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"Oh ya nice, no issues with those huh" ... Sadly, there were some 'issues.'

August 14, 2017 07:08AM avatar
I still have those early bicycle grips on my '70s era Compass Coin Hustler and 99B, and even older '60s vintage Garrett Hunter BFO. They are all in good looking and working condition. They are all also units that see very little field activity because they are mainly used for demonstration purposes in my seminars to demonstrate what we had to get to where we are today.. There are a very few occasions that I do work my Coin Hustler in some old nail infested sites, but that's also mostly as a demonstration and for a short few minutes time.

Note from Cindy's photo most of those early bicycle grips they used had the finger groove design. Some old models didn't, since they used the 'budget' value tricycle grips that were just the rounded shape w/o finger grooves. It wasn't too practical to make a detector with only a curved metal to hang onto so they used those grips to provide a better feel. It sometimes was, but it sometimes wasn't.

If your hand got wet from a rain shower or sweating during summer's heat, trying to hold onto a bare metal rod got slippery. Also the metal rod diameter was rather narrow for a good fit in the hand, so some sort of better feeling grip was needed, both to enhance appearance as well as to better handle and control the detector. Most manufacturers used this type of grip, and while most of the time they did serve their purpose and generally they stayed in place, that was just 'most of the time' and 'not all of the time'.

Here are some of the 'issues' we had with those early grips:

Grip too small for many adjust-size hands for comfort, especially for prolonged hunts.

Finger grooves/bumps didn't fit everyone's hand/finger size.

The grips were slid onto the metal rod and, if not firmed up in a proper orientation, the grooved grips positioned the hand uncomfortably to the bend in the rod or for some toggle switch or pushbutton control.

If the grip worked loose over time, for various reasons, they could slide 'out-of-position.' Worse yet, they might get just slightly loose or twisted from use of working the detector back-and-forth such that the grip would twist around on the metal rod, leaving the finger groove humps misaligned. Gripping the unit then could have the hand positioned in the grooved grip either off to the left or to the right and not in a proper alignment with the back-0to-front orientation of the detector rods and coil.

To make that even worse, the grip might get twisted out of alignment due to moisture between the rod and grip, or just from repeated exertion of force when in use, but be tight enough that it was difficult to twist it back into position.

Deterioration due to chemicals also caused some issues. Use of things like sunscreen lotion, or as I noted many females would use some sort of lotion on their skin maybe to look good (it didn't always work by the way), and that could leave the grip very slick and difficult to hold. This fashionable stuff, as a rule, just made things slick.

Even worse, and it happened to me on two occasions and I know others who had this problem, was a deterioration of the grip when we used things like insect/bug repellent, especially for annoying mosquitoes. It was a bad year for mosquitoes and they were driving us nuts trying to hunt Shute Park in Hillsboro Oregon in '78/'79. I was using a red gripped Garrett Ground Hog and we sprayed each other down to get our neck, bare arms and hands. The chemical reaction of the bug spray and bicycle grip actually ate at the grip and made them tacky and ruined their surface appearance and feel.

This happened again, thanks to bug spray, using a black bicycle gripped Compass and another brand detector in '81. There are other chemicals that could have a negative effect on those grips, and I would guess similar things can/have happened using the soft foam grip or other contoured grips of plastic or a rubberized plastic, so that just means we need to be cautions about using sprays, lotions and other chemicals that make grip contact.

But those old style detectors used cumbersome, boxy metal housings and the demand, and trend, was to go to smaller size control boxes and later plastic type housings. It was obvious that those bike grips had to change as well to something that was more comfortable. Better gripping ability and 'feel' were wanted and that was answered by going to the spongy foam type grips. That has been a good things and a bad things, all based upon the rod contour, the grip shape, the density or firmness of the foam, and the operators hand size and desire to go bare or wear a glove ... thus the thickness of the glove as well.

Even with a particular brand the foam grips can vary based upon the style/shape of the foam, the density, and the supplier. I'll pick on Tesoro here since I have owned and used a countless number of Tesoro models through over the past third-of-a-century, and maintain five Tesoro in my current detector arsenal.

