Gropes are an unusual alternative to both flat bar grips and drop bar tape. The lace-up leather is certainly eyecatching, and chances are that'll be the reason you buy them. If high-performance is your primary concern, you should probably look elsewhere.
We had the flat bar length, and in the box you get the Gropes themselves, made from vegetable-tanned Italian cowhide, two laces and two cork bar-end plugs emblazoned with the Gropes logo. Fitting them is straightforward in essence, although getting them to lace up evenly takes a bit of work; it took me three goes to get the lacing fairly even. If you get the long version, and you have drop bar levers, you'll have to cut around the lever mount. Remember to measure twice and cut once...
There's a load of different lace patterns you can use, of course, and picking one is part of the fun. With eight different colours and six lace colours you can mix and match to suit your bike just so.
Once they're on an adhesive strip and the lacing itself holds them firmly in place and you can hide the extra laces behind the cork bar-end plug. To begin with they're a bit slippery, although they get better after a bit of use and a few soakings in the rain. They start to look better when they've acquired a bit of a patina too.
If it's sofa-like levels of comfort you're after, though, best look elsewhere: the leather offers fairly minimal padding so bumpy surfaces transfer plenty of road shock to your hands. Like I said though, Gropes are mostly about the look, and you'll have to put up with being not quite as comfy as you would be with some standard grips or cork tape if you want the look.
A good-looking and distinctive alternative to standard grips or bar tape, but don't expect masses of comfort or grip.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Gropes Short Gropes
Size tested: Brown
The idea was inspired by original leather-wrap grips, but recreated with a twist. Gropes are hand-made from high quality leather with pre-punched holes.
with extra-long laces. They are available in two sizes and many colour combinations. And if you know how to tie a shoelace, you know how to fit Gropes.
The leather strips are 75mm wide. The intentional gap this creates, makes for a more pronounced lacing effect. It's a better look and a better grip.
We use a high-quality vegetable tanned cowhide from Italy, personally selected for us by Alison Lloyd, the Founder of Ally Capellino. It is a leather thats stays flexible and moulds to its job. Gropes leathers are supplied with pre-punched holes and heavy-duty double-sided tape on the reverse.
Available in six colours: black, brown, natural, honey, red and yellow and cobalt.
Our laces are made from 100% Polyester. This makes for a harder-wearing product.
Because Gropes laces work just like shoelaces, discovering your own preferred lacing style is all part of the fun of customisation. Visit this great website that boasts it will show you 35 different ways to lace shoes: www.fieggen.com/shoelace.
Depends whether you rate performance as the ability to look good, or the ability to function as a grip.
Last well and get better with age.
Not the Gropes' strongest suit. Hard with not much padding.
At £25 for the short ones and £39 for the long ones they're hardly extortionate for a quality leather product.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Again, performed well at looking nice, not so well at being comfy.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
They look good.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
They're not very comfy.
Did you enjoy using the product? I enjoyed looking at them. They look nice.
Would you consider buying the product? For the right bike, yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? For the right bike, yes.
About the tester
Age: 40 Height: 190cm Weight: 102kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.