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Gropes Short Gropes



Good-looking and distinctive alternative to standard grips or bar tape, but don't expect masses of comfort or grip

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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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. test report

Make and model: Gropes Short Gropes

Size tested: Brown

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?

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:

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:

Depends whether you rate performance as the ability to look good, or the ability to function as a grip.

Rate the product for durability:

Last well and get better with age.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:

Not the Gropes' strongest suit. Hard with not much padding.

Rate the product for value:

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.

Overall rating: 6/10

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, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.

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mcj78 | 11 years ago

Make your own similar set of grips using off-cuts of 3.5mm thick saddle leather, an awl to punch holes & tie it all together with either thin shoelaces or sailmakers waxed cotton thread - i've cobbled together enough to do about 3 sets of grips with random bits bought from ebay for about £10... which is just as well as i've made an arse of the first set by not accounting for the thickness of the leather & they've turned out a couple of mm short... but as the leather is so thick it'll stretch pretty well should I ever be arsed to remove them & do this... however, as stated in the article, the gap really does accentuate the stitching pattern... which is all to cock - i'll fix that at some point too... and the edges of the leather need skived as I used an old scalpel & the finish is a bit raggedy...

what's that website again?  22

dave atkinson | 11 years ago

LOLing at undergropes

disclosure: that pic isn't of them fitted to my bike, it's from the gropes gallery. i do have one of mine looking very similar, albeit slightly less tidy. i'll find it.

andyspaceman | 11 years ago

Sounds like they need to offer some kind of 'undergropes'. Maybe a thin gel pad that wraps round your bar that you then fit the grope on top of.

jackh | 11 years ago

Finding it a bit hard to visualise what these look like... Any chance of a photo of them fitted to your bike?

antonio replied to jackh | 11 years ago
jackh wrote:

Finding it a bit hard to visualise what these look like... Any chance of a photo of them fitted to your bike?

Go to Nonusual Gropes site there are dozens of bikes users have sent in their gallery.

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