11 Best Mountain Bike Grips in 2017 – Top Selections by A Pro Mountain Biker

Mountain bike grips have a very important task. They make sure that yours do not slip off the handlebars and keep them in the right position to reach the brakes and gears. a good pair of grips will also absorb vibrations and have a comfortable shape to hold, keeping your hands from getting fatigued over many hours of riding.

Finding the right pair of grips is therefore critical for control and comfort but no two pairs of hands are the same and everyone has different preferences. There are also different grips available for different styles of mountain biking and different conditions.

The wide variety of grips available can be a bit confusing so we have written this article to help you choose. Below you will find an overview of what you need to think about when looking for a new pair of mountain bike grips and we have given you a selection of the best grips available.

Important Considerations when Buying -

bike-grips

Slide-on or Lock-on

There are two different ways of fixing a pair of grips to your handlebars. Slide-on grips are held in place by friction alone or may be wired on. If rain water or dirt gets under slide-on grips they are likely to twist on the bars.

This is potentially dangerous if you land from a drop and the grip moves, or at least annoying when riding in wet weather.

Lock-on grips have one or two clamps to lock the grip onto the bar. This gives a much more secure hold and thy are by far the more popular type. The disadvantage is that a plastic sleeve runs inside the grip, between the rubber and handlebar, which either increases the diameter or decreases the amount of rubber (and therefore vibration damping).

Material

Soft compounds offer more grip and control but wear out faster. Hard compounds will last longer but do not absorb as much vibration. Silicon grips are very light but are easily damaged by scrapes and crashes.

Profile Design

If you look at any selection of grips you will notice that they look very different from each other in terms of the shapes and patterns on the grip surface. The different profile designs cater to different preferences. One enduring pattern is the waffle design as it provides good grip even when it is wet.

You will also notice blocks and ridges of different thicknesses and some grips even use two or more different profiles.

Some riders prefer thin grips while others like a bit more to hold on to. You will be able to find straight grips and ones that have an ergonomic shape. It is worth trying a variety to find out what works best for you.

Length

Although there is not a huge variety of lengths available, you should choose the shortest grips that your hands fit on. Grips that are too long may move the brake and gear levers too far away while short grips might place the outside of your hand on a hard lock ring.

Bar Plugs

Always use bar plugs or grips that have a closed end. This is really important. If you crash and fall onto the end of your handlebar, the bar plug will prevent the bar stabbing into you. Bar plugs will also protect carbon bars from damage in a crash.

10 Best Mountain Bike Grips Review

Instead of testing hundreds of grips, we have sorted through countless reviews and decided which are the best grips on the market. We have included a variety of styles, widths, profiles and uses so there is something for everyone.

1. Ergon GE1 Grips

Ergon GE1 grips

Type: Single clamp

Ergon spent a lot of time researching the shape of these grips. The result is a pair of grips that have an ergonomic shape to prevent numbness and promote a good riding technique.

The shape puts your hand in a position that encourages you to keep your elbows out. There are smooth and textured areas of these grips and on the underside there is a ridge to grip your index finger.

There is also a slim version available. Due to the shape of the GE1 needing to sit in the right place on your hand, it can be difficult to get the grips in the correct position.

Once you do, you will notice that you do not have to hold on as tight through technical trail sections. The vibration damping could be better, but you will not notice this unless you spend lots of time on fast trails.

Pros

  • Ergonomic fit helps riding technique and prevents hand fatigue.

Cons

  • Set-up can be tricky.

2. Lizard Skins Lock-On Peaty Grips

Lizard-Skins-Lock-On-Peaty-Grips

Type: Double clamp

Designed by downhill racing legend Steve Peat, these gloves are great with or without gloves. The rubber is reasonably thin to give a good feeling of the trail through the bars.

In very wet weather they can get a bit slippery, especially if you are not wearing gloves.

The tacky rubber is surprisingly durable and the clamps will absolutely not slip once tightened up.

Pros

  • Work well with or without gloves.
  • Very durable.

Cons

  • None.

3. Ergon GA2 Grips

Ergon-GA2-Grips

Type: Single clamp

The same as the GE1 but thinner and with a flatter (yet still ergonomic) profile.

Without gloves the GA2 grips can feel too smooth and sweat tends to build up on them.

Pros

  • Ergonomic fit helps riding technique and prevents hand fatigue.

Cons

  • Do not work well when wet.

