The grips are one of the 3 contact points between your body and the mountain bike. It’s by far the most important among them it affects your comfort and bike handling.
While they might all look similar, they’re actually nuanced differences between each of them.
How do you ensure the grips you use are right for your riding style and comfort?
Are lock-ons better?
How long will they last?
On this page, I’ll discuss what you should consider in a pair of good mountain bike grip and share some of the popular ones available.
A Quick Glance : Our Favorite Mountain Bike Handlebar Grips
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MTB Grips Buying Guide & Tips
Grips are surprisingly one of the most often-overlooked parts of any mountain bike setup when they should be a key consideration.
Without a doubt-proof grip on your handlebars, you’ll place yourself at risk of losing control, getting yourself injured, or even simply lowering the quality and length of your rides.
There’s more than one way to ensure a proper grip on your bike, but there are several things to consider before you settle on one, including materials, shapes and styles, and even color.
Here are 4 things to know before buying your next mountain bike grip.
1. Slide On vs Lock On Grip
There are a few methods for getting these on, including the use of glue, rubbing alcohol, simply blowing them on with an air compressor, or even using hairspray or other solvents. However, that last one is often frowned upon because such chemicals can degrade the grip from inside over time.
Slide on grips can also be fixed in place with wire on the outer end once on.
Lock-on grips such as the Supacaz Grizips Grips and Lizard Skins Moab are a newer invention, featuring a hard plastic or metal inner liner that seats on the handlebars’ metal. Simultaneously, the locking cuff, usually aluminum or steel, is then fixed in place with either a hex/allen key or screwdriver.
These have gained particular popularity in recent years among those who prefer much rougher or unsettle ground, trusting the mechanical strength of these grips to help them retain control and deal with vibrations.
2. Grip Compounds
As with any material from which you’re expecting a lot, there are tradeoffs involved with the material you choose.
Grips are available in rubber, silicone, foam rubber, or even Kevlar.
The rule of thumb to keep in mind is that harder plastics and rubbers will generally last longer, but they won’t absorb vibration as well and will be harder on your hands, arms, and wrists.
Softer materials like silicone used in the Supacaz Siliconez XXL Grips and ESI Grips Racer’s Edge will feel a lot better and will help you reduce impacts and keep control, but they’re more prone to wear and tear.
Different compounds will also offer different qualities of traction, with softer rubbers providing a stickier feel that’ll cling fast to your hands while harder materials will be more slippery.
3. Grip Shape
As manufacturers strive to create grips that resonate with riders, they produce grip shapes and sizes for various needs and preferences.
These can range from bulging mushroom grips with a thicker midsection for the palm to shape to simpler straight barreled grips.
Some such as the Ergon GA3 will also be wider in areas than others to create a different quality of grip, with a winged shape to offer relief from stress and strain. It’s important to use what feels good and fits well.
Geek Tip : Avoid using a grip that’s uncomfortable or the wrong size, because this can interfere with your control and your ability to brake or shift properly.
The way a grip is molded is equally important, with manufacturers offering diamonds, ridges, grooves, and other patterns to provide and amplify gripping surface and to assist with ventilation and resisting dirt.
4. Grip Color
Last, but not least, consideration is color.
Personalization is important, and there’s no better way to make your bike stand out and to create a tailored look than to have grips in a color that suits you and your style.
Don’t sacrifice color for quality, though.
If a grip that’s perfect for you isn’t available in the right shade of electric lavender, just go for the nearest thing and focus on comfort and control rather than style.
Grips for Sweaty Hands
Supacaz Grizips Grips
Another great contender from Supacaz, Grizips carries the company’s trademark super grippy patterning in a bewildering array of colors. The Supacaz Grizips are offered in over two dozen colors.
The dual-density rubber provides a satisfying thickness that won’t interfere with comfort while guaranteeing excellent control on trails and off-road. The in-built channeling designed into them directs moisture and dirt away to prevent slipping and weakened grip, and they fit comfortably onto handlebars to avoid loss of contact.
Capped off with powder-coated, allen key tightened, anodized aluminum lock rings to keep them locked on no matter what, these grips are perfect for bikers looking to get onto dirtier, rougher terrain in style.
Lizard Skins Danny Macaskill Grip
Named for the legendary Scottish trials rider, the Danny Macaskill’s were designed specifically to allow you to retain your grip after hard landings while absorbing as much of the shock as possible.
This allows you to retain a high degree of control even immediately after impact so that you can quickly recover and avoid awkward slides or falls. Crafted in a pyramid checkerboard pattern to provide tons of gripping surfaces, they’re built from an especially tractive rubber compound to ensure your hands don’t fly off of them and that they don’t fly off the handlebars.
With thicker construction at points of heavier impact absorption, these are definitely solidly built without being so thick as to be unwieldy or uncomfortable.
Fabric Magic Grips
Fabric partnered with the 50to01 bike crew to produce these grips, tailored to the demanding specifications of the intense trail, enduro, and MTB professionals.
