ODI has been a prominent player in the bike and moto grip industry for over 40 years. In fact, it was the first brand to introduce the lock-on grip, which has become a standard in the market. It's hard to imagine now, but before ODI's innovation in 1999, riders used all sorts of makeshift solutions like hairspray and metal wires to keep their grips from slipping. ODI's original lock-on grip was a true game changer, and bolt-on grips are now widely accepted as the norm.
The Dread Lock is the signature grip of old-school XC and marathon racing legend Tinker Juarez, who is still smashing out the miles in XC and ultra-distance events. For this riding style, many riders go for a foam silicone slide-on grip such as the ESI Chunky featured in our best MTB grips guide. ODI’s version is designed to offer the same comfort and shock absorption properties but in a less fragile, easier-to-fit alternative.
Design and specifications
Like the rest of the ODI range, the Dread Lock uses their V2.1 single bolt inboard collar to attach to the bars. This is lighter and simpler than the original double version, and this design is used on the majority of quality grips out there. The end of the grip is a neatly molded TPE cap which helps keep the grip's usable surface area high and protects the end of the bar from scrapes and crashes.
Design-wise, they are a simple-looking affair with a smooth profile and a gently contoured surface, which differs greatly from the feature-laden ODI Reflex grip we tested recently. It's an offset design, so there is more padding on the top section of the grip for improved vibration damping, with a thinner area underneath that features ergonomic finger cutouts. They use ODI’s AIRE compound, which is a foam that has similar properties to a foam silicone grip but is harder wearing while still being soft to the touch.
The Dread Lock comes in Blue, Gray, Red, Orange, Green, and the Rasta color option which I had on test. There is only one size available, and they are 130mm long and 32mm in diameter.
I was pleasantly surprised by the ODI Dread Lock grip. I've used many sets of foam silicone grips in the past, which, although comfortable and light, have significant drawbacks, with wear and fragility on the trail being the two main issues the Dread Locks didn't suffer from. You lose a bit of feel, and trail feedback can be muted.
Generally, I prefer a narrower grip, but these didn't feel as big and bulky as I'd initially feared, partly due to them being offset so your fingers aren't stretching around the grip but also because the grip compresses a small amount when riding. For longer rides, I'll often go without gloves and found the Dread Locks to be excellent with minimal slipping and without leaving a horrible rubber feeling on your palm post-ride that can sometimes happen with soft compound grips.
The Dread Locks have a slight taper, going from higher on the outside edge down towards the brake lever, which I found comfortable. However, I couldn't get the cutouts on the grip's underside to line up in a way that suited my fingers. I'd prefer a smooth underside, but it wasn't a deal breaker as the cutouts are very shallow. The gently textured surface also felt great when riding gloveless in the wet, and while a slick grip can become slippy, thankfully, I had no such issues here.
Installation was as straightforward as you'd expect for a grip with a single clamp bolt, but make sure you use a good quality Allen key so you don't round the bolt head. A small L and R are also on the end of each grip to ensure you have them set up correctly.
The ODI Dread Locks are great for long-distance and multi-day rides where comfort is key. The simple shape and soft-feeling foam compound make for a very comfortable setup. They are very well made, and although expensive, they have lasted well and are far more robust than a classic foam grip.
Tech specs: ODI Dread Lock grip
- Price: $32.95 / £31.99 / €32.95
- Diameter: 32mm
- Length: 130mm
- Weight: 120g
- Colors: Gray, Green, Orange, Blue, Red, and Rasta
- Details: AIRE foam compound, Alloy clamps