Okay, maybe the Kore Palmster road handlebar grip is not totally new – the innovative road bar grip has actually been out for over a year now. But even Kore admits they’re little-known, and we finally got our hands on a pair to try on a ‘cross bike.
Kore created the grips for people who want a more ergonomic and comfortable position while riding the tops of their road drop bars. Similar in shape but not as pronounced as Ergon’s popular mountain bike grips, the Kore Palmster grips snap onto the tops of round profile handlebars and add more surface area with their contoured shape and thick rubber pad. The Palmster is designed to spread road and trail vibration over a bigger part of your hand, which can be particularly helpful when riding cyclocross. It’s a cheaper way to get a more ergonomic shape than upgrading to a shaped carbon or aluminum handlebar.
Installation requires warming up the grip with a hair dryer or hot water, and then snapping them over the bars and cable housing. Two 3mm Allen keys are required to secure the two bolts them to the bar. Our Shimano-compatible pair weighed 124 grams, 4 grams lighter than the listed 128 gram weight. Kore also makes a Palmster II model which as double groves for SRAM/Campagnolo shift and brake cables (and should work with Shimano 7900).
Initial impressions are that the grip’s bigger, contoured shape and rubber pad are comfortable and absorb more vibration than normal bar tape. People with hand/wrist/arm injuries may like the bigger shape, and riders with larger hands may find a more secure grip with the the Palmster. They would make a great companion to inline brake levers on wider bars, providing a familiar cockpit for mountain bikers not used to drop bars. The Palmster could also make a nice addition to the commuter bike, where the added weight is not a big concern. It’s worth noting the grip is quite short – providing just one position without much room to widen or narrow your grip. Also, the hard plastic underside of the grip can become a little slippery when wet. We’d prefer a rubberized surface or a pad that goes around the entire grip, but that would add to the grip’s weight.
Kore Palmster and Palmster II Road Bar Grips:
Weight: 124 grams (Shimano), 136 grams (SRAM/Campagnolo)
Size: 100 mm long, 23.8-24.2 mm diameter
For more info: Kore Component’s website