Sometimes in life it's the little details that makes all the difference in how something feels, looks or performs. If you have a look at top level machines such as F1 cars, a Tour de France rider's bike, or rally cars, you might notice that they are all very similar, but as soon as you get up close you quickly realise that they are tailored to the athlete's exact requirements. Why? Comfort, both physically and mentally.
Trying to perform at the highest level whilst wishing your steering wheel was a little smaller, or your seat a little more suited to you, isn't easy. Increased effort and fatigue can effect your chances of performing at the level you are capable of. Mentally you and your machine need to be "one" so you can focus on the job in hand, with full trust in your equipment.
So despite the scarily long todo list that we have for the Stinker, I started to think about the smaller, more personal details of the build. Having a big mountain biking background I soon realised that the S-1-11B control stick was 7/8" OD, which is almost the same as a standard mountain bike handle bar diameter (22.25mm) so already this gave us a huge amount of options for grips. However, I had come across a company on Kickstarter called TMR Designs. This is a company that take the standard lock on grip and make the grip surface totally mouldable to your own hand, or any design you would like simply using hot water... perfect!
Matt at TMR was kind enough to send us two sets of the grips (with colour matched anodising) to use on the Stinker. Below are a few photos of the grips and the moulding process.
As you can see the grips are a high quality product and it takes no more than a few minutes to form them into a totally bespoke grip. Using the supplied mesh, a diamond pattern is also imprinted. We may experiment with other mesh patterns or even a totally smooth grip with just the form of the fingers moulded into it. This is possible as the grips can be moulded more than once, simply pop them back in warm water and try again. The clamps are very well machined and use a larger than standard hex key bolt to secure them, so no fear of rounding anything off.
There are two versions of the grip, one with a plastic core, and the other (a premium version) which has a solid aluminium core. We will try both in the Stinker to see which Alex prefers in terms of the slight flex in the plastic core vs the metal core.
We would like to say a massive thank you to Matt at TMR for providing us with the grips, and we look forward to providing an update once they have had some flying hours.