Keirin grips

February 21, 2008

The most challenging task that students at the Japanese Keirin School face is putting Keirin grips on drop bars with only their hands, a bowl, and a small pot filled with water. Once they complete this task they are enlightened to the much guarded NJS approved secret technique discovered by the monks of the Nihon Jitensha Shinkokai that allows them to aclompish this task with ease.

I decided that this traditional rite of passage would enhance my connection to my bike, and grant me powers of cadence that can not be gained in any other way.

I boiled my grips for about seven minutes, and retrieved them from the water (those smarter then me will not reach into the boiling water) . The left grip slid on with only some slight shoving and twisting. The right grip slid about half way on, then stopped faster then a day-glow commuter at a red light. I pushed with all the strength in my upper body, but didn’t gain a millimeter. I put the end of the rubber back in the hot water for a few more minutes, but no advantage was gained.

I enlisted the help of a friend at this point, and with a lot of pulling and pushing, we got the grip back off. Toss it back in the water and try again, this time with my friend holding the bars, braced against the steps with me pushing down and twisting, finally the grip slides on.

At the end of all this my grips look like they have finished a season at a Tokyo velodrome, and my hands look like this:


Now I will share with you the NJS approved blister free way of installing Keirin gips:

Turn the grips inside out, leaving about 1cm the right side out, then coat the outside (now inside) with lighter fluid. Now roll the grips onto the the bars while turning turning them back right side out. This worked even with my blistered hands (five blisters total)