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.
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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:
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.
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.
Chromag Basis grips
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.
Race Face Half Nelson grips
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.
DMR Bikes Deathgrip grips
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.
Azonic Logo grips
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.
Chromag Palmskin grips
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.
Renthal Ultra Tacky
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.
Santa Cruz Palmdale grips
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!
Pro Atherton grips
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.
ODI Ruffian Soft grips
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.
Lizard Skins Moab grips
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.
Charge Griddle grips
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.
ODI Elite Pro grips
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.
Ergon GE1 grips
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.
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.
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