Get a Grip on the Timeline
Table of Contents:
by Lee Silver - November 11, 2005

This article is available as a PDF with an enhanced format.

GripTimeline.pdf - 18 Mb



1975
The Oakley Grip

The Oakley Grip

This grip was the one that started it all.
It was originally designed for motocross and supercross.
The grips had a 'tab' on each end that was supposed to aid your leverage,but it just used to get in the way when you
pulled back the throttle.
The Oakley grip had 2 versions, 1st gen had the original Oakley logo that used a knobbie tire as the letter O, and the
2nd gen had the newer thermonuclear protection logo.
Generations



1978
Oakley Grip II

Oakley Grip II

These grips had the same design tread as the original grips, only they had a more traditional look to them.
They did away with the leverage tabs on the ends,that only seemed to get in the way every time you cranked the throttle,
so traction in 360 degrees was aided further.
They were made out of the same rubber compound as the original grips (Unobtainium 49)
They were also later re-released with a different, softer unobtanium compound called Unobtainium 45.


1980
Grip 3

Grip Three

These looked like ski pole grips, and were released about the same time as the .5's
Made out of a slightly stiffer rubber compound (Unobtainium 52) there were many copys of the grip 3, Cobra grips being
the worst offenders.
They were an aquired taste, and you either loved them or hated them,but they stood out a mile, and made a real statement
in whatever colour they were in.



Grip .5

Grip Point Five

The .5's were released about the same time as the 3's and were made from very soft unobtainium 45.
They looked very similar to the grip II, only with a imprinted octopus tread pattern that allowed traction in 360 degrees.
As with the grip 3, the point five grip came in a clear plastic bag.




1981
F-1 Grip System

F-1 Grip System

The F-1 grips were the first grips to have a two-piece construction, with a softer Unobtainium 49 sleeve peppered with
holes, so that the harder Unobtainium 60 tread underneath could be seen and felt.
Once again, these were copied many times by other manufacturers,but there rubber compounds were just rock hard.




1982
B-1B Guidance System

B-1B Guidance System

This and the F-1 both had sleeves and were two-piece grips.
These were also the first grips to come with donuts as standard.
The B-1Bs were very cool - less chunky than the F-1, with a sleeve that had a similar octopus tread like the original Oakley Grip had.







1983
B-2 Guidance System

B-2 Guidance System

The B-2s were the grips that went back to the single piece unobtanium design.
Made from Unobtanium 49, what was cool about these grips, is that you see how they progressed as they grew, and yet they
played off the old styles designs - almost as if they were doing retro before retro was a thought.
They also came with donuts as standard.




1984
O-Wing Grip

O-Wing

This was the last grip Oakley made.
They had the same type tread as the earlier F-1 grips had,only without the sleeve.
Firstly they came out in the standard colours (Blue, Yellow, Red, Black and White) then, they came out in neon colours,
or “freestyle colours” - (Green, Purple, Yellow ,Pink,Orange.)
The O-Wing did not come in a box - they came with a grey plastic clip with an Oakley logo to hold them together.
The other interesting thing about these grips, is that they went back to the single piece of unobtainium design.
They also came with donuts as standard.
The O-Wing seem to be considered by Oakley as a flagship grip - I wonder if going back to a single compound with no
sleeves was a cost cutting measure, as was the grey plastic clip instead of a box.


My closing thought is that I love them all, but the trouble was, as with all the grips, the unobtainium deteriorated rather
rapidly, hence the reason they are so rare – most rock hard A'me grips would often outlive the bike, yet every pair of Oakleys
found on old school BMXs will always be trash or goo .... it tells you something - back in the day you needed a set every month
if you rode hard, as they'd peel apart just by looking at them.



Grip Swirl

posted by banarno
 
 
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Title
Topic
Date
Start
End
Count
Comment
banarno
Lee Silver
Nov 15, 2005 10:41 PM
I have always been curious as to the timeline of products from 1984 back to 1975, So I decided to have a bash at filling in the missing Oakley timeline by finding out when the grips were released.
I had to become a member of 2 BMX forums to do this,and it took me a while to get the facts straight.
Some of those BMXers are pedantic about “period correctness” so I managed to get all my questions answered in the end.
Anyway,here it is,so see what you all think.



