by Joe Ralston, PCI #1249
Topeka (KS) Police Department
I have been a full-time bike cop for seven years with the Topeka Police Department and a PCI since 2011. I truly believe I have the greatest job in the world; I am getting paid to play cops and robbers on my bike!
Our unit is a full-time, year-round patrol unit. We are utilized for street-level criminal interdiction. We spend the majority of our time patrolling high-crime areas. The rest of the time, we assist with special events and giving safety talks to the community.
In all my years as a mountain biker, I have always used bar ends on both my patrol bike and my personal bike. I have also witnessed and experienced bar ends catching on various pieces of terrain and obstacles.
An accident in 2010 caused me to have my left wrist partially fused. Since then, I had been searching for a comfortable alternative to my bar ends. My search led me to TOGS, which stands for “Thumb Over Grip System”. The company, also known as TOGS, located in the Salt Lake Valley in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains, was founded in 2014. Their mission was to bring to the market a product that would allow a rider to ride with a thumbs-over-the-grip position while still maintaining control, increasing safety by eliminating the risk of bar ends catching on obstacles, and offering better climbing leverage.
The basic TOGS model is a small, lightweight, “horn”-shaped thumb hook that slides on the bar (resin model) or has a hinge (carbon model). I have been afforded the opportunity to test and evaluate both the resin model and the carbon fiber model. They are very durable and do not take up very much real estate on my bars. Both models weigh 18 grams, come with hardware, and include an allen wrench for installation.
Installation is extremely easy. For the resin model, slide off your grips, slide on the TOGS, lightly tighten, put your grips back on and go ride. When installing the carbon model, you do not have to take off the grips. They are hinged so you just mount them to the bar in your desired position. Make sure you do not over-tighten them. They should move if you apply force.
Once I found the perfect position for me, I discovered myself using the thumbs-over style more. They give the ability to shift your hand position while you are on the bike to relieve numbness from staying in one spot. I have found myself using the thumbs-down grip when descending or when riding any type of sketchy terrain. The rest of the time, I am riding in the TOGS position. They are really great to increase climbing leverage.
Bottom line for me, they are much more comfortable and usable than the bar ends we issue. My partner uses them in conjunction with his bar ends. There are many options for use and applications.
TOGS participates in the IPMBA Product Purchase Program, offering 30% off MSRP. Visit http://togs.com for more information or to purchase.
Joe was certified as an IPMBA Police Cyclist in 2007 and an IPMBA Instructor in 2011. He has been with Topeka Police Department for 10 years and a full-time bike officer for seven. He attended the IPMBA Maintenance Officer Course in 2013 and the IPMBA PESC II in 2015. He is an avid mountain biker and is registered for his first race at the Sunflower State Games this summer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c) 2016 IPMBA. This review appeared in the Summer 2016 issue of IPMBA News.