The best mountain bike grips don't need to cost the earth. There are hundreds of grips on the market - a bewildering choice! Here's a shortlist of the best.

The very best mountain bike grips get the contact points right so that you can increase confidence and control, decrease arm pump. Fundamentally mountain bike grips are lengths of rubber fastened to your handlebars that you hold on to. The most common design is the lock-on design that stays in place with one or two end clamps.

If you’re looking to give your hands a better deal, then you really should pop over to our best mountain bike gloves buyer’s guide too! We’ve also got a guide to the best mountain bike handlebars.


DMR Deathgrip

DMR Deathgrips still the best

DMR Deathgrip

Blends every pattern under the sun into a surprisingly comfortable and grippy design

Diameter: 32mm or 30.5mm | Length: 133mm | Weight: 117g | Rating: 10/10

Pros: Good value. Great traction in all weather Cons: Not a lot wrong here (just don’t get the firm versions; very harsh)

What looks at first sight like an unlikely quilt of different patterns actually turns out to be an inspired design where each section does a different job, yet somehow manages to feel completely cohesive to the touch. Our favourite is the thick version with a 32mm diameter and soft rubber but there’s also a 30.5mm option along with both short flanged (our preference) and non-flanged designs a rainbow of colour options and even a super soft Race compound. A brilliant grip, simple as that.

Read our full test review of the DMR Deathgrip grips


Ergon GE1 EVO

Ergon GE1 EVO

Sticky and tapered

Weight: 105g | Rating: 10/10

Pros: Improves control. Improves comfort. Cons: Slightly less cushy than the original GE1. Expensive.

Some tapered grips are more complex than others. Ergon’s tapered grips are different to most in that they effectively alter the sweep of your handlebars. It’s a bit hard to explain/understand but basically the tapering is not concentric to the handlebar. The grip is fatter at the outer edge of your palm. Therefore it is possible to alter the plane in which your hands are positioned whilst riding. It’s a bit like being able to adjust your handlebars up- and back-sweep angles at the very ends of the bar. What’s good about that? It can really help promote and reward the correct attack stance for modern bike handling. It doesn’t hurt that they’re also exceptionally comfortable, boast plenty of grip in this special soft compound version (significantly noticeable in wet weather) and they do a great job of absorbing shock.

Read our full test review of the Ergon GE1 EVO grips


best mountain bike grips

ODI Elite Pro

ODI Elite Pro

Best thick grip

Diameter: 32mm | Length: 130mm | Weight: 102g | Rating: 10/10

Pros: The grip that started the new style revolution. Plenty of colours. Cons: Arguably not as good as tapered rivals. Could do with a price drop.

One of the original fatter grips and still a great option for a lot of riders. These aren’t a wholly thick grip. It’s the lightly domed cigar shaped pad panel that gives it its 32mm stated girth. This means two things: firstly, you can set it up with the pad slap bang in the middle of your palm, or secondly, if you hold them slightly more inboard (ie. with finger and thumb butted right up against the collar) you can then use the slanted nature of the pad to effectively get the grip to act as a tapered-style grip. The rubber isn’t overly soft, which is great for riders who don’t like the squidge of more modern thick grips. The more durable rubber also helps them last longer, as do the cleverly designed integrated end caps. 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 our full test review of the ODI Elite grips


Sensus Lite

Sensus Lite

Best thin grip

Diameter: 29mm | Length: 148mm | Weight: 92g | Rating: 9/10

Pros: The perfect skinny lock-on grip. Cons: Expensive.

Warning: these are very hard to come by. Sorry to set anyone off on some sort of hunt for a rubbery unicorn but if and when you find some of these grips, you’ll be glad you took the effort. There is some sort of magic at play with these grips. They shouldn’t be as comfy as they are for such a skinny lock-on grip. They may only be 29mm in diameter but they out-cush grips with 3mm more girth. Somehow the rubber that Sensus uses is also impressively tough and durable. These are far and away the lock-on grip of choice for glove-less riders. The 3mm Allen collar bolt and the integrated end caps are the icing on the sticky cake. Good luck hunting some down!

