Review: Spirgrips

Bar ends seem to elicit rather strong emotions from mountain bikers. Some swear that they can't ride comfortably without them while others deride them for being relics from mountain biking's past. I usually fall into the latter group but when the Spirgrips came up for review, I was happy to challenge my own bias.

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What are Spirgrips?


The Spirgrips are two handles placed between your grips and brake/ shifter controls on your mountain bike handlebar. The intention, like traditional bar ends, is to create a comfortable alternative to the handlebar grips. The Spirgrips also claim to have an ergonomic shape that further eases the strain on the rider hands.

 

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Installation


The Spirgrips are mountable without having to remove your existing grips thanks to the hinged system. In my case, all I had to do was make a bit of space by moving the dropper seatpost lever. A pair of Spirgrips weighs 120 grams.

 

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Spirgrips are available in two colours: black or white.

 

The only point of the setup that might require adjustment is the angle of the handles. It is worth having a multitool in your back pocket on the first ride just to fine tune the position to your personal preference.

 

The bar end stigma


It’s real. I was not aware just how much emotion they evoke until I stuck the Spirgrips onto my handlebars. The number of odd looks and riders that said they’d never put “those” on their bike was astounding. To be fair, the Spirgrips do look a little odd on a modern mountain bike, like the horns of a small bokkie. But for those seeking functional comfort over cool factor, the Spirgrips might be a solution.

 

On the trail


Control: On my first ride with the Spirgrips, I set off along the Constantia greenbelts. Not exactly the ultra-endurance event that you might associate with the need for comfort but the winding urban singletrack gave me an excellent sense of the handling the Spirgrips provide. And it’s good. I was able to navigate the entire route while holding the Spirgrip handles. I could even perform a somewhat subdued bunny hop.

 

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In the Spirgrip position, there are some speed and gear control drawbacks. Riding along straight and open routes, the braking was decent for adjusting speed with your index or middle finger. But for harder braking, like on single track or an emergency stop, the Spirgrips position lacked the leverage you get from having your hands on the handlebar. Changing gears required some contortion of the fingers. I could shift down (this would be much easier with a Shimano RapidFire shifter) but for shifting up, I needed my thumb, which while on the Spirgrips is pointing away from the shifter and completely useless for the task.

 

Comfort: I found the Spirgrip position to be a comfortable relief on my hands and upper body. Holding a traditional mountain bike grip and supporting your weight flattens the palm’s natural arch. I have been told by bike fit experts that this is a significant cause of hand discomfort on mountain bikes.

 

On the Spirgrips, however, the hand wraps around the shaped handle maintaining that arch with much of the weight being placed on the area between the thumb and index finger and not on your palm. A welcome change from the usual pressure points on the hand. I did wonder about a slightly longer version of the Spirgrips, having large hands, a few more millimetres of length could easily have been used.

 

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The Spirgrips position also provides welcome relief to the arms and shoulders. By turning the hands inwards by 45 degrees (give or take) your elbows tucked in towards the torso and the shoulders drop slightly. It is similar to riding on the hoods on a road bike. I am not sure whether it is a more efficient position for the body or simply the alternative riding style, but I found a comfort in this position. Plus, there are probably some aerodynamic advantages that come with moving the arms inward. The change from handlebars to Spirgrips quickly becomes natural. I found myself unconsciously switching between the two during a ride. Interestingly, I frequently found myself reaching for the Spirgrips on steeper climbs and leveraging through them for power.

 

In the end


The Spirgrips provide the rider with a different position in which to ride, and with it noticeable relief. Holding the Spirgrips is comfortable and the control from this position is surprisingly good. The only drawback being limited braking and shifting capabilities, which a quick transition back to the bars will solve. If you’re spending lots of uncomfortable hours on the bike, Spirgrips are certainly an option to consider.

 




28 Comments

Meezo, Nov 21 2017 09:08

Cons
  • Bar end haters

YEP!

Hairy, Nov 21 2017 09:24

at least they wont snag on branches / bushes like a traditional bar end!

Slowbee, Nov 21 2017 10:13

*trolling on*

 

#full finger gloves for the win!

 

when you going to wear arms protectors from the SUN ?! I mean those hands .....

 

*trolling off*

 

I saw these at velo life. Thought they were a real gimmic till I took the bike round the car park. Pretty impressive stuff. My only *minor* gripe would be they dont give enough space for "different hand positions" like other bar ends do. But then I do move around a lot on the bike.

Hackster, Nov 21 2017 10:26

Worth a try. How much do they cost?

WillieP, Nov 21 2017 10:40

Worth a try. How much do they cost?

R732 and online at www.absolutemotion.co.za.  ... but wait,  could be a black friday special coming...

Nick, Nov 21 2017 10:44

Worth a try. How much do they cost?

 

R732 and online at www.absolutemotion.co.za.  ... but wait,  could be a black friday special coming...

 

Sorry, I should have included that important piece of information.

coppi, Nov 21 2017 10:52

I think they can be very useful for long dirt grinds................also keen to know price

Jewbacca, Nov 21 2017 11:20

I have been installing 'short bar ends' in this position for years on Expedition races and things like Freedom Challenge when you sit in the saddle for 40 hours at a time.

