The fingers naturally scribe a rectangular profile that the SQlab grips emulate. SQlab's more dramatically shaped 611-style grip (bottom) illustrates the more conservative shape of the all-mountain-style 711 MX.
SQlab's minimally profiled 711 MX grip is designed to bring the comfort of a true ergonomic profile to technical riders who require multiple hand positions. Note that the "wing" is relieved on its underside so the fingers can rest anywhere on the grip.
|SQlab's 711 MX grips, at 145 millimeters (5.75 inches) are longer than most, but because the locking collar is outboard, the thinly tapered inner end of grip can be cut to suit. We left them full length because our test bike was fitted with longer, two-finger Avid brake levers. Riders sporting Shimano XT and XTR shorty levers will probably need to slice five or ten millimeters from the grip to position the lever blades correctly. Unless you get lucky, one ride will not be enough to ensure that the SQlab grips are properly rotated to match your hands. Most users will be trying profiled grips for the first time - which initially seems weird compared to round grips, so no hand position feels spot on. Like fitting cleats to clip-in style shoes, it takes a couple of tries to find a good placement - and then three or four rides to figure out that last minor adjustment that makes them fit perfectly. The process may also require a slight change in the rotation of your handlebar as well.|
The reward for the installation fuss factor of SQlab's ergo MX grips is a truly secure feeling and a lighter, more comfortable grasp on the bars. The small "wing" which was a concern at first, stayed clear while we were out of the saddle, and functioned well when we were seated or pedaling in earnest. Once the hands adapted to the new shape, it was going back to round that felt awkward. Are SQlab MX grips for everybody? Probably not. Gravity riders busting out six-minute downhills don't need them, and unless you install MX grips on all of your bikes, switching between round and ergo-profile shapes can be confusing. Grips function as points of communication, so it takes a while for the brain and hands to re-sync. Riders who stand to gain the most from SQlab 711 MX grips are the ones who use one bike for every situation - and those of us who hammer out the big rides, like all-mountain Alpine-style epics with extended climbs and half-hour descents. - RC
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