Coming at 'cross from short-track, I'm riding a mountain bike with a Misfit Psycles (http://www.psyclestore.com) FU2-bar, basically a flat bar with some rise and more sweep than traditional atb bars. Since mountain bikes are permitted in my loca cross races and sicne I am not very comfortable on drops, I'm racing with the FU2-bar for 'cross.
Question: my bike is fully-rigid SS and my hands are getting a little beaten up. Currently using a Serfas mtn grip with a padded glove and it's merely okay but I'm sure I can do better. Anyone else out there racing on flat bars and what do you like for grips?
I can see a few places on a cross course where that would be an idea barl setup, supersteep berms especially. Definitely throw some bar ends on there, trust me. It's good for you and good for the other racers. Here's my horrific no bar end wound as a graphic warning (I actually did this on my BMX, but I think the logic applies even more so to cross because of how crowded the tracks can get).
if your hands aren't too small the heavy Oury grips are comfy and cush. That's the reason they've been popular for 20 years! The ergon grips can distribute the force over a wider area, and come in different sizes. Also, low pressure, supple tires, maybe even tubeless will help too but maybe you're riding pretty low already? Guessing you could ride mid 20s psi in the front tire on your mtb.
I ride a fully-rigid geared Bontrager on east coast trails. I started off with WTB grips and changed them out for Ergon grips. They are a little different at first but it will be the best money spent. If you go that route and you like them you will not go back! I also agree with Andrew on the tires.
I always notice that the first 2-3 weeks I start taking mt cross bike off the pavement, I have some pain in my fingers, wrists and palms. There is definitely a period of adjustment, and while cross doesn't (usually) have the giant bumps you get on a mtb, what you get instead is constant smaller bumps, that chisel away at the well being of your hands.
I bet in a few more weeks of being on different terrain that pain will fade somewhat as your hands and wrists get used to it.
I use ESI Silicon foam grips on my mtb. I have no issues with slipping like Darkness Merkin says. If you install them correctly like they say (use compressed air or rubbing alcohol) they won't slip. They were a pain to get on with compressed air.
They will tear if you crash hard on them but I think they are the best grips I've used.
I went with the Oury grips this past week. So far, so good (at least with my padded summer gloves).
Not sure what I'll do when the weather turns cold but there's time to figure that out still. Thanks. --B