ODI is already the most popular grip company in the bike industry, and possibly the motocross industry as well, but they didn’t get there by resting on their laurels. They started out with a great deal of already successful standard grips designs, then pioneered the first lock on grips and currently do a fair amount of co-branding in both styles. Recently they introduced a new line of grips dubbed the Elite series. These new grips utilize the V2.1 single clamp design that we loved when we tested their Aaron Gwin signature grip last year, but they expand into three newer, much better patterns. Right around Interbike we reached out to them to get out hands around one of the new designs. They were nice enough to send us all three. We bolted them up to very different bikes, swapped them around a bit and we’re ready to share our thoughts.
• Offset grip design provides padding where it is needed most
• NEW SINGLE CLAMP – Version 2.1 Lock-On System
• Soft Pro Compound for excellent shock absorption
• Reinforced Soft Ends for Added Durability
• Available in 3 different colors : Black, Graphite & Red
• 130mm width
When the Elite series first showed up they they reminded us of the AG-1, only were much thicker. That’s fine as our only gripe with the AG-1 was that they were too thin. One unique thing that ODI did with the Elite series was make them offset in their distribution of padding. All 3 designs have more padding where the butt of your palm rests and less where your fingers grasp. This allows them to be effectively thinner while still offering the vibration damping of a thicker grip. It also means that they resist wear a bit better than a standard grip of the same diameter.
We are already familiar with the single bolt design and much prefer it. The rider who conducted this test tends to ride with his hands way out on the edge of the bar so having a metal clamp out there isn’t ideal as his hand rests on it. That said, a metal clamp and a hard plastic end plug should hold up slightly better than these under bigger crashes. However, the Elite series are all reinforced fairly well with hard plastic underneath their soft, ramped outer edge. With these grips compared to a traditional 2 clamp lock on, your bar will feel a bit wider and you’ll likely slide your brake/shift levers out a bit despite the fact that the overall grip width is narrower.
Let’s see where the different patterns ended up. We decided to throw each pair on a different bike based off of which one would best suit each of the individual bikes in our stable.
We put the “Motion” on our DH bike as it has the thinnest diameter and doesn’t have a raised area under the palm or a waffle pattern either. We liked the idea of a thin grip that won’t squirm on a DH bike, thus giving a very positive feel when you’re death gripping like a champ.
On our mid-travel bike we went with the “Flow”, essentially the same thickness as the “Motion”, but with the waffle pattern on the underside. Mid duty bike = mid duty grips…
Lastly, on our short travel/all day bike, we went with the thickest grip – the Pro. The idea was that it would be most apt to take the edge off over the duration of our longer rides. Since we didn’t plan on getting as rowdy we weren’t as concerned with death gripping and we were fine with the idea of a bit more squirm.
On The Trail
Each grip shares the same overall design layout which proved to be effective. We appreciate the 3mm allen screw over the 2.5mm that the twin clamp systems typically use. It’s easier it get it snug enough and you’d have to be pretty meat fisted to round out the head on one. We had our fair share of minor crashes and managed to smash some layers of skin off of our pinky on a Redwood tree but the ends of the grips survived surprisingly well.
As for each different design, all 3 pair have the same diameter at the base and share the variable knurled pattern that made the Ruffian grips a classic in the first place. What makes the “Flow” thicker and the “Pro” thicker still is the raised waffling on the underside of both and the raised ribbed box sections that rest on top of the “Pro”.
We found the “Motion” to be well suited to our DH bike and it provided a ton of grip without unnecessary bulk. Combined with a thin glove it was just right, gloveless we wished it were ever so slightly thicker initially but as they broke in a bit and got softer they won us over. For the ODI fan who rides with their hands out on the edge of the bar your prayers have been answered, think of it as a refined Ruffian that makes your bar feel wider while providing the same amount of clearance.
The “Flow” was a great all around grip. We felt like it could have easily worked on either our DH bike or our short travel bike. If you wanted to try a pair from the Elite line but weren’t sure how thick/thin to go, this is the perfect place to start and we’ve likely had the most time on them. All in all, they’ve worn fairly well. After enough riding that we’ve burned through an entire set of brake pads, their waffle pattern has just started to peel off away slightly on the outside corners. That hasn’t really affected the feel and the rest of the grip is wearing well.
As expected, we liked the “Pro” on our short travel bike. The raised area under the butt of the palm did an excellent job at damping vibrations and keeping our hands from getting too beat up on the long rides. What was interesting about this grip is that it took the edge off nicely but didn’t have the bulk that typically comes along with a thicker grip. We found that out of all 3 patterns, this was the grip where we really appreciated the offset material distribution. Our test rider who used these typically prefers thinner grips and absolutely hates super thick ones, but really enjoyed these. Some riders, like Kyle Strait, have huge hands and/or just flat out prefer thick grips like his custom jobs here but for those looking for more cushion without a big diameter, this is the best grip we’ve tried to date.
In summary, we’re super impressed with all three of these patterns. Grips however, are very much a personal item on a bike and everyone has different preferences. Fortunately these days, most offerings typically last quite some time and even the higher end grips don’t really cost all that much coin so it won’t kill you to dabble. With that in mind, ODI have covered a broad spectrum with the new Elite line and from a functional/design standpoint, they’re top notch. We’ll be coming back for more and any one of these could easily be our new “go-to” grip. Your best bet would be to feel them out in person at a local bike shop, but finding which pattern suits you best is rather self explanatory based on what you already know about your personal taste. From everything to design, durability and feel ODI is still the king.