Find the right rubber to keep your ride planted

The best mountain bike grips can be hard to find so we’ve gathered all our favourites here for you to peruse at your leisure.

You may be surprised to hear it but grips your grips are one of the most important bits of equipment on your bike. Yes, it’s easy to get caught up on expensive forks and fancy wheels but there are few things more important than the contact points on your bike.

Grips have a huge influence over the handling of your bike. Combined with the stem and handlebar, they make up the control panel and it is this you use to steer the bike around corners, lift it over obstacles and guide it on descents. A good set of grips is an affordable upgrade that could really unlock the potential of your bike.

There was a time where you had to stick the grips onto the handlebar using glue or hairspray, but it didn’t always work and if any mud or dirt got under the grip it would come unstuck… and so could you. The introduction of lock-on grips eliminated this problem, and now they are commonplace.

mountain bike grips

Two types of lockable grip

Single clamp: These grips clamp with one collar on the inner end. The end of the bar is covered by grip rubber. Some grips, like the Pro Athertons combine this with an expandable end cap.

Double clamp: These grips have metal collars that clamp to the bars at both ends. They are normally supplied with a plastic cap to stop the ends of your bars hurting you in a crash.

Compound

To get started go for the softest grips you can find — yes they’ll wear out quicker but they’re easier on your hands that way. DMR does a “race day” compound and ODI makes a supertacky version too. Avoid old-school grips with collars on the outside of the bar that could hurt your hand, new designs are fixed on perfectly well with an inside collar and clever tapered bores.

Pattern

Grip patterns are incredibly varied, with knurled patterns for your fingertips, waffle pattern for your palm, and in the case of the DMR Deathgrip a raised mushroom profile for thumb cushioning. Whatever you opt for, make sure there is a decent amount of rubber under your palm, and not a thin skim of rubber over the hard nylon core.

Dimensions

Choose a width and length for your hands. Fatter is better, but of course if you’ve got small hands you might prefer a thinner grip. Some like the NS Holdfast offer a longer grip section, perfect for big hands. Just check the grip section measurement, most brands measurements tend to include the lockrings as well. If in doubt go and finger some at your local bike shop to get an idea.

‘Buy Now’ links

You will notice that beneath each review summary is both a link to the full version of the review and a ‘Buy Now’ link. If you click on one of these links then mbr may receive a small amount of money from the retailer should you go to purchase the product from them. Don’t worry, this does not affect the amount you pay.

mountain bike grips

NS Holdfast grips

Price: £19.99
Rating: 8/10

The NS Holdfast needs special mention for its different approach. It is way longer than any other grip so provides an ideal environment for riders with exceptionally big hands or those that like to adopt different hand positions.

Read the full review of the NS Holdfast grips here

Buy Now: NS Holdfast grips at Chain Reaction Cycles from £19.99

mountain bike grips

Race Face Grippler grips

Price: £24.99
Rating: 7/10

The Race Face Grippler is a smaller diameter than many others so works well for smaller hands or those that like to wear padded gloves.

Read the full review of the Race Face Grippler grips

Renthal Traction grips

Price: £24.99
Rating: 9/10

Renthal’s super sticky Traction should be high on the list of grips thanks to its super-glue like grip and vibration absorbing ride, but its double collar and shorter grip section design just stop it from getting a perfect 10.

Read the full review of the Renthal Traction grips

Buy Now: Renthal Traction grips at Hargroves Cycles from £19.79

mountain bike grips

Chromag Basis grips

Price: £24.99
Score: 10/10

Chromag’s Basis lock-on grip is made using a specially formulated compound that combines a soft 25a durometer rubber and a proprietary additive, resulting in a grip that is tacky but durable.

Read the full review of the Chromag Basis grips

UK Buy Now: Chromag Basis grips at Chain Reaction Cycles from £20.99

USA Buy Now: Chromag Basis Grips at Chain Reaction Cycles from $27.99

 

mountain bike grips

Race Face Half Nelson grips

Price: £19.95
Score: 9/10

The Race Face Half Nelson is an award-winning grip, tested twice previously in the magazine, and each time getting 10 out of 10. It is a slim grip at only 28mm diameter, and is well-padded with an incredible amount of feel.

Read the full review of the Race Face Half Nelson grips

UK Buy Now: Race Face Half Nelson grips at Tweeks from £14.99

USA Buy Now: Race face Half Nelson grips at Tweeks from $20.31

 

mountain bike grips

DMR Bikes Deathgrip grips

Price: £14.99
Score: 9/10

DMR has worked with downhill racer Brendan Fairclough to bring you a signature grip called the Deathgrip. It features three grip surfaces, a single lock-on collar on the inboard side of the grip, and an internal taper to ensure a slip-free fit on the handlebar.

Read the full review of the DMR Bike Deathgrip grips

UK Buy Now: DMR Bikes Deathgrip grips at Chain Reaction Cycles from £13.49

USA Buy Now: DMR Bikes Deathgrip grips at Chian Reaction Cycles from $20.49

mountain bike grips

Azonic Logo grips

Price: £17.99
Score: 9/10

The grip surface felt tacky from the get-go, and the chevron pattern has a slight ridged surface, which helped dissipate sweat. The Logo’s rubber is pretty thick too, which adds comfort, albeit at the expense of a certain amount of feel.

Read the full review of the Azonic Logo grips

UK Buy Now: Azonic Logo grips at Tredz from £17.99

mountain bike grips

Chromag Palmskin grips

Price: £24.99
Score: 9/10

The Chromag Palmskin is designed for riders that do not use gloves. It has a ribbed mushroom surface that deforms when grabbed, and the ridges are orientated laterally to help channel moisture away from the main contact area.

