For most cyclists, mountain bike grips are a fit and forget an item. They don’t give their grips much thought until they’re old and needs replacement. What most people fail to realize is that they are one of the most vital parts of a mountain bike. In fact, they are important for both comfort and control. They will greatly affect your comfort and performance.
Given the abundance of bike grips on the market, buying a good one can be a daunting task. They are available in varying designs, thickness, widths, and compounds. Besides the overwhelming number of choices, you also need to take into consideration your riding style, physical dimensions, and riding discipline. Getting the right grips will add comfort and control to your riding experience. Get the wrong one, and you are likely to experience hand discomfort and even pain.
To make the buying process easier for you, we did a roundup of some of the best mountain bike grips in the market. Keep in mind, though, that shopping for grips is a personal process. Just because it works for me, it doesn’t mean that it is the right one for you. We suggest that you try out a number of models and styles before making a purchase.
A Buying Guide to Finding The Best Mountain Bike Grips
When looking for the best mountain bike grips, there are important things to bear in mind before beginning your search. You might have believed that there aren’t many types of grips and your selection would be easy, but you couldn’t be further away from the truth. Here are some important factors to consider.
Lock vs Non-Lock Grips
The main category you’ll come across for mountain bike grips is lock vs non-lock types. Most basic products are lock grips that slide onto the ends of the bar and you can easily remove them by twisting them back and releasing off your bars. To secure them on your bars, they feature metal collars at each end of the grip.
There are many benefits to this style, including making it easy to put them on and off your mountain bike. You might not always need grips – especially when riding in different weather conditions, or perhaps you’re a rider who likes to experiment with different equipment. If so, these are an ideal choice for you.
Non-lock grips can slip off or rotate on your handlebars when they become warm or wet. Obviously, this isn’t an ideal solution, and you lose a sense of security. But, if you don’t intend to ride fast or uphill, you probably won’t experience this downfall and can purchase basic bike grips instead.
Lock-on grips prevent your bars from becoming damaged due to general wear and tear or if your bike is involved in an accident. Non-lock grips will rip off and could create a potential health hazard as a handlebar without a grip can cause some damage.
Thickness and Material
It doesn’t matter whether you choose lock or non-lock grips as this section applies to both kinds of bike grips. First, plain-gauge grips feature the same thickness throughout the entire grip, unlike some others which are thicker in the middle for additional comfort. Plain-gauge grips are great if you experience hand pain or find that grips impair your handling if you regularly travel on difficult terrain.
You’ll find that the grip thickness varies depending on the brand you purchase from or the type of bike grip you choose. If you have small hands, you might prefer a thinner grip, as this is generally more comfortable in the long-run. On the other hand, downhill riders tend to choose a larger grip.
Then there are bike grips that use multiple types of rubber. These are called dual-compound grips and are designed with a hard foundation then layered with a softer surface for comfort. The idea behind this design is to ensure that the bike grip is secure, holds good traction, but is ergonomic to hold – especially for long periods of time. These types of bike grips tend to be thicker than most, and more expensive, so if you’re looking for a thinner, cheaper option, steer away from dual-compound grips.
Here are 6 of the best mountain bike grips of 2018.
The Benefits of Mountain Bike Grips
Mountain bike grips help to improve your comfort while riding a bike. If you’ve ever been on a long journey and returned with sore hands, you’ll appreciate how grips massively reduce any discomfort. Designed with padding and vibration damping, they are great for long and bumpy journeys. Mountain bikes are designed with a pattern on the handlebars to prevent any slipping, but this can sometimes cause irritation on your hands, so it’s best to add on a bike grip to the handlebars.
There’s a variety of padding you can choose from, including different materials and thickness. This is mainly down to personal preference and what feels most comfortable for you. Some riders prefer leather, while others find that this makes their hands sweaty. Consider the features you’re looking for from a grip before making a purchase.
Better Handling of Your Bike
Yes, mountain bike grips are for gripping, but they also help to improve your riding experience. By providing better handling, you’re more in control of your bike and less likely to encounter an accident. No matter if it’s raining or your sweating, these factors can affect your safety on your bike.
Most bike grips feature rubber materials, and foam, leather for comfort and added luxury. If you tend to sweat when biking, natural material and foam are the best options to absorb any moisture. Alternatively, if you ride your bike even when it’s raining, you should choose synthetic materials as this repels any moisture that hits it, so you can still grip onto your handlebar.
