In this article I will write down my thoughts about the Hope Tech Grip Doctor Bar End Protection plugs – Made in Barnoldswick, England. Hope is a well known high quality brand in the cycling industry with a wide range of high quality aftermarket components and accessories.
Mountain bike handlebars for a 29-er tend to have an internal diameter of around 22 mm. and the plugs that came with the ESI silicone grips have damaged relatively fast. And personally I don’t like the ESI branding on the black and blue set-up of the Scott Scale 925.
Grip Doctor Key Features from Hope Tech
On the Grip Doctor product page on the Hope Tech website you can the following key features:
- Laser etched, anodized 2014 T6 aluminum cap & bolt
- Available in Black, Silver, Red, Blue, Purple and Orange
- Rubber wedges securely expand inside handlebar
- Safely caps off the end of handlebars
- Material 2014 T6 aluminum
- Includes 17mm inserts
- Weight 43g complete kit.
The Scott Scale 925 has still the stock Syncros handlebar that I’ve modified to a width of 70 cm, after the Bikefitting at Energylab Bakalah Athletic Performance center in Leuven Belgium. A pair ESI Grips Chunky silicone grips provide both comfort and a proper grip on the handlebar. The ESI Grips Chunky come with a pair of plastic bar end plugs (that are completely wrecked after taking them out of the handlebar 2 times).
So I was aiming for something like the BBB Cycling End Caps ScrewOn BHT-96 that I use on my Canyon Ultimate CF SLX road bike. However roadbike handlebar diameters differ from mountain bike handlebars, and the risk of a crash is more present on the Scott Scale.
While the concept of the Hope Grip Doctor Bar End Protection plugs is very similar to the BBB ScrewOn endcaps, the handelbar diameter supported, used materials, weight and also price point differ. The BHT-96 ScrewOn end caps are made from ABS (plastic) and the price-point is € 6,00. Excellent value for my road bike.
Concluding thoughts and wrap-up
Hope Grip Doctor Bar End Protection plugs have a more robust and well engineered design. Anodized T6 aluminum cap and bolt are used, while a big rubber insert of 17 mm in length will do the internal clamping. In all fairness, it simply works.
I just used some Morgan Blue Aquaproof Paste on the aluminum bolt of the Grip Doctor Protection Plugs. The black anodized ring has a good diameter to also protect the ends of the ESI Grips Chunky silicone grips and in case of a crash also the handlebar. Especially when you are riding a carbon handlebar I would use the Hope Grip Doctors.
Around the Black Friday weekend, the Grip Doctor price point dropped significantly which made me put money in a long term investment. Hope Tech Grip Doctor Bar End Protection plugs will last for a very long time, and only a severe crash could damage these. I’ve paid €19,00 which is reasonable to me for a quality product coming from the Hope Tech factory.
What bar end protection plugs are you using on your mountain bike ?