When it comes to mountain bikes, safety isn’t just about efficient, strong brakes. A powerful set of brakes is useless if you can’t control your bike properly because of slippery or uncomfortable handles. A little mistake can lead to one horrible accident.
Thank goodness for non-slip handle grips. They’re usually made of rubber to stay fixed around the handles no matter how intense the activity is.
However, despite the straightforward purpose of grips, it can still be quite confusing to choose the right ones for your bike and personal preferences. That’s because they come in different sizes, shapes, and patterns.
Don’t worry; we’re here to introduce some of the best mountain bike grips so you can start somewhere when you’re ready to browse for products you can buy.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Mountain Bike Grips Review
- 2 How to Choose Good Mountain Bike Grips
- 3 Conclusion
Best Mountain Bike Grips Review
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Solely designed for mountain bikes, the ODI Bike Grips are 130 millimeters long and weigh 115 grams. They’re using a knurled pattern for a tougher design. The pattern also guarantees the highest level of traction for your hands.
More about traction, this product also features a lock-on system with secure clamps. That’s the main reason why it’s impossible for the material to slip off the handles. And, for the cherry on top, the plug caps easily snap on both ends.
As for their profile, these grips are the racing type. They’re narrower than the standard.
Unfortunately, some units don’t come with screws and other necessary hardware. These grips aren’t versatile enough for they won’t lock on if other fasteners are used.
And, if everything’s intact, the hardware itself can be a problem, too. It can crack or break when accidentally smashed. That’s why these grips aren’t too ideal for extreme riders who are always on terrains with lots of obstacles.
- Tough against heavy use
- Maximum grip
- Extremely secure on the handles
- Good for racing
- May lack of hardware crucial for assembly
- Hardware susceptible to breakage
For better protection, you need grips with a thicker material to prevent hitting your palms with hard handles when the bike rolls over bumpy surfaces. The ESI Chunky MTB Grip is very thick to immediately absorb impact. Its diameter is specifically 32 millimeters.
If you’re worried about the possibility of adhesive residues all over your bike’s handles, this product is an appropriate choice. It doesn’t need to literally stick around the handles because of its end caps. As a plus, the caps make the grips look stylish.
Rain or shine, you can completely rely on these grips. They won’t get slippery even when dripping wet, thanks to their silicone material.
Despite the added thickness, it turns out that these grips are too soft for riders who hold the handles too tightly. If you squeeze these grips too much, you can actually feel the hardness of the handles, which isn’t ideal.
You might experience pain in your hands or even your neck, shoulders, and arms after the ride. You may also need extra time just to get the hang of these grips.
And, worse, some users don’t trust these grips during rainy days despite claims that the silicone material will remain non-slip no matter what. Unlike the first product, this one doesn’t have a texture.
- Thicker than the standard
- Less impact
- No adhesive
- Edgy style
- Not slippery even when wet
- Too much softness
- No texture
While other mountain bike grips use rubber or silicone, the Schwinn Ergonomic Comfort Bicycle Grip features a special synthetic material called Kraton. It’s very similar to natural rubber because of its traction and flexibility but way better in terms of heat, chemical, and weather resistance. That means it can last for years no matter where you go with your MTB.
These grips are quite versatile, too. They can be used for other types of bikes as long as the handlebar dimensions meet standard measurements.
We’re excited about the product’s design as well. Its body has a pure black color with a fashionable texture. The ends complement the body perfectly because of their catchy gray or red color.
While the previous option is too soft, this one is too firm for some riders, especially beginners. It may not be suitable for long-distance riding for it can make your hands numb if you’re not used to firmer grips.
And, worse, these grips contain some sort of glue or adhesive. Due to certain factors, they can mark your fingers with residues you can’t easily wash off.
- Flexible and non-slip
- Highly resistant to heat, changing weather conditions, and chemicals
- Good choice for most bikes, not just MTBs
- Minimalist colors
- Stylish but functional texture
- Too firm for beginners
- Sticky residue
Another product with unique material, the Ergon GE1 Grips are made of forged aluminum. Forged aluminum is super-strong yet lightweight. It can help you control your mountain bike better, especially when you accelerate. As proof of its reliable quality, its applications include aircraft, automobile, and aerospace production.
Since these grips aren’t sticky, they include a clamp instead for a secure fit. And, they don’t have size options, making the buying process much easier. No wonder they’re ideal not just for MTBs but for other endurance bikes as well. It won’t matter how wide the handlebars are.