 

These are probably an answer to a question that very few people ever ask, but I think they are a very good answer indeed. Slightly more expensive that the R100 stubbies and a quarter silicone grip, but probably a bit more purpose built.

 

I can assure you that after 10 hours sleep and 150 hours in the saddle you won't give a dam about 'Bar end haters' when you are riding through the Baviaans or into a nice headwind on your way to Diemersfontein!

ians, Nov 21 2017 11:25

I've been riding with them for about 4 months. They really are great for when you want to change hand position on long rides. A have received a few stares, but people are mostly interested in what they are. Hey, who cares what people think anyway.....

BuffsVintageBikes, Nov 21 2017 11:40

Hahahaha... the joys of living in a consumer driven society. Move bar ends to inside the grip for less control and all of a sudden you have something new on the market. As Jewbacca mentioned, anyone who's spent any time on long multi-day events even will tell you, you use what works, stuff the critics. Fortunately at 3am in the middle of nowhere there's very few people around to tell you that you don't look "cool" enough. Hell, even sheepskin saddles suddenly become an inviting option. Imagine fitting a set of these AND bar ends... oh the horror.

LeoKnight, Nov 21 2017 12:45

I saw them them recently and also interested, what I actually want to do next is maybe get some bar tape next to my stem on my mtb, as I know it is a bit more dangerous but when there is a head wind and fairly smooth piece of track in front of my, I hold on there.

Nick, Nov 21 2017 01:07

I saw them them recently and also interested, what I actually want to do next is maybe get some bar tape next to my stem on my mtb, as I know it is a bit more dangerous but when there is a head wind and fairly smooth piece of track in front of my, I hold on there.

 

It works for Karl Platt: https://www.bikehub....edge-team-r6336

 

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rock, Nov 21 2017 01:31

wait, how much? 

Steven Knoetze (sk27), Nov 21 2017 02:12

I literally have a riding friend who is sitting out for 6 weeks after a tumble with these where the one hit him flat on the midriff. Cracked 2 ribs and bruised a lung in the process.  I think they are just as dangerous as bar-ends, IMO that is.

Traveler, Nov 21 2017 02:42

used Spirgrips after a serious fracture to my wrist for some months while my hand healed. These little thingies was the only way that I could work in riding for anything longer than 2 hours. It takes a bit of time to get them set up ideally, but they are brilliant and they placed much less strain on my shoulders than what traditional bar ends did.... And the beauty was that they are extremely unlikely to get snagged on branches or any other trail side accident causers.

 

They worked so well that I have placed them away for the day that I might need them again and I will not consider selling them.

Sitting slip, Nov 21 2017 03:13

bar end= 26ers spirgrips=650b

come out with something new( with now major effect)  to keep the market interested. 

WillieP, Nov 21 2017 03:41

Worth a try. How much do they cost?

The discount code you can use on Black Friday on online shop www.absolutemotion.co.za

Discount Code: BlkFRIDAY50%Spir

NotSoBigBen, Nov 22 2017 05:49

The may well be one or two obscure reasons to fit these ,extreme endurance events where no one cares what you fit on your bike as long as it's comfortable and perhaps as mentioned after some injury, but for your everyday rider I just shake my head ... But just my humble opinion, go ahead of you feel the need 🤔

WesleyR, Nov 22 2017 07:31

The discount code you can use on Black Friday on online shop www.absolutemotion.co.za

Discount Code: BlkFRIDAY50%Spir

 

Code doesn't work?

PhilipV, Nov 22 2017 07:45

A bit premature there WesleyR?

"The discount code you can use on Black Friday on online shop"

WesleyR, Nov 22 2017 07:48

A bit premature there WesleyR?

"The discount code you can use on Black Friday on online shop"

 

Apologies. But seeing as everyone else is jumping on the Black Friday bandwagon and starting their specials early, thought maybe they would be the same...

PhilipV, Nov 22 2017 07:56

I'm an advocate of Function over Fashion, so while I think that it does look a bit silly, I can see why these will be great on Gravel Roady rides, and on long uphill slogs.
And seriously, if you are worried about others opinions on Fri your bike, well, shame.

Shebeen, Nov 22 2017 10:04

I have bar ends on my super racy carbon hardtail, not just because it is the first mtb bike part alphabetically*, but because it is all about the comfort. 

 

I think this is a good idea, but for that price I'm going to rather ghetto this. just going to get a budget pair, cut them down and put griptape or silicone grip on it.

 

and it's not even exchange rate, on the main site they are 82Suisse france = R1160.

 

 

 

 

*aerobars don't count

Shebeen, Nov 22 2017 10:06

I have bar ends on my super racy carbon hardtail, not just because it is the first mtb bike part alphabetically*, but because it is all about the comfort. 

 

I think this is a good idea, but for that price I'm going to rather ghetto this. just going to get a budget pair, cut them down and put griptape or silicone grip on it.

 

and it's not even exchange rate, on the main site they are 82Suisse france = R1160.

 

 

 

 

*aerobars don't count

now that i look at it again, it fits between your matchmaker and grip, so basically moves your shifters/brakes inward - i need a solution that goes over the matchmaker rather.

Blackheart, Nov 22 2017 12:58

I used to put a set of the old Cinelli Spinaci's there for the super long stuff.

These look like a good replacement.

 

And I am disappointed with you all.

No mention of running these on a riser bar? Minus 100000 points.