Crankbrothers is well known for ignoring traditional designs and coming up with something new. With these Cobalt lock-on grips, practically the only thing you’ll recognise will be the Allen bolts. The grips are made from two sleeves of plastic that slide together. The inner sleeve slots into a groove on the outer casing, creating a blunt ridge along the whole length of the grip. When I initially set them up I had the ridge to the front, which felt pretty good. The shape fitted the natural curve of my fingers and even provided a bit of extra purchase for hanging on up steep climbs. But it was a pretty fine gap between the grip and the lever when I was braking, so I turned the pointy bit around to face towards the rear. Set up like this, it was a completely different grip. When I get tired while riding I usually find that my wrists drop and my hand position changes. The blunt ridge of the Cobalt grip keeps your wrists straight, which in turn stops you from getting numb fingers and sore arms. It also keeps you in a more controlled riding position even when you’re a bit fatigued. The grips I’ve been testing are early production prototypes of what’s on the shelves now. The newer models have a thinner profile, which is good because the grips’ thickness was my only gripe. Supposedly they’re non-slip grips, and over the five months I’ve been running them the foam outer has moved only slightly. It’s not noticeable under your fingers, and only the embossed Crankbrothers logos give it away. I tested the foam Cobalt grips (95 gm) but there is also an Iodine model (136 gm) that uses Kraton rubber for the grip. I did find my foam pair got a little slippery when riding gloveless in the wet, but with gloves they hooked up well. The foam still shows little sign of wear. Given their comfort, light weight and durability I’d have no trouble recommending these grips. CALEB SMITH
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