Prepping for Winter; Base layers.

As a reminder, a base layer provides that critical foundation to any layering system when prepping for a cold environment; cycling or skiing. Often in my case, I resort to using an old t-shirt instead but its ability to facilitate temperature regulation and perspiration management, are not its strengths. Cue sweaty back, pause to cool down and then freeze as soon as a hint of a breeze blows over you. Its time to be an adult with my riding gear, get something that works and works well so I can focus on the matter at hand, riding! Wearing a proper baselayer doesn’t just get round the issue of a sweaty back; the insulation of the lower arms helps warm blood from the body’s core to flow down to the hands, keeping the extremity region warm. Aka, warm fingers, leading to accurate brake lever feel in even the most cold conditions.

So when GripGrab emailed me earlier in the summer and said they had some news around Base Layers my ears pricked. The Danish brand as you’ll likely have seen on my channels have been sponsoring me for a while and I’ve learnt they don’t make bad products.

A few months later and I’ve now got my new Base Layers – the GripGrab Freedom Seamless Thermal Base Layer LS. Long name, sounds technical, but is it any good?

Seamless Winter Base Layers –The Freedom seamless are made using a circular knit technology, which means they require no stitching. Cool. The technology provides a high-stretch synthetic fabric that is has good insulation and good wicking capabilities.

 Warp-Knit Winter Base Layers – For the ultimate fit, the Freedom Seamless Thermal base layer is what Grip Grab call a warp-knitted base layer. Their pioneering technology allows fabric thickness to be contoured throughout it, as well as it being seamless. This results in their ability to place added insulation in specific areas, yet also integrate high-stretch areas to provide a superb fit.

Antibacterial – Another interesting feature GripGrab don’t bring to light is the antibacterial function their material has – i.e you’re not forced to wash it after every ride because it stinks. Instead, I’ve used my three times in a row now ( I know, don’t judge me) and it still smells as fresh as it came! Impressive.

 So what are my overall thoughts? Well, it just works. I’m not made aware of any discomfort, excessive heat built up or uncomfortable fitting. It just works, both in slightly warm conditions (15C with a Jersey on over the top) and at around 5C. This Base Layer feels properly engineered.

They also feel very plush. As with all Grip Grab products (and I’m not just saying this) they feel expensive, they feel like they’ve chosen the best materials they could in creating it. So like with all of life’s luxuries they make you feel good when wearing them.

So, as Winter approaches and the temperatures start to drop, there’s even less reasons not to ride! Thanks GripGrab.


To glove, or not to glove. That is the question.

Perhaps the Mountain Bikers obsession in collecting “gear” for riding is dwindling. Still I’m very much of the option riding with gloves is better, and here’s four reason’s why. Missed any, let me know in the comments!

 Reason 1: Prevent hands from slipping

I don’t know about you, but my hands get pretty sweaty in the summer, especially if you’re doing a long ride. Without gloves, I tend to slip and slide on my bars, even brake levers. While a good grips can compensate most of this, I still feel more comfortable riding with thin summer gloves, absorbing the sweat and always providing plenty of grip on the bike. 

Reason 2: Easy to wipe away sweat
Sweat on my hands is just one part of the summer problem, but sweat from my face or forehead is another. Count that in with dust and dirt and you’ve got yourself a pretty uncomfortable mess half way round your all day loop. It’s at this point, the towel like strip on the thumb part saves the day. 

Reason 3: Protect those hands

From crashing to touching your chain, to digging and moving trail features about. Keep though fingers clean for the soon to be consumed cheesy chips and use the gloves instead. If you’re a weekend warrior like me, you’re soft, office hands will thank you. 

Reason 4: Optimize your comfort
Comfort be it for short of long rides is paramount to a good ride. You don’t want anything taking your mind off the ride, so finding that glove that gives you that sensitivity vs Rolls Royce comfort is king. – Yes I’m biased to GripGrab but riding with technology such as the ProGel and SuperGel gloves transform a ride. That small gel patch underneath the pam of your hands does a lot to reduce the chatter. 

OH and then there’s the look, but that’s far to emotive to rationally break down 😉


Equipment Mountain Biking

One year in with GribGrab

It’s been roughly a year since Grip Grab and I joined forces and in that time I’ve been purposely trying my hand at testing their gear out by bombing mountains with the DH to typical Cannock Chase loops on the XC.

I started out wondering whether I should subtly fit it into my content, but if I’m honest, if I was following someone and they we’re partnering with a brand, I would just prefer a straight up front airing of activity. So that’s what I’ve done.

So purpose of this article? Well it has been roughly a year since partnering and I feel the need to provide them a conclusion of my thoughts, but also to you guys too. So, Grip Grab who?

I’ll kick it off – its good stuff! And that’s not me saying it just because I get it for free. I’ve been using Troy Lee Design gear for a while now and I have to say, the quality of the products from Grip Grap is better. They feel hand crafted rather than mass produced. The quality of the materials is by far better, not to mention the finish too.

GripGrab mainly create Gloves and winter warming products, not a lot compared to Troy Lee Designs, but you can feel that focused attention on their smaller range of products. Every detail has been thought of from where the stiches, padding and velcro are. It changes for example between the glove range, depending on if it’s a gravity glove or cross country glove.  I’ve ordered a few more bits this year, from full fingers gloves to Jersey’s so I’ll keep you posted on those.

For now though, I would if you’re in the market, thoroughly recommend the GripGrab brand. If you want gear that feels good, has the endurance and doesn’t make you look like a Christmas tree, give them a go. You’ll be surprised.


