Having good quality mountain bike grips can spell the difference between a comfortable ride on a trail and an awful one which leaves your hands feeling sore.
Although bike grips are an essential item for mountain bikes, these are often overlooked. The best mtb grips let you enjoy rides for long hours without leaving you with hand fatigue. These bicycle grips help keep your hand in firm contact with the handlebars while reducing the effects of the impact from the front wheel of the bike brought about by rough terrain or different bike stunts. They are there to help make sure that your hands stay on the handlebars even when your bike gets wet.
Mountain bike handlebar grips are crucial because they are one of three contact points that you have with your mountain bike. Aside from providing a non-slip surface for your bike handles, these also provide you with a comfortable interface while protecting your bike’s bar ends.
Whether you’re a novice to mountain biking or a seasoned professional, having the right bike handle grips can make a world of difference.
As the name suggests, bike grips are there to help you have a better grip, even when your bike gets wet. Grips made from synthetic material such as rubber or leather tend to repel moisture while natural materials fight off moisture by absorbing it.
Here’s what you need to know about the common bike grip materials.
Rubber is one of the most common materials used for bike grips. This and other rubber-like materials can give you a wide variety of stickiness or softness. Note that this is not exactly the padding itself. Also, if you’ve tried using grips before, you might have noticed that softer rubber can give you a better grip compared to their harder counterparts.
Leather bike grips offer a soft feel to your bike’s handlebars. Modern leather grips are easy to install and can better withstand the elements. The natural oils in your hands help smoothen the grips, giving them a polished look with more use. While they may look sophisticated, leather mtb grips may be more expensive.
Foam bike grips are designed to slide on to your bike’s bars. Unlike mtb lock on grips, this type of material doesn’t come with lock on collars or any integrated bar ends. This grip material is good for long distance rides as it is cheap, light, and can dampen vibration better. However, foam does tend to move around and may be difficult to remove.
Specialized grips can offer better bar control and are designed to help relieve hand pressure. Use it with specialized bar tape and you get reduced road buzz.
If you think normal grips won’t cut it for you or if you’re prone to experiencing discomfort in your hands, you might want to try ergonomic grips. These are shaped differently compared to their normally round counterparts. Ergonomic grips feature a wider surface on the outside of the grip and eventually taper into a circular shape close to the base of where the thumb is supposed to be.
Other types of ergonomic grips may even have integrated bar ends that can give you multiple positioning options.
When choosing mtb grips, you need to consider the firmness or softness of the material used. Softer rubber helps make your grips easier to hold. However, these tend to wear out at the grips’ outboard end.
When it comes to choosing your grips’ thickness, it all depends on personal preference. However, thicker bike grips have the advantage of further lessening any impact or reverb on your arms. Thanks to their thick diameter, there’s no need for you to grip them too tightly.
There are several things that you still need to consider when choosing the best mtb grips because there is no one-size-fits all choice when it comes to grips. Your grip choice can impact your braking control and even your gear shifting. Grips may even influence the way you position your hands.
Here are some of our top picks to help you enjoy more comfortable trail rides.
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The ODI Bike Grips Rogue Lock-On Grips are thick and durable bike grips that provide excellent cushioning against rough terrain. Once installed, these grips stay in place, even in inclement weather. The grips’ raised pads provide some much-needed tacky feel that adds comfort and control to your ride.
The grips have a chunky 33mm external diameter which might not be suitable for everyone, but this chunkiness is what gives it excellent shock absorption and the rubber provides a slightly tacky feel—perfect if you’re into longer bike rides.
The durable pliable rubber compound as well as the snap-on end caps even last well after some heavy testing.
These lock on grips are great for riding with or without gloves. These grips are easy to install as they easily slide onto your bike’s handlebars. The lock rings make sure that everything stays in place even when your bike is subjected to intense impact and pressure. The lock-on design improves control and comfort as it eliminates any unwanted movements. In addition, these grips are easy to clean and provide sufficient padding.
The Peaty Grips have a diameter of 30.5 mm, which is a bit on the small side.
The Half Nelsons feature a slim diameter at only 28 mm, coupled with a surface pattern that makes them a great choice as they are comfortable with or without gloves in both wet or dry conditions. These grips feature a tacky surface that isn’t too soft so it doesn’t get worn out even after months of constant use.
If you want to pop some color onto your bike, these grips come in several colors such as black, green, orange, yellow, and turquoise.
The SCHWINN Tri-Layer Gel Comfort Grip boasts of an extra gel layer that adds a layer of comfort. The extra gel also makes the grip feel soft to the touch. The Kraton compound enhances the grips’ durability as Kraton is a robust material doesn’t wear out too quickly. The large pad area adds comfort due to its ability to dampen vibration. The grips’ textured pattern isn’t just for aesthetics—it provides the grips with improved traction.
The grips fit onto 22.4 mm bars and makes for a great replacement or a gift idea if you know someone in need of a grip upgrade.
The ERGON GP1-S Bike Grips provides superior comfort with its ergonomic design. It uses TUV-certified rubber compounds infused with mineral oil to help keep it flexible and durable even after years of use. These bike grips offer more comfortable long-haul rides even on rough terrain as they eliminate forearm fatigue, wrist pain, and sore fingers.
They are easy to install, like other lock on grips. The ERGON GP1-S Grips are compatible with carbon bars and have forged aluminum clamps. These fit hand size between 6.5 and 8.5.
You can remove them in two ways: (a) you can simply cut them off and peel them away if they’re unusable or (b) remove them intact if you want to reuse them for a different bike, in which case you’ll have to follow these steps:
Applying grips may take a bit of elbow grease. Here’s a simple method that you can use: