Sushi Grips - revolutionary new mountain bike grips project video thumbnail
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$8,016 pledged of $57,500 goal
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By Sean Madsen
$8,016 pledged of $57,500 goal
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What is a prototype?

A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:

Proof of Concept

Explorations that test ideas and functionality.

Functional Prototype

Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.

Appearance Prototype

Looks like the final product, but is not functional.

Design Prototype

Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.

Production Prototype

Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.

8f50eaa4f755af98bf569c2f79a3ae61 original

Prototype Gallery

These photos and videos provide a detailed look at this project’s development.

About

Update! Testimonials!

Nicole D -When I got on these grips I instantly felt a difference and thought, why haven't we been riding with these from the beginning. The concept makes perfect sense and I felt they put me in optimal positioning for a more detailed and advanced riding experience. These grips will help to catapult any mountain bikers technique and enjoyment instantly. Why didn't we think of this earlier!!

Brandon D - So, I tested these a few weeks ago and I instantly felt like I could lean the bike over much further while cornering. They instantly gave me more confidence when railing a corner. If Sean can get the funding to get this going this is the grip every one will be talking about next summer. It will be beneficial to new and experienced riders alike IMO. Help a forward thinking long-time bike industry veteran get this going! Make a pledge and support his entrepreneurial spirit! 

Kevin B -  I got to test these prototypes of these in the last week. Sean knows his craft. These gave me a great feeling of security when I was riding – comfort and strength. They also felt super solid! No flexing, creaking, or other feelings that something was weaker about these than a conventional grip.  

Jason V - I’ve had a chance to ride a prototype of these grips. The additional level of control you have to muscle around the cockpit of your bike is honestly quite stunning. I’ve been riding with the ends of my palms partially wrapped over the ends of my grips for years to try and achieve better control over the front end. But with the wings on these grips as well as the narrower grip diameter for ring and pinky fingers, I get more control and no longer have to sacrifice my hand if I get too close to a tree. Support innovation!

THE CHALLENGE

Have ever had a hard time holding onto your handlebars in rough, technical terrain? Do you have a tough time keeping up with your buddies on the downhill? Or maybe you get sore or numb hands? Do you have to rest your forearms and hands halfway down a descent? Something about the standard mountain bike handlebar and grip shape was not matching up to the shape of our hands. I realized that this inequality was affecting our control of the bike, and causing us to get achy hands.

Grips should enhance your control of your bike, not just be something to hold on to!  

SCIENCE BRINGS INNOVATION

When we grasp something, most of the force of holding comes from our ring and pinky fingers. This is called our power grip. This is because those fingers act in opposition to the thumb. Couple this with the fact that muscles have a range in which they are the strongest, called a tension-length relationship. Think of your biceps. The muscle is not very strong when our arm is fully extended. That muscle is the strongest when the angle of the elbow is about 90 degrees. For the fingers, this tension-length relationship is optimized when the hand is almost closed. Now take your hand and close it into a fist. Then relax your finger muscles but don’t extend your fingers. Take a look at the shape that your hand has now.

Relaxed hand shape
Relaxed hand shape

 It’s conical! It’s not cylindrical! The gap at the pinky and ring fingers is much smaller than the gap at the index and middle fingers. This means that for most riders, the diameter of the handlebar and grip are too large for the pinky and ring finger to work their best! I had the inspiration for this concept was while eating my favorite food, sushi, noticing how fingers held a hand roll, and how different this was from a handlebar. 

Inspirational moment!
Inspirational moment!

MORE CONTROL AND CONFIDENCE

Sushi Grips gives you greater control of your bike by creating a grip that has grasping surfaces that are optimized for each individual finger. This allows better handlebar control with less soreness and fatigue, and giving you confidence in the rough stuff. Sushi Grips also allows you to corner harder, with more speed. The wing on the outside allows the side of your hand to press the bike down, leaning the bike more and tightening the turning radius.

Average rider's corner vs. aggressively leaning bike
Average rider's corner vs. aggressively leaning bike

 NUMB HANDS?

Hand numbness is a common problem with biking. The cause can be pressure on the nerves close to the wrist, but also the round bar shape impacts the crease of our palm. This causes that achy feeling on rough descents. Sushi grips top platform distributes the pressure to the more padded parts of your palm, away from the nerves in the wrist and the crease in your palm. The result is a comfortable hand position for climbing while increasing control when you need it.

top platform provides relief from numb and achy hands
top platform provides relief from numb and achy hands

WHY KICKSTARTER?

The design is  finalized, and now your help is needed. To get to production of these revolutionary grips, molds must be made so the grips can be injection molded, and have a soft, gripping surface. The money raised will go to the final design drawings, The fabrication of the molds, and the first production run. This first production run will be just for backers of this project. All of the production will take place here in beautiful Colorado, but can be shipped anywhere in the world. Once funding is secure, the final design and tooling will happen before January 1, 2018. Production will happen in January and early February, with packaging and shipping late February to arrive at your house around March 1.  There are some technical details of grip installation: because the grips socket on the end of the bars. This will widen out your bars. For some of you this may be a good thing. For others you might consider trimming your bars back down to get the width you are used to riding. Or you can save the hassle and back Sushi Grips at a level where I will deliver a bar/grip combo, at the width, rise, and clamp diameter you specify.

TECHNOLOGY

Sushi Grips patent pending design uses some innovative concepts that allowed us think outside the box of normal grip designs. First and foremost, in order to achieve this revolutionary shape we had to make a grip that was smaller than the the current handlebar diameters in use today. This obstacle was overcome by designing the grip to extend past the end of the handlebar. In fact, the design extends 65mm past the end of the handlebar on each side. With this design consideration, due care was taken to ensure the grips would be strong and withstand the most abusive riding. The material selected for the base structure is a reinforced nylon, capable of handling the works; from rock gardens to big drops and jumps. The soft sections of the grip, where texture and feel is important, will be a rubber-like compound that can handle several seasons of use.

Cut away view showing internal structure
Cut away view showing internal structure

 HANDLEBAR CONSIDERATIONS

Keep in mind that these grips will extend your handlebar width 65mm per side. That means if you simply install Sushi Grips on your existing bars, your bars will be significantly wider. For some riders this will be a good thing; the current trend in handlebar is going wider. For others this may be too much. There are several options in this case. First is to order your Sushi Grips with one of our handlebar options, carbon or aluminum, riser or flat. We will have them pre-set to common widths with Sushi Grips installed. All you need to do is take your existing bars off and install the new ones! The second option is to trim your handlebars down to achieve the overall width you desire. Please contact us is you are unsure about how much to trim your bars to get the width you want. We can assist you through this process.

670mm bars with Sushi Grips are 800mm overall width
670mm bars with Sushi Grips are 800mm overall width

All current handlebars are 22.2mm in diameter at the grip. Mounting the grip to your bar is simple, just slide the grip on until it hits the stop, then tighten the clamp ring. For a great initial starting position, align the top section (that your palm contacts) 2-3 degrees angled back towards you. This gets a good distribution of pressure across your palm, while allowing your fingers to curl naturally under the grip. On your first rides, don't forget to take a multi-tool to adjust the angle slightly if needed.

 

Risks and challenges

Innovating the mountain bike grip means I had to think outside the box with structure, materials, and design. The key that finally allowed the shape to materialize was the realization that the grip could extend out past the end of the handlebar. The challenge to this innovation is using a material that will be strong enough to handle all the forces of rough and technical riding. I've been consulting with injection molding manufacturers and the solution will be casting the base structure out of a reinforced nylon. The soft overmold will have to be a material that resists wear and provides a nice grippy, tactile feel. For the early prototypes I was creating grips with easy to find materials, for the last three revisions (we are at Rev 15) I have contracted an engineer who has developed many injection molded parts. He is engineering the structure, creating CAD models, and teaching me a significant amount about this process.
My most significant challenge is raising the capital to invest in the tooling to start production. The design is almost finalized. I've explored various injection molding companies and have found one that can create the tooling and do the smaller production runs that I will need.
A secondary challenge will be market acceptance. Grips are usually an afterthought for most riders, until they ride something truly unique. I am overcoming this with an agressive marketing campaign, getting more riders to try the grips. To date, everyone who has ridden these revolutionary grips has been overwhelming in their positive response. If I can get more people to ride them, word will spread among their riding communities and more riders will seek out the grips. I also have significant contacts in the cycling media, and I plan to leverage them to gain market acceptance.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Support Sushi Grips!

    We appreciate any and all support! Your help is making more riders shred more trail!

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Sushi Grips Base Reward

    Thanks for helping make these revolutionary grips a reality! Backers at this level will receive one pair of Sushi Grips. You don't mind swapping grips, widening your bars or maybe you have an extra handlebar around to put Sushi Grips on.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    97 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Sushi Grips and Aluminum Handlebar Combo

    You want your new grips already installed on a handlebar, saving you the hassle of removing your old grips and sizing the bars? Backers at this level will receive one pair of Sushi Grips mounted to an aluminum handlebar with the width, sweep, rise, and clamp diameter you specify.

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    6 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Sushi Grips and Carbon Handlebar Combo

    You're a weight weenie? You want the lightness of carbon bars and the control of Sushi Grips?
    Backers at this level will receive one pair of Sushi Grips mounted on a carbon handlebar with the width, sweep, rise, and clamp diameter you specify.

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Funding period

- (30 days)