Find the right rubber to keep your ride planted

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.

Video: 5 essential tips for setting up 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.

There are 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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Renthal Ultra TackyRenthal 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Picking a winner from these lock on grips would be very tough. This not a cop out; the standard of grips is so high now that they are simply all very good. When it comes down to it, we’re splitting very fine hairs, but on a piece of equipment as vital as grips, it pays to do so.

If we were forced to we’d pick the Race Face Half Nelson or the Chromag Basis simply because they feel amazing and provide a really direct connetion to the bike.

The Chromag just takes it by a nose though. Yes, it may be just that little bit more expensive  but it nails the details and just feels so good