As one of the three contact points with your bike, you want to ensure that you have a good pair of grips. The best mountain bike grips allow you to ride for many hours without getting hand fatigue. As their name suggests, grips should help keep your hands on the handlebars. The best MTB grips will keep you in control when steering or carrying out other maneuvers.

A good pair of grips can be the difference between painful hands and many hours of happy riding. But, there are many different types of grip on the market. Here at The Adventure Junkies, we want you to enjoy mountain biking as much as possible. So, we offer this guide to help you decide which grips are best for you. We also show you our selection of the best MTB grips available.

 

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THE BEST MTB GRIPS – QUICK ANSWER

  1. Ergon GA2
  2. ODI Ruffian
  3. ESI Chunky
  4. Schwinn Tri-Layer Gel Comfort
  5. Ergon GE1
  6. Lizard Skins Moab
  7. Race Face Half Nelson
  8. Chromag Palmskin
  9. Lizard Skins Peaty
  10. DMR Brendog Death Grip

 

 

 

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND THE BEST MTB GRIPS

PICTURE
GRIP
BEST USE
STYLE
LENGTH
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
GRIP
BEST USE
STYLE
LENGTH
PRICE
RATING
Ergon GA2
Best overall
Single clamp
136 mm
$$$
4.5
ODI Ruffian
Best overall
Double clamp
130 mm
$$
4.5
ESI Chunky
Best budget
Slide on
130 mm
$$
4.5
Schwinn Tri-Layer Gel Comfort
Best budget
Slide on
150 mm
$
4.5
Ergon GE1
Trail
Single clamp
135 mm
$$$
4.5
Lizard Skins Moab
Trail
Double clamp
130 mm
$$$
4.0
Race Face Half Nelson
Trail
Single clamp
133 mm
$$
4.5
Chromag Palmskin
Trail
Double clamp
142 mm
$$
4.0
Lizard Skins Peaty
Downhill
Double clamp
130 mm
$$$
4.0
DMR Brendog Death Grip
Downhill
Single clamp
130 mm
$$
4.0

 

 

MTB GRIPS 101

 

5 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST MTB GRIPS

 

1. FIXING METHOD

There are two types of grip. Slide on grips stay in place with friction alone or are wired on. Lock-on grips have one (single clamp) or two (double clamp) locking rings and plastic sleeves under the grip to hold them securely in place.

Slide on grips have a tendency to rotate if rain or dirt gets under them. Lock-on grips are very unlikely to rotate unexpectedly but weigh more due to the extra material. The bolts can get blocked up with mud and dirt, making it hard to insert a hex key to remove them, although this is only a problem if you need to remove your grips regularly and is no less hassle than the standard removal of slide on grips.

Bike Radar has a very informative video if you need instructions on how to install grips. Due to the extra security it can offer, lock-on grips are by far the most popular choice among riders.

 

2. MATERIAL OR COMPOUND

Silicon grips are light. However, these are not particularly durable and are prone to get damaged in crashes. Just like tires, softer compounds will be tackier. Although these may give you more control, they will wear out faster.

Harder compounds have less vibration damping and may cause hand fatigue. Lock-on grips have a hard plastic sleeve under the grip.

Some riders prefer the feeling of slide on grips with no material between the grip and handlebars. Not having a plastic sleeve also allows slide on grips to have lots of grip material for vibration damping while maintaining a slim overall diameter.

Do not assume that a very thick grip, which can absorb all vibrations, is the best choice. You still want to be able to “feel” what is happening under your tires and get feedback from the trail through your hands.

 

3. PROFILE

There is a wide selection available in the market. Some work with gloves, while others are designed to be used with bare hands. You can find thin waffle, ridges or blocks of various thicknesses. Each gives a different feel and absorbs more or less vibration based on the compound.

The classic waffle profile is generally the best performer in wet weather. Some use different profiles on various parts of the grip for optimum performance. Everyone has different sized hands and preferences, so it is worth trying out various types before purchasing.

 

4. SHAPE & LENGTH

Some grips are straight. Others have an ergonomic shape to fit your hand. It is also possible to find long and short grips.

If you have small hands, do not get long grips as these may push your brake and gear levers too far away from your hands. Using grips that are too short will force the end of your hand over the end of the bars or onto the outside lock-ring. Again, it pays to try different types to find what suits you best.

 

5. BAR PLUGS

The best grips will come with bar plugs. Their design will cover the ends of your handlebars. This prevents serious injury in a crash and protects carbon bars. If none are supplied or they get damaged in a crash, you can use a wine cork until you can get some replacements.

 

mtb grips to have for mountain bikers

Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/bingokid

 

MTB GRIPS REVIEWS

 

1. BEST OVERALL MTB GRIPS

ERGON GA2

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI

BEST FOR: Overall

STYLE: Single clamp

LENGTH: 136mm

PROS: Ergonomic fit prevents hand fatigue on natural trails, shape promotes good riding technique, flatter than the GE1

CONS: Without gloves, the grips feel too smooth so it can be slippery when wet

 

 

 

ODI RUFFIAN

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Overall

STYLE: Double clamp

LENGTH: 130mm

PROS: The original lock-on grips, light, slim

CONS: Locking bolt is thin

 

 

 

 

2. BEST BUDGET MTB GRIPS

ESI CHUNKY

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Budget

STYLE: Slide on

LENGTH: 130mm

PROS: Light, grippy especially when wet

CONS: Easily damaged

 

 

 

SCHWINN TRI-LAYER GEL COMFORT

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Budget

STYLE: Slide on

LENGTH: 150mm

PROS: Multiple layers ensure grip and comfort, ergonomic shape

CONS: Not particularly durable

 

 

 

 

3. BEST MTB GRIPS FOR TRAIL RIDING

ERGON GE1

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI

BEST FOR: Trail

STYLE: Single clamp

LENGTH: 135mm

PROS: Ergonomic fit prevents numbness on natural trails, ridge for index finger grip, promote good riding technique, thicker than GA2, slim version available

CONS: Can be tricky to get set up in right position, lots of vibration on fast trails or at trail centers

 

 

 

LIZARD SKINS MOAB

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Trail

STYLE: Double clamp

LENGTH: 130mm

PROS: Grippy with or without gloves even when wet, sales benefit the Moab Trails Alliance

CONS: Not much vibration damping

 

 

 

RACE FACE HALF NELSON

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI

BEST FOR: Trail

STYLE: Single clamp

LENGTH: 133mm

PROS: Firm but tacky, ridges where fingers grip on underside, good grip when wet

CONS: Plugs do not keep dirt out, can move under lots of force

 

 

 

CHROMAG PALMSKIN

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Trail

STYLE: Double clamp

LENGTH: 142mm

PROS: Perfect for gloveless riding

CONS: Sweat makes grip slippery on warm days

 

 

 

 

4. BEST MOUNTAIN BIKE GRIPS FOR DOWNHILL

LIZARD SKINS PEATY

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Downhill

STYLE: Double clamp

LENGTH: 130mm

PROS: Good grip with or without gloves, durable

CONS: None that we could find

 

 

 

DMR BRENDOG DEATH GRIP

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Downhill

STYLE: Single clamp

LENGTH: 130mm

PROS: Very tacky, three different profiles create perfect grip and cushioning, thin and thick versions available as well as hard and soft compounds

CONS: None that we could find

Top 10 Best MTB Grips of 2017 – Best Mountain Bike Gear Articles – MTB Equipment and Accessories for Men,  Women and Kids – Mountain Biking Products Articles and Reviews
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