Can you recall the story of the Columbus’ egg? Surely a simple solution on the outlook, but also one which no-one had thought about before. You could think similarly of the Gripster, the latest creation of the Scottish start-up By Cyclogical.
It would probably be difficult to define the Gripster as something other than a wee plasticky thingy of very intuitive use. ‘I could’ve come up wi’that!’, you might be thinking. And yet, as most inventions, it looks easy once it’s before our eyes, but not quite so when it’s not there yet. This is certainly the case with the Gripster: we have now for years leant our bikes against walls or even left them on the ground. We have consequently incurred in scratches – in the luckiest of cases – or more severe ‘injuries’ – in others.
But let the revolution begin: today, in the like of the Columbus’ egg, the Gripster has come in our aid. A wee plasticky thingy, yes, but in the shape of healthy mushroom and nicely equipped with a magnet. It is designed to safeguard your bike against scratches and your (or worse, someone else’s) plaster against those odd marks. Last but not least, it will save you the odd ten seconds of trying to balance you bike against that wall.
Although it might be hard to tell, there is, as we here say, an Italian “paw” in the making of the Gripster. In other words, some of the creation process is carried out by an Italian company specialised in plastic materials.
The first time I saw the Gripster, I liked it immediately; anyone who knows the microfficina will be aware of the difficulties that I encounter when moving amongst those many bikes, some mine and some of others. Working with and on them at all times, I constantly need to prop them onto walls and different –more or less delicate – surfaces. As you can imagine, I was curious to try the Gripster, and so I got in touch with José Hernandez, CEO of the young start-up.
My parcel arrived promptly.
The single packaging is humble and yet well-crafted: because the installation of these Gripsters does not require further tools, everything is kept minimal, and a simple picture explains the use.
The supporting surface is wide and secured by a magnet; the external diameter is 7cm and the height 4,7 cm (2,75 and 1,85 inches respectively). The Gripster is designed to hold both a road and a flat bar.
It is made of rubber and its grip is incredible: the thing sticks onto any surface you lean it onto and is surprisingly easy to use. Just place it at the end of you bars, lean the bike on the desired plane and you’re good to go!
I have cycled around with the Gripster in a pocket and have tested it every time I spotted a (now) potentially bike-friendly surface: trees, different kinds of poles, shop-windows, glass cabinets, marble fountains, benches. The bicycle has never once slipped and always stayed in its secured position.
Of course you can, by performing all precautionary rituals, manage to balance your bike on walls or furniture. But what about poles? You have dared those round poles before, haven’t you? Yes, and you may try again.
The bike will most likely fall, as it did all ninety-nine out of a hundred last times you tested the procedure. And most likely, it will do so just after you have distanced yourself just enough, your back to the bicycle, your hope fleetingly resisting your practical side: and then you hear it. Hopefully it didn’t hit that nice shiny car next to it.
Thanks to its magnet, the Gripster allows you to secure your bike even to usually slippery ferrous surfaces, and the rubber creates friction with most other materials. So yes, you can feel safe.
You can keep it the Gripster in your pocket or in a bag, but you can even – as I often did – leave it attached to the (road) bars. It never once jumped off, not even on those beautiful but bumpy Italian paved roads. Once in use, our Gripster also prevents other parts of the bike from being exposed to scratches: think of those precious integrated levers, and those beautiful metal grip-ends.
In the following video you can see the Gripster in action in some standard situations:
This new Gripster by Cyclologycal is also inexpensive. It retails at £9 on the official website, which currently corresponds to just above €10 (excluding shipping costs). It is available in seven different colours.
For those who like me are not fond of kickstands or those who own bikes that are hostile to them by nature, the Gripster really is a Columbus’ egg. Of the two Gripsters that arrived, one has already been gifted, on request. Surely a sign of appreciation.
I thank Marlene Sammito for the translation