1975

The Oakley Grip
-----------------


This grip was the one that started it all.
It was originally designed for motocross and supercross.
The grips had a 'tab' on each end that was supposed to aid your leverage,but it just used to get in the way when you pulled back the throttle.
The Oakley grip had 2 versions, 1st gen had the original Oakley logo that used a knobbie tire as the letter O, and the 2nd gen had the newer thermonuclear protection logo.


1978

Oakley Grip II
----------------


These grips had the same design tread as the original grips, only they had a more traditional look to them. They did away with the leverage tabs on the ends,that only seemed to get in the way every time you cranked the throttle,so traction in 360 degrees was aided further.
They were made out of the same rubber compound as the original grips (Unobtainium 49)
They were also later re-released with a different, softer unobtanium compound called Unobtainium 45.


1980

Three
-------


These looked like ski pole grips, and were released about the same time as the .5's
Made out of a slightly stiffer rubber compound (Unobtainium 52) there were many copys of the grip 3, Cobra grips being the worst offenders.
They were an aquired taste, and you either loved them or hated them,but they stood out a mile, and made a real statement in whatever colour they were in.

Point Five
-------------


The .5's were released about the same time as the 3's and were made from very soft unobtainium 45.
They looked very similar to the grip II, only with a imprinted octopus tread pattern that allowed traction in 360 degrees.
As with the grip 3, the point five grip came in a clear plastic bag.


1981

F-1 Grip System
------------------


The F-1 grips were the first grips to have a two-piece construction, with a softer Unobtainium 49 sleeve peppered with holes, so that the harder Unobtainium 60 tread underneath could be seen and felt.
Once again, these were copied many times by other manufacturers,but there rubber compounds were just rock hard.


1982

B-1B Guidance System
----------------------


This and the F-1 both had sleeves and were two-piece grips.
These were also the first grips to come with donuts as standard.
The B-1Bs were very cool - less chunky than the F-1, with a sleeve that had a similar octopus tread like the original Oakley Grip had.





1983

B-2 Guidance System
---------------------


The B-2s were the grips that went back to the single piece unobtanium design.
Made from Unobtanium 49, what was cool about these grips, is that you see how they progressed as they grew, and yet they played off the old styles designs - almost as if they were doing retro before retro was a thought.
They also came with donuts as standard.


1984

O -Wing
----------


This was the last grip Oakley made.
They had the same type tread as the earlier F-1 grips had,only without the sleeve.
Firstly they came out in the standard colours (Blue, Yellow, Red, Black and White) then, they came out in neon colours, or “freestyle colours” - (Green, Purple, Yellow
,Pink,Orange.)
The O-Wing did not come in a box - they came with a grey plastic clip with an Oakley logo to hold them together.
The other interesting thing about these grips, is that they went back to the single piece of unobtainium design.
They also came with donuts as standard.
The O-Wing seem to be considered by Oakley as a flagship grip - I wonder if going back to a single compound with no sleeves was a cost cutting measure, as was the grey plastic clip instead of a box.




My closing thought is that I love them all, but the trouble was, as with all the grips, the unobtainium deteriorated rather rapidly, hence the reason they are so rare – most rock hard A'me grips would often outlive the bike, yet every pair of Oakleys found on old school BMXs will always be trash or goo .... it tells you something - back in the day you needed a set every month if you rode hard, as they'd peel apart just by looking at them.





Dann
Dann Thombs
Nov 15, 2005 10:46 PM
Awesome history lesson. Although now I need a gen 1 Grip. Wish me luck.
kingphilbert
Philip Barket
Nov 15, 2005 11:24 PM
So even then Unob turned to Goo. Dann, I hope you can incorporate the proper pics in that for a visual.

Kick ass job mate. Now to tackle Sub and Zeros.
EastCoast
E C
Nov 16, 2005 12:19 AM
Very interesting stuff Lee; I could never figure out the timeline for grips.

