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edited October 2018
So I'm trying to buy a ski handle, but not sure how to evaluate which handle is best for me. What are some tips in purchasing a great ski handle and some good brands/websites to look in to? What is a good diameter and size? Thank you!
Masterline Custom Grip and In Tow have perhaps the best general reputations for quality and durability, but there are lots of good handles on the market today. As to diameter (generally about .970" to 1.125"), length (12" v 13") and straight or bent, its all personal preference. If you don't have a ski shop nearby where you can go to explore your options, at least seek out other skiers on your lake and try their handles to see what you like best. You don't need to ski with them. Just hold the handle like you are skiing and try several different sizes and/or styles to see what you like/feels best. Some skiers (like me) will have several diferent handles you can try. it is probably best to wear wet gloves while trying handles on for size.
A couple rules of thumb, but with lots of exceptions based on personal preference:
1. The larger your hands, the larger diameter the handle. 1" diameter is pretty standard.
2. The larger your chest (male or female), the longer the length of the handle. You don't want your hands too close together on a 12" handle to be able to easily get your chest up and between your elbows when under load. If you have a big chest, a 13" handle may be more comfortable for you. I wear a size 43 jacket and like a 12" handle.
3. Some people (including me) think that bent handles and larger diameters are easier on your elbows if you are prone to elbow pain.
4. If you don't mind a bit of bulk (I do), larger end caps will avoid finger pinches.
5. Kevlar gloves will last longer but wear out the rubber on your handle faster.
6. Get rid of a handle when the rope starts looking sketchy. If the rubber is still in good shape, there are plenty of folks around, (often including the original manufacturer) that will restring the handle for a fraction of the cost of a new one. I usually use Masterline for restringing.
7. Don't be surprised to pay more than $100 for a good handle. The corollary to that rule is don't forget your $100 handle at a tournament, and don't leave your handle (or ski rope) out in the sun.
John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
Great question and perfect place to ask. Handle diameter, width, bar coating and rope material are all pretty much a personal preference so you have to determine that over time as you try various options. See other threads for numerous comments on that.
My evaluation to determine a choice - how I grab handle steered me to a 13" width; tendinitis with a straight bar steered me to either bend or get a bent handle; grip, comfort, blisters steer me to diameter and/or round v elliptical; anti roll bar, end caps and rope type are also part of the selection process. Good luck!
As for brands - In Tow, Radar, Masterline all offer excellent options and I am sure there are others that will be noted.
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