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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.