There are a lot of different grip designs out there, but the majority all have one thing in common. They’re round. Or round-ish. There are also a number of “ergo” grips, but even many of those have round portions. Sushi Grips use a different design entirely.

The work of inventor Sean Madsen, Sushi Grips came about while thinking of his favorite food – sushi. Observing the way he gripped a hand roll, and thinking about the way our hand forms a conical grip section when relaxed (instead of cylindrical), Sean thought round grips might not be the way to go.

Instead, Sushi Grips are optimized for the best grip of every finger with a smaller diameter towards your ring and pinky finger. The edges are meant to interface with the natural angles of your fist when you grip the bar which is said to allow for increased control without requiring a death grip on the bar. There’s also a large top platform that is supposed to increase support on the most padded part of your palm for better comfort and reduced numbness.


Key to design is the fact that about half of the grip is actually too small in diameter to fit over the bar. Because of that, the Sushi Grip overhangs the end and adds 65mm in length per side to your bar. That means your 670mm bars are suddenly 800mm. That could be great news for riders on narrower bars who have been wanting to try something wider, but if you’re already riding wide bars – you’ll have to cut them down to get the same width. And you’ll be stuck with the new shortened bar if you decide you don’t like the grips. With a core made from reinforced nylon, Sushi Grips says the design will be strong enough to endure aggressive riding.

But for now, the grips only exist in prototype form. To get them to production, Sushi Grips is pushing a Kickstarter campaign with grips starting at $40 a set. You can also order a set of grips already installed on an aluminum or carbon bar cut to your specified width for $100 or $200.

The production grips will be made in Colorado, and if the Kickstarter is successful, grips should arrive by March 1, 2018.

sushigrips.com

kickstarter.com

30 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve been wanting to try a grip for a while that had a smaller circumference for the pinky finger to get better wrap. A lot of grips have been going the opposite way, like the new ESI model for instance, in an effort to give better cush on the outside edge of the hand, but with a round design you end up having the fattest part of the grip being wrapped by the shortest finger. A non round, asym design like this allows for the top surface contouring to be done separately from tuning pinky wrap, which is cool.

    Angles on the grip as seen here, that fit into the corners of the joints of the closed fist, do seem like they’d give a more secure purchase than simply relying on friction as with a round grip, although it can be tricky to ensure they are positioned appropriately, particularly with the wide variation in bar angles, hand sizes, and riding postures. Hopefully they have found a way to offer most of the benefits without being restrictive or limiting.

    Cutting the bars down could be a tough sell, but I’d be willing to bust out an old set of narrow bars, just to try the grip shape, and then if they deliver on their promises you could cut down your new primo bars with more confidence in the end result being what you want.

    • I’ve been prototyping and figuring out the shape for almost 2 years. Logged hundred of hours on them and every other grip out there. The only way to get the ideal shape is to think outside the box (or the round bar)! Yes, I recommend either backing the project at a level where you get a bar as well as grips, or go source a recycled/ re-use an old bar so you can try the shape an experience it first.

  2. At 65mm of nylon length beyond the bar, I’d want to see some destruction testing compared to a traditional bar/grip to make sure my sushi rolls don’t fall apart on first bite!
    If they are as strong, I’d give em a go.. my hands have been terrible this year.

    • HI Jonny, They are incredibly strong. We don’t still ride round tube aluminum frames, right? I’ve smashed them on rocks, taken big drops and jumps, and pounded rock gardens – all with confidence and no issue.

      • Fair enough, but we don’t ride around on nylon bikes either 😉
        I think empirical testing has to be front and center as lets be realistic, your riding and how much dynamic loading you put through the bars/grips will be very different to Richie Rude and very different to a beginner just starting out and different to every other rider.

        Essentially you are entering into handlebar structural testing as by design., the grips are required to serve as a handlebar. That’s potentially a pretty frightening space to occupy when you consider Alan Ide, Easton CT2.

        I remain genuinely interested but, I need to see this done 😉
        https://youtu.be/323Fqq4p3_U

  3. There is something existentially terrifying about a grip that isn’t completely one the bar, although if they get some prototypes out in the world I’d certainly bet willing to try them. The only problem they (and all ergo grips) have is the existence of the might Tenthal Kevlar glue on grip, which I’m convinced is made by witchcraft.

