by Dann Albright
There are three contact points between you and your bike: the saddle, the pedals, and the grips.
If any of them aren’t dialed, you’re going to suffer. The PNW Loam Grips ensure that one of those contact points will never worry you again.
PNW Loam Grips Patterns
It’s clear that PNW put a lot of thought into these grips.
There are two different grip patterns—a series of horizontal stripes near the inner edge of the grip and a zig-zagging “mountain” pattern on the other end. PNW says that the strips provide grip and the thicker mountains provide padding for your palm.
I haven’t found the Loams to have better camping than similar grips, but they certainly don’t feel any harsher than the ODIs I often ride.
The Loams have a small flare next to the single clamp on the inside edge of the grip. I found myself appreciating this flare more than I expected; not only does it keep your hand from sliding over the clamp, but it also provides instant feedback on where your hands are on the grips.
That single clamp provides plenty of grip, too. I didn’t feel any sliding on my rides, even when I was really putting down power and putting torque into the handlebar.
Also, let’s talk for a second about colors. The Loams come in nine awesome colors, including Desert Dune, which I actually really dig on my all-black bike. I’m now jonesing for the Fruit Snacks color, though—can’t beat that purple!
Low-profile 30mm Diameter
The Loam grips have an average 30mm diameter across the grip, which puts them around average. Coming from foam grips, I can say that they feel low-profile and give instant feedback on your pressure on the bars—even with the rubber fins and contouring designed to absorb vibrations.
While riders have different preferences on grip diameter, I think 30mm is about the sweet spot for wide appeal.
The 133.5mm length is very similar, though I’d love to see an extra-long version with another couple centimeters. I felt a little further away from my brake levers than I did with my previous grips.
I prefer to not think about the contact points on my bike.
When I throw new grips or a saddle on, the highest praise I can give it is that I didn’t think about it at all. The Loams were exactly right from the get-go. They provided plenty of grip without feeling sticky. The flare made it easy to figure out when my hands were exactly where I wanted them.
Even before I got on my bike, PNW was making things easy. The single-clamp installation took seconds. The packaging is low-profile and completely recyclable, which I love.
I wore mountain bike gloves on most of my rides with the Loams, but I did take a few short laps bare-handed to see how they felt. And while I don’t think I’m a convert to gloveless riding, I really liked the feel of the rubber fins on the grips. They felt just the tiniest bit squirmy when I could actually feel those fins on my palms, but it certainly wasn’t anything to worry about. In fact, it was kind of cool.
If you like the feeling of riding bare-handed, the Loams are a solid choice as long as you’re not looking for something that’s absolutely rock-solid and won’t let your hands move even the slightest bit. You’ll get used to the feeling of the Loams super fast, though, and I recommend them for anyone who goes bare-handed even occasionally.
Although I haven’t used all of their components yet, I’m becoming a big fan of PNW. There’s nothing that feels overwrought. These products are obviously made by people who love riding their bikes, and that dedication to riding shows through in both quality and value.
Little touches like the “Find Your Loam” message on the grips remind me that real people are behind these products, and that I would probably be friends with them.
I wholeheartedly recommend the Loam grips to . . . well, basically to everyone. Unless you absolutely need a double-clamp grip (maybe if you’re coming from the moto world?) or you can’t stand the thought of using anything other than foam, the Loam grips will be a great addition to your bike.
And you absolutely can’t beat the PNW Loam Grips ($19.99), especially at that price.