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eBay Finds: Oakley B-1B Guidance System BMX handlebar grips

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Some Oakley B-1B Guidance System BMX handlebar grips on eBay

Some Oakley B-1B Guidance System BMX handlebar grips on eBay (Image credit: bmxchamp63 / eBay)
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These are the real deal: original 1980s Oakley BMX grips, from before they started making sunglasses

These are the real deal: original 1980s Oakley BMX grips, from before they started making sunglasses (Image credit: bmxchamp63 / eBay)

We've trawled eBay once more, so that you don't have to, and have upturned these original Oakley BMX grips – one of the famous American brand's first products before it became famous for its cycling sunglasses in the mid-1980s.

Anyone who's a sucker for a heritage product – and especially those who've eagerly paid up to buy Oakley's re-releases of sunglasses models such as the Eyeshade and Razor Blade in recent years – will be interested in what is a refined version of Oakley's first product: the BMX grip.

The B-1B Guidance System grips – the company always was good on its products' names, right from the beginning – were around in the late 1970s and early '80s, and used separate 'sleeves' that fitted over the actual grip, allowing BMX riders to customise their bikes with a whole host of colours.

That ability to mix and match component colours was a feature on the glasses, too, with riders being able to switch out ear stems and nose bridges for a custom colourway, which remains the case with today's models, and there's a custom option on the Oakley website to build your own glasses from scratch.

The Oakley name, by the way, comes from the name of founder Jim Jannard's dog, which is as good a place to take a name from as any.

The first cycling-sunglasses model manufactured by Oakley was the Factory Pilot Eyeshade – a huge, plastic, goggle-like model that was a far cry from the metal-rimmed 'casual' sunglasses that rides had taken to wearing in the 1950s, '60s and '70s.

The likes of American Greg LeMond and Andy Hampsten, and Australia's Phil Anderson, soon made them popular, with LeMond winning the 1986 Tour de France in Eyeshades, and then again in the Razor Blades in 1989, when he beat France's Laurent Fignon by just eight seconds.

The likes of 7-Eleven's Andy Hampsten (right, in Oakley Razor Blades), and TVM's Phil Anderson (centre, in Oakley's larger-coverage Eyeshades) – pictured during the 1989 Tour de France, alongside a rare sighting of future Tour winner Miguel Indurain in the race's combined classifications jersey – helped popularise American sunglasses brand Oakley

The likes of 7-Eleven's Andy Hampsten (right, in Oakley Razor Blades), and TVM's Phil Anderson (centre, in Oakley's larger-coverage Eyeshades) – pictured during the 1989 Tour de France, alongside a rare sighting of future Tour winner Miguel Indurain in the race's combined classifications jersey – helped popularise American sunglasses brand Oakley (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

LeMond went on to popularise the Mumbo – which were later called M-Frames – when he took his third and final Tour victory in 1990, and the brand and its glasses have kept evolving, while the company's famously 'optically correct' lenses have also been continuously developed, with the modern-day Prizm lenses designed to enhance contrast and colour.

And that 'full-coverage' style of the original Eyeshade has recently come back into fashion in cycling circles, thanks to Oakley's Sutro model – favoured by Ineos Grenadiers' Egan Bernal and Olympic road race champion Greg Van Avernaet (CCC Team) – and other brands such as 100%, as used by the likes of Bora-Hansgrohe's Peter Sagan.

A number of Oakley-sponsored riders are currently sporting different models in the Kokoro Collection range at the Tour and other races – a predominantly purple and white design, although the painting process ensures that every piece is different.

The Michigan, US-based seller of these B-1B BMX grips is looking for an eye-watering US$349 (£270), although Oakley products have never exactly been cheap. Proponents would say that you get what you pay for, and if you're prepared to pay for these, you'll get them.

We're constantly on the lookout for unique and rare cycling relics on eBay. If you have any suggestions or leads, please send them to cyclingnews@cyclingnews.com with 'eBay Finds' in the subject line.