Review: Dapper Dans Touring Review

dapperdanreview

(I’ve had my Dapper Dans on my 3speed townie, but how are they on longer rides? Laura rides and reviews them.)

I’ve never had a particularly favorable opinion about grips for bicycle handlebars. Until trying these Dapper Dan Ergo Grips from Portland Design Works, my experience with grips had been limited to the plastic variety with the little nubs that are supposed to sit between your fingers. I can’t remember which bike those used to be on, but I know that I got rid of them. And if my pinky fingers hadn’t started going numb on long rides, I might never have given it a second thought. But, numb they went – on our trip out to Joshua Tree, my pinky fingers lost pretty much all sensation for several days – and I let Russ talk me into trying out these Dapper Dan leather grips. “You can review them afterwards,” he said. So, we put them on my bike before our Dirt Mulholland ride, and here I am writing a review.

When I ride, I tend to rest on the heel of my hands, instead of actually gripping the bars – which is probably why I was getting such numbness in my little fingers. It’s also why I am so in love with these grips – the ergonomic design provides a huge amount of cushion for your hands – kind of like those gel pads that you put in front of your keyboard at work. Bounding down Dirt Mulholland, up and over ruts and rocks, my hands were perfectly comfortable. And no numbness!

Now, I recognize that the cushion factor is probably a plus with just about any kind of grip. But, these grips have a design which I think makes them stand out. Instead of a tension fit, each grip has two screws – one at each end – to secure it to the bar. Tighten the screws and the plastic rings at each end close in tighter around the bar – which means that when you go up and over a bump and come down hard on the bars, the grips stay put – and you don’t end slamming your elbow into your knee.

What else do I like? Why, the classy design, of course. They’re made from really beautiful leather that’s stitched up on one side. I imagine that these grips would slowly become an old friend, forming to the contours of your hands, and becoming more and more comfortable over time, much like you get with a Brooks saddle.

The only problem I have had with these grips is one of our own making. When we put them on the first time, we put them on backwards, so the tops of the screws at the outer edge stuck up and I kept running into them with my hands. Needless to say this was not particularly comfortable, and I was thrilled to discover that it was only user error. As soon as we flipped them, the screw problem went away. So, as a word to the wise, when you get your own pair, make sure you fasten them with the screw on the bottom instead of the top.

Definitely recommend.