing your grips and bar plugs to bits when you set the bike down from overcooking a turn. We would love to see ODI adopt this design onto their other offerings.
The other half of the newly innovated side to this grip is the co-molding. Before he got to help design his own signature grip, Aaron’s go to grip was the ODI Ruffian. You can see the similarities in their design compared to his current grip. What has been added is a higher density section out where the butt of your palm rests. On the end, this tapered bit provides premature wear, but also along with that and the removal of the outer clamp, it prevents the users hands from actually resting on metal if they tend to grasp out toward the edges.
The last big change on this grip is the co-molded fin-like bits. The Ruffian is a great grip, but they’re pretty smooth, and can get a bit slippery when conditions get bad. We found that these tapered bits really added to the overall security and traction when things got wild. Especially in adverse conditions.
So what did we think? First off – as a disclaimer, we have to say that grips are the first part that someone changes when they buy a new bike. They’re extremely personal, and people are generally super particular about what they use. Some people love big, fat soft grips that take the edge off – some like thinner harder grips that they can really get a firm grasp on the bar with, and feel the terrain more. We found the AG-1 to suit the latter. Our tester prefers thin grips and found these to almost be a bit too thin on the roughest DH tracks, but the grip offered supreme traction in our hands in all conditions. This is definitely a grip for someone who prefers gloves – it may be slightly harsh for those who choose to ride without them. As mentioned before, from a design standpoint, these are flawlessly executed and we’d love to see ODI adapt this new clamp and style to some of the classic patterns they offer. We like the simplified clamp and lighter weight all going along with added bar protection and a faster removal/installation. Overall these grips are stellar – most riders who prefer a thin grip will love them.