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Race Face Half Nelson Grips: Reviewed

Great Grip in Many Colours

Words by Adrian Bostock. Photos by Adrian Bostock.
February 25th, 2014

Grips are something that go largely unnoticed on most peoples bikes. While we all have our preferences, they are generally black, no one gets a boner over them, and no internet wars have ever been waged over which grips are on your bike. Though to be fair, colour accessories can be almost as important a consideration as wheel size. For those people Race Face offers the the Half Nelson in 9 colours!

P1090836

When you are putting florescent green grips on your bike you are practically screaming at people that you care about the sex appeal of your ride. With that in mind I went all in and added a pair of purple bar ends, straight dance floor baller. Race Face provides black bar ends.

With a firm yet tacky feel to them, and the classic Race Face topo graphics which act as moisture channels, the Half Nelsons maintain a secure feel in both dry and wet conditions. I have gone a few ways with grips over the years. When I was working labour jobs with hands a lot more than I do now, I liked thicker grips. But as the grunt labour scaled back and the feeling started to come back to my hands I moved to thinner grips. These grip are on the thin side of what I like, but still have some room to wear.

The Half Nelsons mount up with a single sided lock on with a 3mm allen key, which resists rounding better then the smaller 2.5mm allen found on other grips I have used. With all the controls being squeezed onto bars these days, setting up your bars has become a dark art. For riders with small hands, reaching all of your buttons and levers can be a huge issue. The single lock makes it possible to cut some length off your grips, buying some much needed room on overly cluttered bars.

P1090838

I was not sure what to do with the raised logo so I placed it between the first and second knuckle – which works well and gives them a bit of a thicker feel, but completely hides the logo from view.

I’m not one to rave about grips but I am loving the Half Nelsons. They have a great feel, offer easy customization and the colour options give you a nice way to add some cheap bling to your ride.


If you like ‘em thin and sticky, the Half Nelson could be the ticket…

  • Brother Lu

    I’ve being using these for a couple of months on my Nomad.Great Grips,I bought another set for my v-10.I’m a real fan of some of the specialized grips,but it’s hard to find them in stock anywhere.I like one lock ring,and basic blacks good for me.

  • GTDad

    Ive been riding with these since last summer. Went from the strafe to half nelsons. I love how easy they stick to your hands. My hands are are not as tired as they were before and no more tingles in my wrists.
    They clean up nice with simple green and a bristle brush,( clean = super tacky grips)
    I haver noticed a little twist abrasions on my bars at the ends. They have a little give for sure.

  • djemaculate

    what are those grippy end plugs you got there? Are they lock-on? where can i get them?

  • honourablegeorge

    What’s the deal with the pink end cap? I thought the whole point of the half nelson was that it only had a lockring on one end – has the bar come through the grips in the pic?

  • Joe Dick

    they are ODI end caps/bar ends. not lock on, just plugs. the Bikeco in Pemberton or Whistler usually has a candy jar of colour options.