Read the full review of the Chromag Palmskin grips

UK Buy Now: Chromag Palmskin grips at Chain Reaction Cycles for £20.99

USA Buy Now: Chromag Palmskin grips at Chain Reaction Cycles from $27.99

mountain bike grips

Renthal Ultra Tacky

Price: £24.99
Score: 9/10

Renthal produce 5 differing compounds to give a range of grips suited for all conditions and all riding styles. The Ultra Tacky, as the name suggests, offers limpet like grip in all conditions.

Read the full review of the Rental Ultra Tacky grips

UK Buy Now: Renthal Ultra Tacky at Leisure Lakes for £22.49

USA Buy Now: Renthal Ultra Tacky grips at Chain Reaction Cycles from $24.49

mountain bike grips

Santa Cruz Palmdale grips

Price: £14.99
Score: 8/10

Interestingly, the Santa Cruz Palmdale doesn’t slide on fully, leaving about 10mm of overhang, which we think is a really good way of adding some width to your handlebar for next to nothing!

Read the full review of the Santa Cruz Palmdale grips

UK Buy Now: Santa Cruz Palmdale grips at Ubyke from £14.99

USA Buy Now: Santa Cruz Palmdale grips at Stif from $20.47

mountain bike grips

Pro Atherton grips

Price: £19.99
Score: 8/10

The Pro Atherton grip is thin, has a tacky dual-density rubber compound that feels good with or without gloves on, is a decent length and is reasonably priced. The only other negative, apart from the tight fit, is the weight; it is one of the heaviest grips we’ve tested.

Read the full review of the Pro Atherton grips

Buy Now: Pro Atherton grips at Freeborn from £17.99

mountain bike grips

ODI Ruffian Soft grips

Price: £21.99
Score: 8/10

With this new Soft Pro Compound ODI Ruffian you don’t have to wait for your Ruffians to wear in like before; it’s tacky straight away. The feel of this grip is amazing, with just the right amount of traction and stickiness.

Read the full review of the ODI Ruffian Soft grips

UK Buy Now: ODI Ruffian Soft grips at Winstanleys from £18.69

mountain bike grips

Lizard Skins Moab grips

Price: £21.99
Score: 7/10

The dimpled grip pattern is low profile, but there’s still plenty of give in the indents to create a soft feel under the hand. The Lizard Skins Moab also performed surprisingly well when riding in wet weather, especially considering it’s named after a town in the Utah deserts.

Read the full review of the Lizard Skins Moab grips

UK Buy Now: Lizard Skins Moab grips from Wiggle from £17.75

USA Buy Now: Lizard Skins Moab grips at Wiggle from $29.99

mountain bike grips

Charge Griddle grips

Price: £14.99
Score: 7/10

At only 28mm in diameter, the Charge Griddle is one of the thinnest grips that we’ve ever tested and also the lightest. It has a waffle-style pattern and the little hex shapes are actually cut all the way through to the core of the grip.

Read the full review of the Charge Griddle grips

Buy Now: Charge Griddle grips at Evans Cycles from £8.99

mountain bike grips

ODI Elite Pro grips

Price: £22.99
Score: 10/10

They have an eccentric core that puts more rubber in the palm of your hand and less on the underside of the grip where the fingertips rest. So you get all of the benefits of fatter grips without the bulk. The ODI Elite Pro is the best fat grip we’ve ridden to date. It’s a great grip for anyone with an open mind or sore hands.

Read the full review of the ODI Elite grips

UK Buy Now: ODI Elite grips at Wiggle from £20.69

mountain bike grips

Ergon GE1 grips

Price: £27.99
Score: 10/10

The GE1 grip differs from most by being specially shaped to fit the hand. So rather than a fixed, round diameter, the GE1 uses a slightly thinner zone under the thumb/first finger and a wider, more cushioned outer palm area.

Read the full review of the Ergon GE1 grips

UK Buy Now: Ergon GE1 grips at Chain Reaction Cycles from £24.99

USA Buy Now: Ergon GE1 grips at Wiggle from $29.99

Conclusion

Even though handlebar grips are fundamentally one of the simplest (and cheapest) components on a bike they can have a profound impact on your riding experience. The best will inspire confidence and enhance handling; the worst will be like strapping a live eel to your bars.

Although the results of this grouptest seem to suggest that most grips are relatively proficient in completing their sole task, there are still a lot of differences.

In the end is was clear that one grip stood out amongst all the other offerings, purely for the fact that it created a sense of control and confidence like no other. Obviously your own hand dimensions and riding style will have a say in which you might choose.

For riders who prefer riding without gloves or with very thin gloves the Chromag Palmskin offers a great, tactile feel, chunky diameter with bags of comfort.

Race Face’s Grippler is a smaller diameter than others so works well for smaller hands or those that like to wear padded gloves.

On the other hand (sorry), if you absolutely need the most squidge, the ODI Elite Pro with its asymmetric padding pretty much minimises hand and arm issues.

The NS Holdfast needs special mention for its different approach. It is way longer than any other grip so provides an ideal environment for riders with exceptionally big hands or those that like to adopt different hand positions.

Renthal’s super sticky Traction almost got the win for its super-glue like grip and vibration absorbing ride, but its double collar and shorter grip section design just lets it down.

It’s DMR’s Deathgrip that gets our thumbs up though. It’s almost faultless in it’s ability to keep your hands where they need to be and to keep them comfortable at the same time.

The blend of features and options make them perfect for pretty much every situation.