‘You can’t reinvent the humble grip’ they said. Apparently you can, thanks to WTB.
Rotated grips. They end rides, dreams, and winning seasons. So, we solved the problem. In doing so, we also created a more comfortable grip, which utilizes a tapered inner-grip cylinder that interfaces directly with PadLoc-ready handlebars to eliminate rotational slippage entirely. It’s so unique that we applied for US and international patents. And yes, it rules – riding hard with comfort should have been figured out long ago – fortunately, we nailed it. Ride it to believe. Never go back. Locked comfort perfected.
“In order to prevent grip slippage, you have to look closely at where the rotation is occurring,” stated Chris Feucht, WTB’s manager of new product development. “Purely bolting a grip down is not going to solve the problem, you have to think about how they [grips] slide and then work on that specific contact area to prevent movement from occurring,” elaborated Feucht. “Creating an angled plane on the handlebar’s end that counters forward movement solves this issue. The best part is, this also adds real estate for extra rubber, which makes PadLoc grips remarkably forgiving and comfortable. It’s funny that such an aggressive design is so easy on the hands,” concluded Feucht.
As mentioned by Feucht, PadLoc grips rely on an angled plane at the handlebar’s end to combat movement. When viewed without a grip, the rounded end of the handlebar appears lopped off, instead sloping at roughly a 30 degree angle downward for the last inch of the handlebar’s length. WTB then employs a hardened inner sleeve, which they refer to as the Subframe that fits directly over the handlebar, conforming to the handlebar’s profile and acting as a base skeleton for rubber attachment. Rubber then coats the Subframe, filling the void left from the handlebar’s angled end and making a rounded outer, which WTB refers to as the Wedge and is designed to provide palm comfort through a softer end that alleviates pressure. A single inboard lock ring, referred to as the Inner Lock, prevents external, horizontal movement.
WTB designed the PadLoc grips to address grip slippage incidents plaguing members of Team WTB during demanding high concentration moments of riding and competition. “Both Jerome [Clementz] and I have had our locking grips completely slip on us when we need them most,” explained Jason Moeschler, WTB’s director of global OEM sales. “We’re not big riders, which is the strange part. If it’s happening to us, it’s happening to others too. I’ve had serious crashes from twisting a grip, it was obvious we needed to change the way grips fit on bars so we developed the PadLoc system”
WTB PadLoc grips require either modification of an existing handlebar or one specifically designed to accommodate them. SRAM also announced the release of two handlebars under their TRUVATIV components brand also during day one of Eurobike. The Jerome Signature Series Carbon Bar will feature 20mm of rise, seven degrees of back-sweep, and five degrees of upsweep with a 750mm width. The Jerome Clementz BlackBox Bar will be made of unidirectional carbon fiber, weighing 225g and will come mounted with WTB Commander 30mm PadLoc grips featuring Jerome Clementz’s signature green accents. The MSRP on the Jerome Clementz Signature Series Carbon Bar and WTB Commander 30mm PadLoc Grip combo is $226 USD. Additionally, SRAM released a 780mm Boobar handlebar made of 7000 series alloy featuring seven degrees of back-sweep, five degrees of upsweep and 20mm of rise. Available in black and weighing in at 335g, the Boobar Aluminum Bar will retail for $111 USD when paired with WTB grey Commander 30mm PadLoc grips. Both TRUVATIV handlebar/grip options come with WTB PadLoc Commander grips already installed on the handlebars and both bars will be available in a 31.8mm clamp diameter.
To allow existing handlebars to accept WTB PadLoc grips, Park Tool released a PadLoc handlebar modification tool. Named the Park SGI-7, it acts as an insert for the Park SG-7.2 Adjustable Saw Guide allowing shop employees to modify existing handlebars to accommodate PadLoc grips.
WTB will be offering PadLoc grips in six different profiles, each featuring multiple color ways and spanning from an oversized 33mm offering, named the Clydesdale, down to a 28mm diameter option aptly named the Thinline. There will also be a raised, ergonomically shaped Ace grip and a winged grip aimed at comfort and distance riding named the Wingnut. The 30mm diameter Commander grip will also be available in a Grip Shift option. All PadLoc grips will retail for $34.95 USD and have a projected mid-December availability from WTB while grip/handlebar combinations will begin shipping from SRAM in September 2015.