You should think twice before choosing a brightly colored option of this product, though. Some users have noticed how these grips lose their color over a short period of time because of sweaty hands or constant friction.
And, sadly, the bolts aren’t durable enough. The metal used is too soft, which is a huge disadvantage if you’re going to remove the bolts for maintenance or repair. It can be easily deformed.
Additionally, these grips aren’t just firm–they’re very solid. They’re naturally hard because of their forged aluminum material. Some riders prefer softer grips for comfort.
- High level of strength without the heavy feel
- No adhesive
- Versatile when it comes to fit
- Fading color
- Soft bolts
- Too hard for some users
It’s obvious how textured this product is, but the Lizard Skins Moab Lock-On Grip is still soft to touch. It perfectly combines comfort and traction. To increase durability, the soft body comes with collars made of alloy. Meanwhile, for security, the aluminum clamps will keep the grips in place.
These grips are narrower and thinner than other options out there, which is great for racing. They can also handle any condition, especially hot weather and dusty terrains. That’s mainly because of their tough rubber material that can also secure your hold whether you’re wearing gloves or not.
If you choose to buy this product, keep an eye out for lacking components. Some units don’t have screws and clamps. These grips will be useless without necessary hardware. You can contact the seller, of course, if you’re going to experience this problem.
- Textured yet soft
- Durable alloy collars
- Tight aluminum clamps
- Narrow and thin for racing
- Made of rubber for gloved or bare hands and hot, dusty places
- Missing components like screws, clamps, and collars
Some grips have better traction when they’re already overused. Obviously, you can’t just wait for your mountain bike’s grips to wear out only to experience perfect traction. You need something brand-new yet cleverly designed to achieve the feel without wasting time.
The RaceFace Half Nelson Locking Grips feel cheap and thin, but they’re durable and comfortable. They have that worn-out feel fresh out of the package, and that’s exactly the goal of the product.
These grips are lightweight for a more breathable experience for your hands. In fact, they have moisture channels strategically placed around each grip to increase airflow.
Even though the grip itself is high-quality, its hardware isn’t. Some units even have clamps that won’t shut tight because of screws that are too soft to be tightened. The tubes can be shattered as well if you constantly hit obstacles or drop your bike.
The thinner material is a disadvantage, too, despite its benefits. It can’t reduce the effect of vibrations. If you’re going to a rough trail with these grips, you might feel pain in your hands afterward.
- Purposely worn-out feel for a more natural texture
- Thin yet durable for a more breathable surface without premature wear and tear
- Better airflow
- Loose clamps
- Soft screws
- Breakable tubes
- Not resistant to vibrations
If you don’t want to wear gloves while riding your mountain bike, the Chromag Grip Palmskin is one of the most comfortable options. Its softness is sufficient for bare hands during long rides. The pattern looks rough, but it won’t scratch your skin.
Other than traction, there’s a unique reason for the ribbed surfaces. The grooves are designed to direct moisture from the surfaces to the gaps. This is useful for sudden rainfalls or sweaty hands. It maintains non-slip surfaces.
Why are these ribbed grips still comfortable? They’re composed of soft rubber, specifically with a durometer of only 25a. They’re slightly sticky for extra grip.
Longer than other options, these 142-millimeter grips should use a special type of clamp. Fortunately, with Split-Teardrop clamps, they easily cover the ends of the handlebars while ensuring a tighter hold.
Since these grips are softer, they tend to wear out faster than firmer ones. You may have to replace them often if you’re a frequent rider.
- Made for bare hands
- Soft despite the ribbed pattern
- Consistently non-slip despite moisture
- Not too sticky
- Less durable than standard firm grips
How to Choose Good Mountain Bike Grips
Read on to find out the factors you need to consider before buying a set of mountain bike grips.
The two major types of grips are based on how they’re placed around the handles. They’re either lock-on or slide-on.
You can easily spot a lock-on grip if it has at least one clamp or locking ring. It usually has a plastic sleeve as well for a more secure hold. It has a tighter fit for it won’t twist even if you strengthen your grip. That’s why it’s more popular than the slide-on type.
However, because of the added hardware, lock-on grips are generally heavier. Dirt or mud can also cover the bolts, which complicates removal for regular maintenance.
In addition, you won’t be able to place your hands further on both sides due to the metal lock rings. It will only get worse during winter for metal will feel like ice. Both situations can trigger utter discomfort.