Gloves, its personal…

You’ve got four touch points on the bike, two hands, two feet. I’ve learnt the difference between clipless and flats, with their positives and negatives. What I haven’t done until now, is experiment with gloves.

Thanks to the team at Gripgrab, I now can. So over the past 3 months of riding, across different terrains and in different weather conditions, I’ve worked out what I like. It’s interesting though, I’ve disproven my hypothesis – comfort above feel.

So, the gloves I chose to test were;

Racing “The Racing is a pro level performance mountain bike glove, with the ingenious InsideGrip technology that delivers an unforeseen level of handlebar control.”

Whether it’s riding the XC or the DH bike, I’ve gone for gloves which provided a layer of absorption between handle bar and hand. I’ve always found after a long ride, or even a short intense one, my hands feel it, be it pressure points or pulling of the skin.

What I’ve found though it the complete opposite. The thinner the glove, the more comfortable it felt due to having less material in between handlebar and hand, that could then pinch and cause pressure points. The Racing glove nailed this in one. A thin glove, but one which not only allowed great feel on the bike but didn’t cause me to suffer – #LadyHands. It’s clearly a summer glove though, as its light and airy.

What surprised me was the Supergel XC and how it got in the way of the ride. I love the exterior look, part of the reason I chose it, however, the big palm gel pad just felt like something was always caught under my hand, eventually causing pins and needles. Bar that excellent grip and decent feel, but it was my palms that felt it.

As for the Raptor – well it’s an out and out winter glove. When I rode with it down Thorpe Cloud in the Peak district, it was just above freezing and blowing a gale, though my hands would never know. They do have a bit of gel cushioning like the Supergels, though must have a smaller amount as I had only positive things to say about this glove. It’s the Rolls Royce of gloves and makes winter riding far more appealing.

As the title suggests, it’s personal when it comes to Gloves. What would you go for and why?

Any questions on the high quality gloves from GripGrab, do hit me up.

Peace out. 


Equipment Mountain Biking

Thorpe Cloud – I’ve done it.

Rising to nearly 1000 ft in the south Peak District with a very clear ridge line, a nice country walk 4 weeks ago, turned into a me getting very excited about bringing the bike back. So I rallied the troop(s), and looped Jamie Hewitt into the mix, a fellow GoPro Family Member. This was never going to be an epic day’s ride, more an adrenaline hit, but why not?

This was also the perfect time to test out some of my new gear I’ve very kindly received from GripGrab. Storm Doris had passed shortly before, so heading to an exposed peak with winds in excess of 50mph probably wasn’t the best idea for riding, but sure put their gear to good use.

First and foremost, Thorpe Cloud. What’s it like? Well, do you like hiking, with a bike? If so it’s right up your street. There’s a lot of climbing, about 30 minutes of intense climbing, and even then you can’t get right to the top due to it getting too rocky to ride down, if you’re not an Atherton. We were however pleasantly surprised by a hikers trail on the north ridge which doubles up nicely as a great bit of downhill single track. There were also huge gulley’s and the much steeper, south ridge, but with 50+ mph winds, safety won the battle with trying it. A full video will be going up sometime in April, so be sure to keep an eye out for that.

GripGrab; their promise being to build products that makes sports more enjoyable no matter how cold, wet and windy it is. So first up is the Winter Raptor glove.

I’ve always been a fan of a heavier built gloves, so wanted to give these winter specials a true testing. They actually felt reasonably similar to my Troy Lee Design pair in terms of fit, but the quality was noticeably turned up a notch, as was the windproofing. My hands were kept comfortably warm but not at the extent of sweaty palms. Clearly, some breathable technology going on here. The thickness neither had any negativity on feel, underlined by riding my DH rig, which absorbs a lot of the high frequency bumps. Any negatives? The gel inserts, which I’m a big fan of in other gloves, were too much in this case, with finding my hand sliding on top of them if I put a lot of pressure through. That aside, I’m thoroughly impressed by “NAME”. The key outtake I took was, quality and the overall look aint bad either!

The second, more experimental test was GripGrab’s Aquarepel Leg Warmers. I’m no fair weather cyclist, happy to get dirty, wet and a bit cold, but what if I could avoid all of that and stay comfortably warm? Well that’s exactly what happened. Good thing the body receives all 5 senses, otherwise who would have known it was blowing a gale? Using their on-site size guide, I chose medium, however after time, the thigh part does slide down, so I’ll explore this further on a proper pedal ride. There was also little moisture in the air to give their water repellent qualities a true test, but they’ve sure peeked my interest in wearing them…

I’ll be sharing my thoughts throughout the year on the suite of GripGrab products I’ll be testing.

In the meantime, go ride Thorpe Cloud. The locals will love you. Genuinely, curiosity and excitement was expressed by everyone we bumped into.

Peace out.

Equipment Mountain Biking

Never Loose Your Grip – GripGrab

GripGrab is based on a passion for sports and the dream of building a brand of products that makes sports more enjoyable no matter how cold, wet or windy it is. So being based in the UK, where it normally is cold, wet and windy in Summer, let alone Winter, is probably going to be useful.

So over the course of the next year, I’ll test out their gear to fully determine whether it does, what it says on the tin!

Test number one; Thorpe Cloud, aka cold and windy.  What better way to give their warming qualities a true test than heading to an exposed mountain in the Peak District? In early March…

Check out GripGrab and another one of their local heros, Dave Kilshaw