  4. I love this idea, could be great for my sometimes numb hands. Broken a wrist and crushed a few fingers… The idea that the end of my bars under my hands is even the best long fiber reinforced nano-resin makes me nervous thinking about railing a turn after crashing or hitting a tree with them. The ends of my bars tend to get pretty beat up after a while. Really need some empirical as well as observational data on these before I test them. Like I said my hands are already pretty messed up.

    • Lots of engineering work has been done to ensure they are as strong or stronger than a round aluminum tube. Like I said above, we don’t ride round aluminum tube bikes anymore, do we? If you hands are already messed up, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain!

      • I agree they look like they could help my hands. As someone with quite a bit of experience with long fiber injection molding I agree they could be strong. Once some serious testing has been done on production samples I will try them to be sure. But again the mode of failure for this type of material means complete loss of control of the bike. From my experience, engineering data does not always equal real world results. But I’m hopeful I will see these in the retail environment soon.

    • Hi Tom, you can back the project at a level where you get a bar with the grips, or you can recycle/reuse an existing bar from a local source to try it before you commit to cutting your existing bars

  5. I love it when a product idea comes about organically from inspiration outside of the home industry…One question though, so I already have a swanky carbon bar that is 800mm in length that I’m really attached to. Per the manufacturer’s instructions, it can’t be shortened past 750mm safely other wise warranties are voided, etc.

    If I add the Sushi grips to said handlebar it pushes the width out to a whopping 880mm even at the trim minimum. That width will be way to wide for my liking, way too cumbersome and I’m not sure I’d fit down a majority of the singletrack trails found nearly anywhere.

    I’m curious what the work-around is given some bars have butting profiles, shapes and/or dimensions that may interfere with the trimming to accommodate the grips and still achieve your desired/ideal bar width.

    All said, the design does show some promise and I’d be curious to try them. Carbon and oversized everything has added a pronounced degree of harshness to MTB’s these days…..

    • There’s certainly incompatibility present in this industry, that’s no surprise. But you’re right, hand numbness is much more rampant than it was 5 years ago. This is also mirrored on the road. Tapered steerers, 35.0 clamps, stiff stems, and wheels; front ends are much stiffer than they were. You could always get the bar/grip combo and then ebay your existing bar.

  6. I got to test these prototypes of these in the last week. Sean knows his craft. These gave me a great feeling of security when I was riding – comfort and strength. They also felt super solid! No flexing, creaking, or other feelings that something was weaker about these than a conventional grip.

  7. Against the grain, I’ve sort of preferred narrower bars. I caved to the current crop of wide bars and have become used to 750mm. That being said, I have several higher end carbon bars I can bring back from the dead with these grips.
    May have to track down your kickstarter.

  8. I’ve had a chance to ride a prototype of these grips. The additional level of control you have to muscle around the cockpit of your bike is honestly quite stunning. I’ve been riding with the ends of my palms partially wrapped over the ends of my grips for years to try and achieve better control over the front end. But with the wings on these grips as well as the narrower grip diameter for ring and pinky fingers, I get more control and no longer have to sacrifice my hand if I get too close to a tree. Support innovation! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2133636136/sushi-grips-revolutionary-new-mountain-bike-grips?ref=discovery

  9. I have been fiddling with the same concept for few years, first using blended bar extension, but all you really need to do is leaving the lock on grips a little bit past the end of the bars. It does add a level of cushioning, but it is best suitable for leasure rides. I would be interested in trying this product. However hand discomfort/pain is generated by wrong diameter grips and mostly by wrong posture and bike set up.

    • I couldn’t agree more, That some hand discomfort is caused by improper positioning. Hey I’ve been a fitter for 20 years! I’ve seen thousands upon thousands of cyclists, and know the human body well enough to say there isn’t one fix for everyone. For some people it’s improper positioning, for some it’s history or pre-disposition, for others it’s lack of padding, for some it’s too much padding. BUT, I and a lot of my colleagues are seeing quite a rise in the incidence of hand issues over the last 3-5 years. Plus, the biggest benefit to Sushi Grips, and my main design goal, was to create a grip that makes you a better bike rider, not just alleviate symptoms.

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