Mostly relying on friction, glue, or wires to stay around the handlebars, slide-on grips are usually pure rubber. A lot of riders consider them more comfortable than lock-on grips for there are no plastic sleeves or cores inside the structure.
The slide-on type can also contain silicone foam. Both silicone and rubber can effectively reduce the impact of the vibrations because they stick to the handlebars without additional materials in the middle.
But, slide-on grips are less secure. Some of them can be twisted easily when dirty or drenched because of the moisture or dirt getting in-between the material and the handlebar.
Maintenance is also a hassle with slide-on grips. Once they stick on the handlebars, you need to deal with strong adhesives during removal. This might force you to use sharp tools, possibly damaging both the grip and the bar.
Rubber, silicone, and plastic are the most common materials for mountain bike grips. Learn more about them below.
Grips using this material can be soft or firm. Softer rubber is clearly more comfortable not just because of the enhanced cushioning but also better protection against impact. More importantly, its traction is stronger.
It goes without saying that softer doesn’t always mean better. Soft rubber is less durable than a firm one.
And, since a softer compound is usually thicker, it has its downside, too. Absorbing vibrations too much can affect your safety for you might underestimate the terrain and put the tires in danger.
This material feels lighter. It can help you improve your control on the bike. It can also be sticky to secure its hold around the handlebars.
As expected from a soft material, silicone isn’t very durable as well. Unlike rubber, however, the ultimate threat to silicone isn’t wear and tear–it’s impact. If silicone grips hit something hard, the possible damage can force you to replace them.
The most durable one, plastic is used as lower sleeves for lock-on grips. It makes the grips harder to make them stronger.
As expected, the hardness of plastic affects comfort. It can’t significantly reduce vibrations, unlike rubber and silicone. It’s more likely to strain your hands.
Since riders either prefer to wear gloves or keep their hands bare, the pattern or profile of the grips is important. There are various designs, but here are the common ones:
Known as the traditional profile, waffle grips are ideal for rainy days. Their purpose is to maintain grip even when drenched. The pattern is meant for the palms, the largest part of your hand that has direct contact with the grip.
Since knurled, ridged, or ribbed patterns are more detailed, they will go perfectly with the details of your fingerprints. Their grooves serve as tiny grips for every line and curve all over your fingers. They also help in keeping the surfaces dry from sweat.
Despite the benefits of textured surfaces, some riders still prefer smoother grips. Smooth mountain bike grips are usually made of silicone. They protect gloves from abrasion and snags.
Length and thickness are crucial when you think about the size of the grips you need.
Longer grips are only for bigger hands. Small hands shouldn’t use long grips for it will only be harder for the rider to reach the shifter and the brake with his fingers. Turns out, grips can push the brake and the shifter away from their original positions.
Of course, overly short grips are also inconvenient. You might feel uncomfortable holding the handlebars if your hands keep on touching the end caps or the lock rings.
If you have small hands and the grips are too thick, you’ll find it hard to wrap your fingers around the handlebars. That can affect your control.
What exactly are the pros and cons of thick and thin grips? Thick grips can prevent pain in your hands and arms. However, performance-wise, thinner ones are better. They will help you stay alert while riding for you can learn more about the trail just by feeling the vibrations.
Some grips have bar plugs; others don’t. Which one is better?
With Bar Plugs
Using grips with bar plugs is never a bad thing. Their exposed ends are covered, which is important for emergency situations.
This design can prevent fractures and other severe injuries when you crash your bike with one end of its handlebar landing on the ground first. We’re talking about the possibility of stabbing.
Without Bar Plugs
Since it’s already established that the ends should be covered all the time, a grip without a bar plug doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s exposed. Some grips are already built with closed ends.
And, you don’t need to worry too much if your exposed grips lack bar plugs. There’s a temporary alternative–wine corks!
This factor isn’t complicated at all. There are only two simple shapes you need to be aware of. Round ones are more sensitive to your every move. On the other hand, flat grips are more about distributing pressure properly to guarantee comfort.
Because its biggest disadvantage is only caused by packaging or seller lapses, the Lizard Skins Moab Lock-On Grip has really caught our attention despite other excellent products. We appreciate how balanced its features are. The rubber body is textured but really soft while surrounded by high-quality hardware like alloy collars and aluminum clamps.
If you’re planning to look for other options, remember to consider the grip’s type, material, pattern, size, ends, and shape. The first thing you should do is find out whether it’s lock-on or slide-on. Lock-on grips are usually more secure while slide-on ones are known for being more comfortable.