4. Lizard Skins Moab Lock-On Grip

Lizard Skins Moab

Type: Double Clamp

The Moab grips are great in all conditions. Even though Moab is in the desert, the soft dimples and medium thickness provide great grip in the wet and dry regardless of whether you are wearing gloves or not.

The durability is good but there is not too much vibration damping, so longer rides through rough terrain may call for something with a bit more padding.

Some of each sale goes to the Moab Trails Alliance so by using these grips you can also support a great riding community.

Pros

  • Good grip with or without gloves.
  • Sales help the Moab Trails Alliance.

Cons

  • Vibration damping could be better.

5. Race Face Half Nelson Locking Grips

Race Face half Nelson

Type: Single clamp

These grips have a firm yet tacky feel to them. On the underside there are ridges to give more grip to your fingers. The profile is slim and does not absorb too much vibration.

They perform well in wet weather but dirt has a tendency to work its way past the bar plugs and get under the grips.

If lots of force is exerted on them from a big drop they can move slightly, but for a lot of users this won’t be a problem. Overall these are a great pair of grips but you will have to replace them quite frequently as they wear out quite fast.

Pros

  • Firm and tacky, work well in the wet.

Cons

  • Dirt gets under them.

6. ODI Ruffian Bike Grips

ODI Ruffian Bike Grips

Type: Double clamp

When ODI released the Ruffian it was the first ever lock-on grip. The light weight, thin profile and time proven waffle design have ensured that this grip is still just as popular today.

A variety of compounds are available to match your preferences and weather conditions.

The Ruffians can be a bit too slim when riding through rough terrain and some users find the clamping bolts too thin.

Pros

  • Light, slim.

Cons

  • Locking bolts are thin.

7. ESI Chunky MTB Grip

ESI Chunky Grips

Type: Slide-on

Available in a variety of thicknesses and colors, these lightweight silicone grips perform well even in the wettest of conditions.

The structure of the silicone does a great job of absorbing vibrations and more material is put on top to cushion your palms than on the underside where your fingers hold on.

These grips do not stand up well to scrapes and a nasty crash could easily see parts of them getting torn out.

Pros

  • Light and good grip even when wet.

Cons

  • Easily damaged

8. DMR Brendog Death Grip

DMR-Brendog-Death-Grip

Type: Single clamp

Another downhill racer, Brendan Fairclough designed these grips with DMR because he wanted the benefits of three different patterns to make the ultimate grips.

There is the classic waffle pattern, ridges on the underside and taller mushroom ribs around the thumb for comfort and to counter hand fatigue.

Two thicknesses are available as well as soft and hard compounds, so you can find your perfect grip. There is also a flange, but this is purely because it looks cool!

Pros

  • Very tacky, different patterns provide ultimate grip experience.
  • Different varieties of thickness and compound available.

Cons

  • None.

9. Chromag Palmskin Grips

Chromag-Palmskin-Grips-Gray-and-Red

Type: Double clamp

If you do not like to ride with gloves on, these grips are for you. Wavy ribs run the length of the grips and squash down under your hand when you grab them.

Sweat is moved away by the ribs so you never get slippery hands, except on the hottest days.

Pros

  • Perfect choice for riding without gloves

Cons

  • Sweat makes them slippery.

10. Renthal Ultra Tacky Dual Compound MX Grips

Renthal Ultra Tacky Dual Compound MX Grips

Type: Double clamp

Taking a lot of inspiration from the ODI Ruffians, these grips have a double clamp design and waffle pattern. The compound is very soft, and just as the name suggests, it is incredibly tacky.

Regardless of the weather conditions, your hands will stay planted on the bars, meaning you do not have to hold on too tight.

Despite being quite thin, these grips absorb surprising amounts of vibration. The price you pay for the extra grip is that they wear out faster than most other grips.

Pros

  • Very soft and tacky even in extreme wet.
  • Great vibration damping.

Cons

  • Wear out fast.

11. Schwinn Tri-Layer Gel Comfort

Schwinn Tri-Layer Gel Comfort Grip

Type: Slide-on

Three different layers provide grip where it is needed and vibration damping elsewhere. The ergonomic shape and large pad under the palm absorbs vibration and increase comfort.

Not suitable for more extreme trail riding but for casual riding around the woods, these grips are a great choice.

You may need to experiment a bit to get them in the correct position.

Pros

  • Three layers for comfort.

Cons

  • Can be tricky to get in the right position.

About the Author Matthew R. Duncan

I am proud to be the go-to guy among my circle for bike advice. I take it personally when someone I know buys a new bike without consulting me first!

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