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If you missed the initial introduction to TOGS then you might want to pop over here and get yourself up to speed before going any further.

Sorted? Okay, I’ll begin. I’ve had these fitted to my Stooge for the last couple of months, my hands rarely stay in the same place for more than ten minutes at a time while riding, so another resting place for my pinkies is always something I’m interested in trying out. As I mentioned in the previous post, TOG stands for Thumb Over Grip, it’s a hand position many people seem to favour, it’s certainly comfortable but generally not that secure … I will hold my hand up here (luckily I still can) and admit to an incident a few years ago that started with me riding with my thumbs over the top of the bars, progressed quickly into only one hand been in contact with the bike and finally resulted in my (now free) hand finding its way into the front wheel. Unlucky? Possibly. Stupid? Certainly. Had the bike been fitted with a pair of these, the chances of the above happening would have been reduced and maybe eliminated entirely.

Nearly a match for the blue of the Stooge.

The TOGS are made from something called Zytel, a type of thermoplastic. It’s certainly tough but not that hard that it feels brittle, I really can’t imagine a situation that would lead to them breaking, I certainly don’t think your average crash would upset them in any way … although I have tried quite hard to avoid putting this theory to the test. Once slid into place, the TOGS are held in position by a stainless cap head that pulls the split clamp together and pull it together it does. I only manged to make one move on a single occasion but I was stood climbing and actually trying to make them move … under more normal conditions, once fitted they don’t move a millimeter.

Fitted in ‘summer’ mode, secure and very comfy.

When I first fitted them, I did what most people would do and put them in a position where I ‘thought’ they should be. I climbed aboard and had a lap of the yard, nope. I loosened them off and altered the angle, no, still not right. After fifteen minutes of fiddling I loosened both sides off and set off on another tour of the yard but this time I CLOSED MY EYES – BINGO! They were now set to where they should be, not where I thought they should be.

The next few weeks saw me riding round as usual, I made a point of trying not to think about the TOGS but I did find myself using them a lot, particularly when just ‘cruising’ along on fireroads and doubletrack. Even though your entire hand is on top of the bar rather than wrapped round it you do feel very secure. The ability to brake isn’t affected and if you have 2 way shifters you can happily change gear without moving your hands. 

Alteration to position for Winter.

What I’m going to say next isn’t a criticism but it’s something I ‘discovered’ when the weather started to get colder and for me the ‘solution’ has actually improved things rather than compromised how the TOGS work or feel, however, your personal set-up may not call for such measures …. As temperatures drop, I like most people in the UK rummage in the cupboard and find my winter gloves, they’re warmer, waterproof(ish) but thicker. With winter gloves on the first thing I noticed was that the scallop / cut-out where your thumb sits now felt a little snug, nothing severe, just a little less room than I’d have liked. The second thing I became aware of was my thumb getting cold, not all of it, just the underside. Luckily it didn’t take a genius to figure out the cause – I’d fitted the TOGS so they butted up to the inside end of the grip and all was well until I added big thick gloves into the mix. Now, my over sized thumb was fighting for space between the TOG and the brake lever clamp, resting my thumb against the clamp was also making it cold. The simple solution would be to move the brakes inward slightly, that would provide more room and the world would be rosy once more … I didn’t do that. Instead I decided to split my grips and fit the TOGS inboard of the end. Had I simply moved the brakes I’d certainly have had more room but my thumb would still rest against potentially freezing metal, only now it would be the bar rather than the brake. Fitting them this way not only gives my winterised digit plenty of room but it also now rests on something relatively soft and insulated … which is a bit of a bonus when the mercury drops.

If you’re reading this, then I imagine there’s a good chance that you’re no stranger to sitting on your bike for quite a few hours at a time. Anything you can do that allows you to re-position yourself without having an adverse effect on your forward progress has to be a good thing … the TOGS do exactly that. They’re unobtrusive, tough and light (19g a pair on the BB scales) and they’re also manufactured in the US if that makes any difference to you. Just take some time to get the position dialled in and you might be surprised how the smallest of things can make the biggest difference.



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