Deity Knuckleduster grips
Reviewed By Eric Smith
It’s the little things in life, right? Grips, pedals, and saddles are some of the unsung heroes of bike components. They’re relatively inexpensive and “boring” compared to things like suspension, wheels or drivetrain, but as the only 3 points of contact between the rider and the bike, choice of these components plays a huge factor in how a bike feels.
Deity’s Knuckleduster grip has a single inboard clamp and features a soft-yet-durable compound that’s half waffled and half ribbed. There’s a tapered inner sleeve to improve contact between the inner part of the grip and the bar, and the 3mm clamp bolts come with blue loctite already on them. It’s not the slimmest grip out there, but it’s also not the chunkiest – striking a nice Goldilocks-esque balance. At just a hair over 100mm long, they should give most hands good breathing room without feeling overly spacious. Finally, the Knuckleduster comes in 6 different colors so that the fashion-forward among us can get all matchy.
Torque is very important with any single clamp lock-on grip since there is only one clamp to keep things from twisting, but you can’t go ape on that one little bolt lest you break the clamp, or worse, your fancy carbon handlebar.
Fear not, as installing the Knuckledusters isn’t any more complicated than any other lock-on grip (read: it’s extremely simple). Clean your handlebar with a degreaser to make sure the surface is spotless and not greasy. If you’ve got it, a little bit of friction paste around the inside of the clamping area is never a bad idea, especially if you’re clamping things to a carbon bar. Rotate the grip until the pattern is where you want it, then give the outside of the grip a solid whack to make sure the tapered inner sleeve is well-seated with the bar. Finally, use a torque wrench to tighten down the 3mm bolt. Deity recommends a max torque of 5Nm. If you don’t have a torque wrench, today’s the day to buy one. I go right up to the max torque, but not over, because I like my grips to stay put and my handlebar to not snap in half.
I always gravitated toward single clamp grips because I like to ride with my pinky fingers on the very outside of the bar. Grips like the Knuckleduster that don’t have a clamp on the outside of the grip make it significantly more comfortable to ride this way. I’d say they’re even more comfortable than most single clamp grips in this regard because they maintain their shape and feel all the way up to the edge of the grip, unlike some others. That single clamp has done an excellent job holding things down, and I’ve never had problems with them twisting on me. I don’t have the biggest hands and I tend to prefer a little more “feel” of the handlebar, so for the last several years I’ve run pretty slim lock-on grips on my mountain bikes. When I first installed the Knuckledusters they felt a bit thicker than the RaceFace Half Nelsons I had been using previously. This sensation died down after a handful (*zing*) of rides, and I’ve actually come to enjoy the slightly larger diameter and soft compound. The Half Nelsons are comfy grips, but on sustained, rocky downhills I notice less forearm fatigue with the Knuckledusters.
The pattern has give to it so that it feels soft to the touch and offers great grip. Another benefit of this ribbed pattern is that it manages sweat extremely well. It’s summertime here in Northwest Arkansas, and even on extremely hot and humid rides – the kind where you can wring sweat from your gloves just by squeezing your fist – the level of grip from the Knuckledusters has been fantastic. This was an area where the Half Nelsons did not perform as well, becoming a little slippery when it was rainy or hands/gloves were sweaty. On that note, I always wear thin gloves, so I have not put in a long ride on these grips with bare hands. They do have a very soft feel, and they seem like they would be equally comfy without gloves.
In terms of durability, I’ve been riding the Knuckledusters on my primary bike for about 4 months now, and they still look and feel brand new. The outsides of the grips have seen a handful of crashes and drops but they aren’t horribly chewed up or punctured. For a grip that offers this level of comfort and feels so soft in hand, I’ve been extremely impressed at the durability.
Grips are a highly subjective component choice, so maybe these won’t work for everyone. That said, the Deity Knuckledusters are some of the best grips I’ve used. If you know you like a medium-thickness grip, I don’t think you’ll find a thing to fault with them. If you’re currently riding a super slim grip, I’d encourage you to have an open mind and give these a shot. After a couple rides I bet they’ll feel like home and you’ll enjoy the added comfort. Oh, and at $22/pair MSRP, they also happen to be one of the best deals going for lock-on grips. If you’re in NWA, head over to Mojo Cycles and grab a set.