The Magic Grips make use of an ergonomic contour designed to fit the concave shape of the human hand while still retaining plenty of giving for a dynamic grasp.
The suppleness built into the durable, flexible rubber, combined with the contoured texture, reduces fatigue in the hands and forearms while allowing for a relaxed but firm grip.
A single aluminum clamp secures these grips firmly to your handlebars, while a durable nylon cap is included to protect the ends. With a 32mm diameter and 135mm length, these aren’t for small hands.
Race Face Love Handlebar Grip4
For those looking for a slim, ultra-secure lock-on grip, it’s hard to go wrong with Race Face. Named for their pleasant, soft, and super-tacky silicone composition, these grips lock into your handlebars with the help of a screw-in double lock system that tightens a special collar at either end.
The slim, low-profile contoured palm surface features channels cut into the diamond-patterned silicone to maintain your purchase while simultaneously dissipating sweat and moisture, and the silicone is terrifically water-resistant to help you keep control even in wet conditions.
Race Face claims that an advantage of these is that they won’t wear out as quickly as other grips, so a pair of these should keep you in good shape for a long time.
Grips with Anti-vibration Features
PRO Slide On Race Grip
PRO is a Dutch company, and that country’s long and extensive love affair with cycling is evident in their straightforward, no-frills design that’s a benefit both while riding and on your wallet.
This lean grip combines low weight with well-balanced offset silicone, resulting in a perfect low-key design for rough terrain. Taking advantage of the vibration-dispersing qualities of silicone, these grips effectively reduce shock, allowing you to retain control through impacts and unexpected topography.
The simple, no-frills has excellent traction both on the metal of your handlebars as well as your hands, so there’s no need to worry about slippage or losing one in the heat of a ride. These even come with a lifetime warranty for extra peace of mind.
Supacaz Siliconez XXL Grips
Southern California-based Supacaz has made a name for itself with vibrant high-performance grips and accessories, so the Siliconez stands out for being one of their more subdued products.
Molded from a patented silicone memory foam, these resilient grips combine the vibration-canceling absorption of silicone with the ability of memory foam to adapt to your handgrip while retaining their excellent gripping properties.
These grips help you personalize your handlebars while cutting down on vibration fatigue and soreness. While they might not be offered in the most shocking colors in Supacaz’s lineup, they’re UV-resistant to stop colors fading, and they’re easily and swiftly installed in seconds with the built-in bar end plugs.
ESI Grips Racer's Edge
These days, it’s a silicone world, and with these grips, you’ll be glad of it. Silicone seems to be almost impossibly grippy, which accounts for its popularity in cycling and its growing profile in other cycling circles.
Arizona-based ESI has kept on the edge of development since its founding in 1999, and they even started the trend for silicone grips. The Racer’s Edges are nearly unbeatable for vibration absorption, saving you from the numbness and dull pain that are all too often the result of heavy shocks, bumps, and other vibrations.
While they’re comparatively thin, the offset construction places most of the material in the center of the grip to provide maximum absorption, while the silicone interior grips the handlebars equally well, preventing them from slipping off mid-slope.
Grips for Big Hands
Lizard Skins Moab
Utah-based Lizard Skins has spent the better part of 30 years crafting high-quality cycling accessories, and their location has lent them the benefit of testing grounds in Arches National Park, home of the trail for which these grips are named.
The Lizard Skins’ Moabs are about as top-of-the-line as you can get with lock-on grips. At 31mm in width and 130mm in length, these are the perfect grips for larger hands.
The in-place locking on the aluminum clamps means you won’t have to worry about any annoying or dangerous rotating once they’re mounted. The raised patterned rubber grips provide both traction and ventilation for sweaty or dirty conditions.
Lizard Skins Charger Evo
Incredibly simple yet deceptively complex, Lizard Skins Charger Evo grips offer great design at an even better price.
Lightweight and comfortable, these grips slide easily onto any handlebar to immediate effect with the use of the handy push-in plugs and without the need for complicated locks.
These grips combine two distinct textured patterns; a checkerboard pattern along the length of the shaft for superior palm grip and an interrupted ridge pattern for the fingertips. Together, they offer exceptional grip while retaining absolute simplicity and absorbing shock perfectly.
With no locks to bother with, swapping out one pair for another is easily done, and at a temptingly low price, it’s worth it to buy a couple of pairs for color options and spares.
Ergon went a step beyond simple vibration dampening when they designed the GA3, creating a product that offers comfort and relief as well as technical control.
These grips feature a flattened winged shape that’s wider at the outside and narrower at the base to provide a broader tactile surface. This allows you to shift your hands as needed to reduce soreness or fatigue by putting pressure on the carpal tunnel nerve.
It also gives you more endurance for long rides and can do you a favor for later life. The soft yet firm, lightweight rubber dampens vibrations and complements the featherweight aluminum locking clamp to produce a grip that’s light but strong, easy but tough.