Product review: Stompgrip grip pads
Stompgrip grip pads are a really simple addition to the motorcycle. What they are, in effect, are a rubber patch with small 'volcanos' moulded in a regular pattern on it. These patches are usually mounted where your body meets the bike, improving the amount of grip and purchase you have on the motorcycle. And everyone says that this simple sounding change makes a world of difference to your riding.
At the end of my first outing at the California Superbike School at the racetrack in Chennai, I asked my coach what was the one thing that anyone can do that can change my riding, and by extensions, anyone's. He said, "Just remember, always, that you go where you look and you want to look where'd you would like to go." And then I asked him what was the one performance mod that would universally improve every motorcycle. And he said, "Grip pads." It turns out that both of the next two times at the CSS, the same questions yielded exactly the same responses from three separate coaches.
So when I ordered my KTM 390 Duke, I already had a package from Stompgrip (via amazon.com and then via a friend returning from the US) waiting in my house for the motorcycle. Stompgrip makes precut shapes for specific models - mostly sportsbikes - but I got a uncut rectangle in black (you can also get clear) for the KTM. I used a set of household scissors to shape them and then simply pasted them onto the motorcycle where my thighs and knees make contact with the bike. Installation could not be simpler.
I have yet to ride the KTM at the racetrack but even on the street and on a mountain road, the difference is immediate and clear. Normally, painted surfaces aren't very grippy. Leather still finds some grip but textile usually just slides about. With the Stompgrips though, all that is eliminated. Which means whether you're off the seat to absorb a bump or hanging off, the amount of grip you have to hook into the motorcycle is dramatically higher making cornering more confident. I'm convinced I would add Stompgrips or equivalent grip pads to all my future motorcycles.
The thing is Stompgrips aren't cheap. On amazon.com, a set of universals will run about US$55 (Rs 3,400 approximately). In India, you will shortly be able purchase them from Performance Racing Store - we will update this story with Indian prices as soon as they become available.