My grip knowledge extends back to the good old days. In the early 1970s, my favorite
grips were made from gum rubber.
They didn’t have waffles or diamonds or ridges on them; they were
smooth. I raced with them because
the honey-colored surgical rubber
was exceptionally tacky, especially
against the pigskin gloves of the era.
The problem? California smog ate
gum rubber and caused ozone
cracking. Surgical rubber grips
deteriorated very quickly.
After my surgical rubber phase,
I tried every grip known to man,
including Oury grips, Preston Petty
Hex grips, Oakley Octopus grips and
the Sunline DeGrip. The grip breakthrough of the late 1970s was when
Lance Moorewood took the ubiquitous full-waffle grip and hacked
at it with a razor blade to produce
the first half-waffle grip. Grip companies clamored to make their own
version of Moorewood’s half-waffle
grip when a photo of it appeared in
MXA. And, for most of the 1980s,
the half-waffle grip held sway in
the motocross world.
wore them out quickly from pressing
so hard to hang on. Nothing worked,
which strangely meant that I was
satisfied with what was available
and raced with whatever grip was
on a test bike. Unlike most MXA
test riders, bar bends, lever positions
and grip designs don’t bother me
because I attribute any issues to
my thumb, not the bike.
Finally, a solution came to me
from an old source. Bob Rutten
and I go back to the Hodaka days.
Today, Bob works at A’ME Grips,
and we both race at REM Glen
Helen. One day in the pits, I told
Bob about my grip problems, and
he said that he had a solution. It
was A’ME’s full-waffle clamp-on
grip ($24.95, www.amegrips.com).
I said, “I don’t like full-waffle grips
because the ridges hurt the palm of
Bob replied, “Don’t worry. This
grip has lower waffle ridges than a
normal grip, and the rubber
compound is very soft. It will feel
like a half-waffle but with more
traction for your fingers.” He was
right. This is my favorite grip.
But, my world changed in the
mid-1980s when my hand fell into
the rear wheel of Jeff Hick’s Honda
CR250. My left thumb was mangled
and, while the doctors saved my
thumb, it wouldn’t bend anymore.
Once I got the 75 stitches removed
and went through rehab, I had
to change the way I held the
throttle. Without the ability to wrap
my thumb around the throttle tube,
I had to hold on by jamming the
juncture of my thumb and forefinger
hard against the grip, turn my palm
outward, and grip with my fingers
only. It wasn’t easy to adjust to,
but I adapted. In fact, I think my
doorknob-style hand-hold is a step
in the right direction; however,
everything about modern grips
was now wrong for my hand.
I couldn’t use full-waffle grips
because a larger portion of my palm
rested on the abrasive waffles. When
I used half-waffle grips, my palm
was half-on and half-off the waffles.
Diamond grips didn’t have enough
traction for a rider hanging on with
just his fingertips. I preferred soft
compounds for better traction, but I
AME FULL-WAFFLE CLAMP-ON GRIPS
BY JODY WEISEL