Handlebar Grip - Portuguese Tree Cork - grooved and punched for Barend shifters
May 2019 eta update: these have been on backorder since Oct 2018 and we do not know when or if they'll ever be back in stock. The factory is having a hard time sourcing high quality cork at a reasonable cost. Prepare for the worst and be pleasantly surprised if they happen to return.
Sold per pair.
CORK GRIPS written May 6th 2016
Please note: Test these out on your bars without glue first. If they're super-too-tight, then don't be afraid to take a rat tail file to the inside of the grip and take some material away.
No doubt to the consternation of some, but on the other hand, to the delight of others, we got a new shape cork grip, and this is the one we’re going with for several years. They’re skinnier and longer and equidiamater for their length. They feel great.
Since there’s slightly less cork (and since cork itself isn’t exactly a tough, twistable synthetic), you have to lube the bar with glue and push/twist/pull them on with the idea that you just spent $30+ for bicycle grips, and we won’t believe you if you say, “they came broken.”
Now the fun stuff: They’re supremely light, slightly cushy, good-enough grippy. They’ll make any bike look better. They’re grippiest raw, but we always shellac them clear (darkens them a hair) or with amber (makes them amber-ish). Then they stay cleaner longer. If you find you need even more grip—doubtful yet possible—bring ‘em down a notch with a double-wrap of a fat blue broccoli rubberband.
If you want cheaper tougher grippier, we’ve got those too, and so does every bike shop in town plus Amazon. But we’re the only ones in the world with these. Not the only ones with cork grips, but the other cork grips are pressed together like Prest-O Logs from scrap cork crumbs, and held together with glue. The still feeeel good and look alright, but ours are genuine ring cork from a small wine bottle cork maker in Portugal, the cork capitol of the world.
Two styles (sold as pair):
For bar-end shifters: Grooved and slotted and holey at both ends. Can’t hold water.
Normal: NOT for bar-end shifters. Like most grips. Holds water.
Older write up begins here:
These are totally unnecessary but really good, because they are made in Portugal, which is not famous only for cod and flannel, but cork, too.
Portuguese cork trees make the best cork in the world.
But the Portuguese cork industry is suffering because there's a shift in the wine industry to fake corks. It's hurting the cork-tree-farmers and the lot of cork trees in general, not to mention cork-makers. So, these scrappy, feisty, stiff-upper-lip, ne'er-say-die types contacted us and said you got something you need made out of cork? Talk to us Portuguese cork makers, the world's foremost utmost cork professionals, and test our can-doooooo spirit.
How they found us is a mystery, but they did and asked if we needed cork-things. We said yes, we want cork grips. They said "cork" we get; what's a grip?, and we said cork hand grips for bicycle handlebars. They said easy, send us a drawing. We said drawing? They said or a sample, man--something to go by, you know? We said that's better, and so we sent a sample of our current cork grips and of the bars they go on.
After three attempts they nailed the inside diameter (the most critical), and then it was just a matter of the shape. There's no use over-thinking the shape. There is a strong temptation, but it is a circular time-sink. The human hand adapts to anything reasonable, right?
We picked a good shape, they made it, and now we have them. Sometime we may get another variation of this shape, but they'll be fungible, for sure.
You may want to know how they're different from the cork grips we've been selling up to now, besides being made in Portugal, which is famous for its cod and flannel besides cork. It's the difference between a Presto-log and a Log-log, a Presto-log and a Stump. Both work, and the Taiwan cork grips have served admirably forever and always will. I found out about them in the Bstone days when Stella there at Velo told me about them and I wanted to use them on Bstones, but the need to glue killed the deal. She later gave me a Waterford Pen&Pencil Set, maroon it was if I remember, and I lost it two weeks later, no fault of hers.
These grips have rings, like fly rod grips. They are not formed by mixing micro cork scraps with glue and pressing the amalgamation into shape, like a Presto-Log, not that that's a bad thing. It's recycling cork bits, is what it is, recycling cork bits. But the Stump Section/Ring cork, the kind on fly rod grips and wine bottles, shows the natural character of the cork, intact as it is when it is bark on a tree, but then just cut into rings-like-wheels-or-doughnuts, and the rings are glued together.
From a distance you can't tell. Tactically you might be able to tell but you can't honestly prefer one over the other. The aesthetics are different, but aesthetics are a dangerous place to go. ("Aesthetic", like "selfless" and the expressions "sadder but wiser" and "water everywhere but not a drop to drink" and "albatross around one's neck" were first used by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, one of two founding fathers or whatever of the romantic poetry movement, in England, late 1700s.)
Let's not get snobbish over cork, but if you like the idea of buying cork grips made in Portugal, famous for its cod and flannel besides its cork, then pay the extra few $$ and get these (or a little more for the pre-punched and double-grooved ready for bar end shifters). It is the way cork grips would be made if they were made for Kings and Queens with Taste and Standards.
These are for you people who are using barend shifters--pre grooved and with the end punched out. You may want to wrap the shifter cable to the grip with twine. Here's a link that shows how to do it. It doesn't show the cork grip, but you can extrapolate.
HOW TO INSTALL THE CORK GRIPS SO THEY WON'T COME OFF ALLOFASUDDIN
1.Use 3M super 77 Spray Adhesive, Gorilla Glue, or Permatex Adhesive.
2.Follow the instructions.
All are available in hardware, home supply, art stores. and maybe car-supply stores. They're useful for things other than cork grips; esp the Gorilla. It's the latest/greatest glue out there, and works as well as it claims to.
Follow the specific glue's instructions. With 77, let it get tacky before pushing on the grips, and let it set at least 24 hrs. With Permatex, push the grips on right away, but again, let 'em set up at least 24 hours. GGlue---just follow the instructions, and don't overdue it.
Cork grips can be washed, easily. And, you can wrap bar tape over them if you like. And, you can copy Rich Lesnik and put sixteen layers of shellack over them to make them real shiny. Just make sure they're tight. We want you to be safe, that's all.
** A note for those with Latex allergies: These grips are 100% virgin cork, and not dust particle cork, and no latex is involved at all. However, medical grade surgical sealant (fibrin) is used to stick the cork sections together.
Not using barend shifters? Then get the "normal" style cork grips.
Sold per pair.