Rubber bike grips have different levels of stickiness and softness, and this material grips well onto your handlebar. However, rubber tends to wear out quickly so you’ll find you need to replace your grips more often than with other materials. Although this effect depends on how regularly you use your bike and your budget.
Finally, some products are smooth while others have textured patterns. These are designed to consider your comfort and safety. A smooth grip is much more comfortable to hold onto but doesn’t provide you with as much grip in tough terrain.
The Best Mountain Bike Grips
Here are the best mountain bike grips of 2018. Each of these focuses on safety and comfort and are all reasonably priced.
Race Face Half Nelson Grips
The Race Face Half Nelson grips feature a lightweight, super slim design, with a diameter of only 28mm. It is 15 g lighter compared to a set of full end-capped lock-on grips. This award-winning grip also comes with a plastic sleeve that runs the full-length from the inboard clamp.
This is what sets it apart from other single-clamp models. The plastic sleeve is intended to keep the outboard end from twisting. These grips will work well with bare hands or with gloves.
Oury Mountain Bike Grips
If you grew up torn between twisting a throttle grip or mashing pedals, then the Oury Mountain Grips are sure to remind you of your youth.
Molded from soft, thick rubber, the Oury Mountain Grip is the ultimate standard in grip comfort. These grips provide a nice, anti-slip surface for safety while providing optimal comfort. They are thick enough to cushion your hands and remain comfortable even on long rides. But they are not too big that you’ll have a hard time controlling the handlebar.
These grips are ideal for those who like to add some flair to their rides. Oury Mountain Grips are available in a wide range of colors, so you are sure to find one that suits your taste and preference.
Schwinn Tri-Layer Gel Comfort Grips
If you usually strain your arms and shoulders on long bike rides, then getting the right mountain bike grips should be at the top of your priority list. In this case, we recommend that you give the Schwinn tri-layer gel grip a try.
These grips are equipped with an extra gel layer, which provides maximum comfort. You are less likely to experience any stress on your arms and shoulders. They also have a large palm pad area and textured pattern to provide improved traction. Overall, the Schwinn tri-layer gel comfort grips will meet all your cycling needs.
Lizard Skin Moab Lock-On Grips
The Moab grip has a raised texture, which is inspired by the famous delicate arches that exist in Moab, Utah. This gripped pattern creates a soft feel when you hold it, and ensures you can still hold the grip in wet conditions.
They have a great feel in your hand and are recommended for those who want thin grips. They are also easy to install and will stay where they are. Also, you don’t have to squeeze too hard to get the acquired grip, which reduces any pressure on your hands and knuckles.
ODI Troy Lee Design Grips
ODI enlisted the help of the folks from Troy Lee Designs to develop the most innovative grip yet. After hundreds of drawings and designs, they were able to develop some amazing grips and even put an artistic spin on a quality design.
A great thing about these grips is that they have a very unique thumb and pinky flange that do not interfere with your braking or shifting. They help you feel where your hands are on the grip. These grips are also durable. They will show very little signs of wear even after a full season of riding dirty. ODI used their finest, most durable rubber on these mountain bike grips. You can really tell.
They provide outstanding performance and control even in wet, muddy conditions. They are particularly good for four-cross racers. These mountain bike grips are available in some ultra garish colors such as pink, orange, yellow, and red, which is great if you want to add pizzazz to your ride.
Winning Mountain Bike Grip
So, which grip will you choose, or are you stuck for choice? If this article could only focus on one bike grip, I’d declare Schwinn Tri-Layer Gel Comfort Grips the winner. Unlike some other mountain bike grips available, this product has a texture that is evenly distributed throughout the grip so you can adjust your hand positions at any time. It’s also designed with synthetic rubber rather than rubber which is prone to wearing away quickly.
I also like that this product has no space on the end of the plugs so that no grime or dust can enter them. As a result, there’s virtually no maintenance required – apart from the odd clean with warm water to refresh.
Featuring a large padded area, this grip protects your hands at all times when you’re riding so there’s virtually no discomfort during your time on the bike. It’s also not too thick that riders with small hands can’t use. Though if you want to adjust the grip, this is very easy to do.
Have you discovered a bike grip from our list that you’d love to purchase? Or perhaps you have some other tips on picking the right grip for your riding style. Either way, we’d love to hear from you, so share your thoughts and feedback in the comments.