Fabric Silicone Grips are a simple, low density design available in a choice of five colours. They provide good purchase and protection, but are better suited to flat-bar road-biased builds than mountain bikes.
The kit comprises two sleeves and two end plugs. Silicone rubbers have a good reputation for tactile, leach-like purchase that gets better the wetter conditions become. Rather than taking the slick route, Fabric has employed a criss-cross 'tread' pattern for additional purchase.
Ergonomic – one of those words bandied about so frequently its meaning can be lost – in this instance refers to a subtle, ovalised profile, which supposedly rests more naturally in the hand, lessening fatigue over longer distances. At 13.5cm, there's plenty of length for most cockpits, although users of bar ends or traffic jammers who cut down theirs to squeeze through tighter gaps will need to trim a bit off.
Otherwise, getting them aboard the bar proved easier than their profiles suggested. A liberal blast of hairspray provides a bit of lubricant and also prevents them rotating later on, especially in torrential rain. Pop in those end plugs and you're away.
Formative bare-handed, five-mile commutes suggested Fabric has got the mix right; the profiles felt natural to hold, the density didn't detract from a sleek look and provided excellent insulation from low-level vibration, man hole covers, washboard tarmac – the stuff synonymous with town centre streets. Grip is perfect for split-second flicking round holes and other hazards.
Five miles or so is pretty much my limit without gloves/mitts, and my palms were showing early signs of branding/fatigue, though no worse than with other decent quality foam/composite types.
Otherwise, I've been able to cruise along open roads in complete comfort and control, the damping and grip coming into its own. They're pretty good in mixed terrain contexts too. That said, more aggressive, full-blooded trail hammering calls for thicker density gloves and even with the hairspray, white knuckle rides along swooping singletrack saw them rotate very slightly.
Everyday brushes against brickwork and rendered surfaces, when parking up, say, have made negligible impression on their integrity so far. However, in keeping with most silicone coverings I've tested recently, the red has cultivated a grimy patina, the sort that develops following a few roadside mechanicals. Personally, I'd go for the black but they're scrubbing up pretty well, given a quick blast of bike wash and tickled with a medium stiff brush.
A locking clamp would extend their horizons to mountain biking, but otherwise, these seem a decent set of grips for general riding and at a decent price.
Nice grips offering excellent purchase and control; a better option for touring and commuting than trail riding
road.cc test report
Make and model: Fabric Silicone Grip
Size tested: diameter 32mm, length 135mm
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Fabric says: "The Silicone push-on grip is discreetly ovalised to provide high comfort and an ergonomic shape.
"Made from ultra durable medical grade silicone and features our rubberised bar ends to stop scuffs."
Comfortable grips for general, road biased riding.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Medical grade silicone, rubberised ends.
Seems pretty hardy thus far, though I'd probably go for black.
Generally very good in gloved or bare hands.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, they've proven a very nice, comfortable grip for commuting, touring and general road riding. Paired with thicker gloves, they're not bad for light trail diversions but more enthused hammering calls for a locking clamp system.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Nice texture that feels right in the palm and works well in gloved or bare hands (for shorter spins).
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing in particular.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, for touring and commuting.
Use this box to explain your score
Nice grips overall, although lack of locking clamp and density means they're a better bet for road riding than trails.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)