Deep Cush - The New Marin Grizzly Grips
The new Marin Grizzly Grips are here and they're more badass than a grizzly bear. Time to learn all about what makes them so special... and so cushy!
Introducing the Marin Grizzly Grips
For many bike brands, grips are an afterthought, purchased for the lowest price with little thought for comfort or performance. Not here at Marin though, no sirree. We're on a mission to make every bit of your bike the very best it can be.
Enter the new Marin Grizzly Grips, our 2nd generation of grip, designed in-house to be the very best that we can make them.
They're deep, they're comfy, they're kinda soft (but not too soft!) and they're plenty tough.
The Man With The Plan, CipDog
Let's start at the beginning, with Marin's MTB Product Manager Matt 'Cippy' Cipes. That's pronounced 'Sippy', by the way.
Cipdog (pronounced 'Sipdog'!) joined Marin back in 2015 and brought along a treasure trove of experience, amassed through years of designing components for the bike industry. You can get Marintroduced to him here.
Whilst working for our friends at another bike brand, Cip struck gold with the SipGrip, a grip that's a simple mix of waffle and diamond patterns. Chances are, you've ridden them on one bike or another.
The SipGrip taught Cip a huge amount about designing grips and was the perfect starting point for the Grizzly several years later.
Big Grip Cush
The master plan for the Grizzly was pretty simple.
"We just wanted to make a great grip" says Cippy. "Your grips are the most important contact point of your bike and we want them to feel right, especially for less experienced riders".
Cippy has spent a whole heap of time riding bikes and thinking about grips over the years. From all of that grip-gazing, he knew he wanted his new Grizzly to be wider, more cushioned and thicker than anything Marin had made before. But, at the same time, without it feeling like a big grip.
"Big grip cush without big grip feel" as Cippy says.
The Stealth Grizzly
The first step was what many might assume would come at the end of the process, the look of the grip.
Enter Mike Pfaltzgraff, graphic designer extraordinaire and the guy we met in our previous article 'Made for Fun'.
Mike is the creative genius that makes Marin look like Marin. Cippy and Mike moved the Grizzly from concept to design, digitally sketching out ideas to bring them to life and then turning them into 3D models that they could touch and feel.
Cippy and Mike knew from the start they wanted the Grizzly to be stealthy. Low key graphics and super subtle branding. They didn't want a grip that screamed MARIN! from the rooftops, simply one that kicked ass and that riders on any bike would be stoked to clamp to their bars.
Take a closer look at the outermost point of the grips and you'll see more of Mike's zig-zag patterns and shapes, designed to look like the trees of our favorite Californian forests and to match perfectly with our Trail Bar.
Simple, subtle but with a lot more going on than meets the eye.
Grizzlies for All Shapes and Sizes
Next stop was to decide the dimensions of the Grizzly. Cipes wanted Griz to be good for riders with hands of all sizes, big and small.
Those 3D models helped get a hands-on understanding of how the Grizzlies felt, and Cipes went for a longer-than-your-average 135mm, plus another 8mm for the locking clamp. Not huge, but roomy enough for big hands without excluding everyone else. And, plenty of room for freestyle riders to land those no-handers.
Unlike some grips, there's no outer lock ring, meaning more room for your hands and no uncomfortable metal lump on the outside edge to make your hands go numb. Thanks Cip, high five.
Lumps And Bumps, Zigs and Zags
You see all those lumps and bumps, zig-zags, gaps and grooves on the Grizzly? They're part of the secret sauce that Cippy has worked so hard on. You see, back in the old days, grips just used to be about soft rubber and grippy patterns. These days though, it's more complicated than that.
Grippy patterns are important, sure, but Cippy's theory is that it's more about how that grip moves in your hand. It's about negative space, it's about how soft or hard your grip's rubber is and about how the grip's pattern compresses when your hand squashes around it.
He calls it 'Compressive composure', meaning the way your grip moves, or doesn't move, when you're holding it and hammering a trail. Too much and you'll loose control or get arm pump, too little and you'll loose comfort and get sore hands. It needs to be just right.
To nail it, Cipes and Mike spent a whole heap of time on the zig-zag pattern you see on the Grizzly.
The top of the grip has what Cipes calls "cushioning pillows". These are soft, flexible areas that sit under your palm and are able to compress and absorb impacts. They squish just the right amount to be comfy but not so much that you'll feel your hand twisting like you're throttling your moto. That's that compressive composure we talked about.
Underneath the grip, where the tips of your fingers meet, the pattern changes to long, horizontal ribs. Whilst these don't look like much, they're the glue that keep your hands locked in place, particularly in the wet.
Last but not least, Cipes had a wild idea to add something totally new to Griz. He'd always noticed that his grips take a hammering at the inside where his thumbs sit. So, he designed a little recess that adds comfort and grip. "You can wrap your hand around them and it feels really good" he says. No arguments here.
Soft Like Rubber, Tough Like Bear
With the pattern, look and feel nailed Cipes was able to get to work on the really juicy stuff. This is where it gets a little more complicated, so listen up at the back!
Ever heard of durometer? Durometer is geek-speak for how hard or soft a material is, and it's super important for grips.
Cippy tested a whole heap of different rubbers, with a whole heap of different durometers for the outside of the Grizzlies. "We tested all the way down to a super-soft compound, but it was too much" says Cippy "if a grip is too soft, you'll hold on too hard, over grip and get arm pump. The right amount means the right grip".
In the end, he went for a rubber that has almost exactly the same durometer as a rubber band, for that perfect cush. In your hand it feels great, with a hint of squish and a super safe, super comfy feeling on the trail, all still with plenty of durability.
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