Review: Hope Technology SL Handlebar Grips
Hope Technology are renowned for producing high quality kit, and these grips are no exception. Produced by hand in their Barnoldswick factory, it is clear that Hope have paid every attention to detail.
Starting from the inside out, the Hope SL grips have a high quality plastic core, which smoothly slides onto the bars. This core is an impact resistance tube that allows the grip to retain a solid shape and feel, while having minimal impact on the weight of the product. On each end of the high impact tube, are stainless steel locking collars; these minimal wraps are securely tighten up with hex bolts, and prevent any kind of slippage on the bars. On the lighter colour models, you can actually glimpse the hand-crafted machining on the collars, which demonstrates the true detail in design that is found in all Hope products I have tested.
The thing that really separates these grip from all others though, is the way the tacky rubber compound covers the full length of the grip. Unlike most lock-on grips, the outer grip compound doesn't stop at the collars; rather it stretches right over the collars on both ends. The result, is that you gain a good 1.5-2 cm in contact area width, compared to grips with visible collars on the ends. This may not sound that significant, but it makes a dramatic improvement to the feel and look of the grip. The compound used for the grip is a super tacky and durable rubber, with a classic diamond pattern. Throughout my testing, they've remained grippy and comfortable, and they've proven durable too; even with mashing a good bit of grit into them during long winter rides, they quickly clean up with a bit of bike wash and a stiff brush.
The grips are finished off with very smart Hope branded bar end plugs. These are integrated into the grip itself, which is far better than using a set of independent plastic plugs, which inevitably fall out when you skim that tree or take a tumble.
Despite being packed with features and including two lock-on collars and plugs, a pair of Hope's SL grips still only weighs in at an incredible 94 grams. That's a weight that will be respected even by the 'Weight Weenies' amongst the mountain bike fraternity.
I really can't find anything to fault with these. They are hard wearing, lightweight, grippy, well-made, stylish and incredibly light. They will finish off any downhill bike bomber, cross-country whippet or all-mountain mile eater, in style.
View the Hope SL Handlebar Grip at Wiggle.co.uk (Link)