What's the point of donuts?
Dann
Dann Thombs
Nov 16, 2005 12:26 AM
I imagine to keep your knuckles from getting rubbed raw. I used to have that problem when I was little on my bike. My thumbs were always hurting.
Rick
Rick (The Doctor) Fawcett
Nov 16, 2005 2:17 AM
I will be passing this information on to my 5th Grade students this afternoon - it's about time the learn something interesting! Well done Lee.
eddyc
Eddy C
Nov 16, 2005 3:07 AM
Thanks for the history lesson, Prof. Banarno!

It's nice to see Oakley's humble beginnings.
Rick
Rick (The Doctor) Fawcett
Nov 16, 2005 4:01 AM
They are definitely humble beginnings, but cool beginnings. Like, what was cooler back then than BMX? I can honestly say the grips on your BMX were the determining factor when it came to being cool when I was a kid. I had a bad experience actually. I went with Mushroom grips (soft coiled pattern) and it was almost the end of me. I had to get rid of them since my reputation was at stake so I told me Dad they got stolen at school. We went out that night and bought some Ame's. I remember some dudes rocking Oakley grips, but I was just happy to be rid of the Mushrooms! True story. Thanks for the walk down memory lane guys.
LEX7
EJ Man
Nov 16, 2005 4:07 AM
i had mushrooms when i was 6 or 7 and thought they were very comfortable. i didnt know i was being uncool, lol
kingphilbert
Philip Barket
Nov 16, 2005 4:46 AM
I had mushrooms a few weeks ago, and they took me on a magical journey... Oh, wait.

I wish I was into BMX back then and maybe the O craze would have started way sooner.
Rick
Rick (The Doctor) Fawcett
Nov 16, 2005 4:53 AM
"Lex has mushrooms, Lex has mushrooms!" - ahhh sweet redemption. I liked my Mushrooms, but my crowd liked to tear anyone down the second they did something different. Thus, I conformed. Glad Oakley fights conformity.....
Dann
Dann Thombs
Nov 16, 2005 3:51 PM
Can I make this into an article on the site.
LEX7
EJ Man
Nov 16, 2005 5:30 PM
mine were grosse they were white so you could see all the mud and gunk in all the spirals.

i miss that bike
bong
Wilson Ng
Nov 16, 2005 5:32 PM
excellent post Lee! i wondered about Oakley grips since i knew almost nothing about them, but never bothered to ask.
definitely article worthy!
banarno
Lee Silver
Nov 16, 2005 5:37 PM
Yeah Dann,do whatever you like sir.
That includes anybody else as well.
adamjmoore
adam _
Nov 16, 2005 5:52 PM
Lovely job there Lee, real dedication displayed by sigining upto the other forums and getting the lowdown, nice work mate!
Dann
Dann Thombs
Nov 16, 2005 6:50 PM
You should submit this to the bmxmuseum.com. He's gearing up for a new site soon. I've already sent him the pictures.
banarno
Lee Silver
Nov 16, 2005 8:54 PM
Might look better coming from you then.
Just say you did it,I don't mind one bit.
Dann
Dann Thombs
Nov 16, 2005 9:30 PM
Article is now up.
banarno
Lee Silver
Nov 16, 2005 10:24 PM
Looks nice sir.
Phil and I will get to work on other stuff when we both get time.
Dann
Dann Thombs
Nov 16, 2005 10:37 PM
Next up, figuring out the eyeshades and Frogskin variations.

When we're all done, we'll fly out to HQ and demand jobs as museum curators/historians.
kingphilbert
Philip Barket
Nov 16, 2005 10:37 PM
I'm gonna start with some of it in my downtime at SGH tonight. I should be ready to get really into next weekend as planned. I just have to give my memory a good hard kick in the... to figure out exactly where in time to start.
banarno
Lee Silver
Nov 16, 2005 11:14 PM
Cool,I will also get cracking.
Rick
Rick (The Doctor) Fawcett
Nov 17, 2005 4:26 AM
I want a project, what can I do?
banarno
Lee Silver
Nov 17, 2005 10:22 AM
How about trying to research all the Japanese exclusives?
 
 
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