Sorry for the 4 days delay RyanH, here we go: an update.
Last I checked in I was testing out this concept on a rather long ride. Below is some documentation about the cuts, the before, the after, some general thoughts on this.
To start, I used an "ultralite" Performance-branded 26x1.95-2.25 tube, they weigh 5.40g each after the cut was made. Below is the cut that came out with the best possible 'shape' for SRAM levers, pre-2012. While not entirely perfect, this is as far as I got with the shape and it works pretty well for the most part. I'm interested to see if anyone else comes up with other shapes that would work better and document accordingly.
The image background is one of my cutting mats, and for scaling purposes the grids are marked at .5" each (apologies for the internationalists on here, I don't have a cutting mat that is gridded in metric).
Installation is hard to document, so I'll do my best to describe it while keeping a straight face...
There are two methods to installing this: with or without alcohol. Rubbing alcohol that is. While the end result may look a bit like a certain genre of fetish that some people may have, I wouldn't necessarily follow their recommendations of getting tight rubber onto a body: in this case you don't want it to slip off, it needs to be 'semi-permanent' in a sense. The tube should already have some white powder on the interior, this will help in stretching the tube over the lever body, but not much. For the purposes below, I used rubbing alcohol on the right lever and bare/straight for the left lever.
How to get it on....
I put the tubing on to the hoods already in place on a wrapped bar. In my situation, I have the benefit of a mechanic stand that holds the fork from rotation, but in any case have your bike on a stand and prevent the fork from rotating. This will enable you to get some proper leverage when stretching the rubber on. It's not easy.
My method: facing the body lever, use your two index fingers to reach through the tube from the back (enter through 'pointy side', hook through to the other end. Now really stretch the tube pretty well and slide it over the lever, onto the body as far as you can. At a certain point the tube will catch on the upper end of the body lever. Let this happen, and just pull the rest of the tube along the lever's body towards the handlebar. Flatten it out and there you go.
This is what the end result looks like. See? No ribbing. But I was not very happy with how the front-end of the tube looked on the lever body. Either it stretched too far over and left a bit of mess over the upper lever or it was sort of sticking "out there" and not complying to the body. This is more evident on the 'left' lever below.
Right lever (w/ alcohol installation) - before riding:
Left lever (straight, no alcohol installation) - before riding:
I also tried taking that bit of flap and folding it under... it really made no difference:
So how did it go after a nice, decent 180mi ride?
Not so great. I suppose this may be do to my tendency to use the hoods when I climb (I also use the tops of the bars a lot), but I'm certainly not in the drops for most of a ride like that. What was interesting was the difference between the two hoods.
On the right side (installed w/ alcohol), the hood started tearing on its own accord and at some point tore itself a bigger cut on the lower side, rendering its former tightness non-existant. From there it all sort of dissipated really, folding onto itself. I think this happened around mile 100, but I wasn't keeping track of the exact location. It was still very usable all the way home, but not that great of a finish:
On the left side (installed straight), the hood did not tear! But it did fold up quite a bit and was unable to recover its location on the top of the lever body. That said, it did last longer than the right side. I would estimate that the ribbing and folding started to occur around mile 115.
Taking a look at the lever body itself, on the lower side of the body there's a rather sharp corner from the plastic body just as there is a cut away to the inner mechanism. I'm thinking that if someone were to file that down a little bit/make it a softer edge, there's a lower likelihood of tearing. However that does not solve the issue of folding over the length of a ride.
I don't know how these look on Donald's bike in person, but I can only speak/write of my own take on this.
I don't like them too much. They're o.k. I don't mind the look for its qualities (reminds me of Wicked Grounds in SF actually... great coffee), but it isn't a keeper for me. I was not very happy about the 'flap' the hood left and I am intrigued if there is a method to have a cut that prevents this, however I will also note that unless you're staring at the hood itself it is not very noticeable. Those among us who are particularly keen on the 'appearance' of their rig with each ride may want to avoid this tube option until this issue is resolved. The weight is very nice - but still about 1g heavier than the prototypes I've been working on for a while (.....and damnit we're so close to getting that done I swear...). Comfort wise it's ok if you like rubbery grip. I've grown accustomed to a more luxurious touch (the prototypes again) so the rubber feel for me is just... ok and normal, nothing special. As with any particularly light/thin grip, you will be losing the 'padding' and 'comfort' of the stock/standard hoods, you will feel the lever's body a bit more.