Originally the foam was just a round-shaped foam than slid onto the rod handle area. Most units had a consistent-size foam that gave a good grip for my hand size. But the type of foam used seemed to 'age' or 'cure' and become harder and not soft from moisture and dirt. Through the years they went to a somewhat thicker or larger foam that was contoured so that it was tapered into a flared end, top and bottom, and had a nice 'roundish' shape to fill the hand better inn the middle portion. Four of my five Tesoro's have this style foam grip.

Today, I have made sure that the Tesoro models I own with that grip have the firmer-style material that is comfortable and stays more firm-feeling thus hand-filling for comfort. At times, some of that foam shape material is not as dense or firm and squishes very easily becoming wimpy and uncomfortable. So even within one brand you can have a variance of the shape and density or type of foam used which means some might feel fine while others feel kind of cheapish.

Foam type grips can be poorly positioned so I liked the approach that Makro took with the Racer series where the foam extends a long length from the control housing down through the entire hand-grip bend in the rod and back a ways towards the arm cup. That allows ample room for the operator to get a good perch on the grip handle to fit the detector and control housing for their size. Still there were differences.

The original Racer (in the red housing) had a grip angle bend that was too abrupt for me and quite a few people, but I happened to like the finger contoured design that felt a bit thicker making a better feel. They straightened out that 'S' curve grip for the Gold Racer and Racer 2 to a more conventional shape, and that was good. they still used the longer-length foam, and that was good. But they went to a straight type foam w/o finger grooves that was also a different thickness or type of foam. To me it is a thinner-diameter and not nearly as comfortable as I would like. Gregg Z.'s new red and black rubbery grips look to be a much improved thickness and thus make a more comfortable grip feel.

So, yes, those old style bike grips did or could have some issues, but many are still in use today and feel and work just fine. It's the same concept with them as with those rubbery type grips Gregg used so as long as they stay cleaned and free of any chemicals that might effect the material, they can be better than most slip-on foam grips. I might even find a Gregg Grip Mod done on one or two of my detectors in the near future. However it won't be to my most comfortably gripped Target ID series of detectors.

Those would include my Nokta Impacts that have a very comfortable grip size, shape and angle. Also my three FORS Relic and two FORS CoRe models that also have a very nice grip size, shape and angle that are foam-free. I am a bare-hand detector operator and these seven detectors are the most comfortable detectors I have owned that do not require any slip-on type grip, be it foam or rubber.

To readers, if you get an urge to replace a grip you have that is worn out, torn, damaged or just doesn't feel good, make sure you 'get a grip' on a few handle offerings before you install them to make sure they are a good fit and feel in your hand. Who knows, maybe one of the bike grips will appeal to you over a foam grip you have now. confused smiley


"Your EYES ... the only 100% accurate form of Discrimination!"

Stinkwater Wells
Trading Post

Metal Detector Evaluations and Product Reviews
'How-To' help for Coin & Jewelry Hunting, Relic Hunting and Useful Techniques.

My Regular-Use Detector Team are various models from: Makro, Nokta, Tesoro and White's
Pinpointers: Using Nokta and Makro and Uniprobe Pointers.
Headphones: Using Killer B's 'Hornet' and White's Pro Star and Detector Pro's Uniprobe ... All w/'tank style' ear cups.
Recovery Tools: Using White's DigMaster digging tool.
Note: Detectors are listed alphabetically by Brand. Models are chosen as desired based on search site conditions.
Other models from Compass and Garrett are on-hand for 'Specialty Use.'
Additional search coils, mounted on spare lower-rods, are on-hand in my Accessory Coil Tote.

*** All working well today to make memories for tomorrow. ***

monte@stinkwaterwells.com .. or .. monte@ahrps.org
(503) 481-8147
Subject Author Views Posted

30 years and still good Attachments

NWCindy 412 August 13, 2017 08:44PM

Re: 30 years and still good

Sodbuster 221 August 14, 2017 06:29AM

Re: 30 years and still good

Kickindirt 224 August 13, 2017 09:40PM

"Oh ya nice, no issues with those huh" ... Sadly, there were some 'issues.'

Monte 263 August 14, 2017 07:08AM

Re: "Oh ya nice, no issues with those huh" ... Sadly, there were some 'issues.'

NWCindy 224 August 14, 2017 09:26AM

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