Read our full test review of Sensus Lite grips


best mountain bike grips

Fabric Funguy

Fabric FunGuy

No nonsense goodness

Diameter: 31mm | Length: 135mm | Weight: 114g | Rating: 10/10

Pros: Simple but effective. Good value. Cons: No flange option. We’d be nitpicking really!

The classic mushroom pattern has featured on some of the best BMX and mountain bike grips since the ‘80s, and Fabric’s FunGuy is the latest to join that list. Great value, colourful and with the perfect blend of thickness for cushioning and slimness for feel. The top three-quarters of the FunGuy grip uses a mushroom pattern, and this provides just the right amount of cushioning for your palm, without feeling too fat and clumsy. Underneath, there’s a honeycomb design with two rows of raised hexagonal dimples that give your fingers and thumb something to latch onto. The resulting FunGuy grip offers decent comfort and isolation from bumps, but a firm, secure grip with none of the OTT bells and whistles of costly tapered or super-sticky compound rival grips.

Read our full test review of the Fabric FunGuy grips


best mountain bike grips

Renthal Traction Ultra Tacky

Renthal Traction Ultra Tacky

Simply the stickiest

Diameter: 32mm | Length: 120mm | Weight: 119g | Rating: 10/10

Pros: Super sticky in all weathers. Ideal for glove-less riders. Cons: Not everyone likes double-collar designs. Rubbers wears fast.

This grip is all about the rubber. Everything else about the grip is pretty mediocre to be honest. Two-collar design is outdated and rightly disliked by riders who ride with their hands slightly overhanging the ends of the handlebar. The tread pattern is not sophisticated nor pleasingly plain. So why are we shortlisting these grips as some of the best grips out there? Answer: there are none more sticky. So sticky they’re like riding with your hands glued to the bars. It’s when riding without gloves where the sticky Renthals make the most sense. Don’t expect them to last forever, but that’s the price you pay for such soft rubber.

Read our full test review of the Rental Traction Ultra Tacky grips


sdg thrice

SDG Thrice

SDG Thrice

Decent alternative to the Deathgrip

Diameter: 31 or 33mm | Length: 136mm | Weight: 80g | Colours: Seven | Rating: 9/10

Pros: Cheap, light, colourful, grippy, good Cons: Firm raised ends may annoy

Who remembers when lock-on grips first appeared? Do you recall how one of the selling points was the supposed ability to replace the central grip section and keep hold of your collars? How many people have ever done that? Not many we’d wager. Anyway, this is a very 21st century lock-on in that it is single use. The grip and the locking collar are a merged one-piece item. The merits in this design is that it means it doesn’t need so much of a thick inner core to the grip section and – combined with DG’s really nice soft gel compound – makes for a very comfy and adhesive grip. The dual tread design is reminiscent of the DMR Deathgrip and works similarly well. The raised hard-ish end of the grip is a bit uncomfortable for riders who hang off the ends of their handlebars, however.

Read our full test review of the SDG Thrice grips


spank spike 33

Spank Spike 33

Spank Spike 33

Great option if you smash end plugs

Diameter: 28mm | Length: 125mm | Weight: 95g | Rating: 9/10

Pros: Has the most protective end plugs in the business Cons: Most riders won’t need this feature!

This is something of a niche recommendation, admittedly but it’s one we’re going to stick with: these are a very good choice for riders (especially heavy e-bike riders) who keep wrecking the ends of their grips. The grip itself is very good too. It’s not super soft rubber. Which, again, makes them much more durable than most. There is a core cutaway section immediately under the palm zone which significantly offsets the firmer rubber. Again, those oddball riders who ride with their hands hanging off the end of their handlebars won’t like these grip; the tapered end cap doesn’t really work with hanger-offers.

Read our full test review of the Spank Spike 33 grips


How we tested the best mountain bike grips

Testing contact points like grips can often be as subjective as it gets. Everyone has a unique hand shape and general physiology. Hence, when it comes to grips, one’s person’s meat can be another person’s poison. For this test we continuously swapped grips between a variety of different bikes for several months. From lightweight XC race bikes to long-travel enduro bike beasts, each set of grips was moved about to assess the suitability and compatibility of the components. Keeping things fair from a contact point perspective, we stuck to the same gloves (no no-gloves for some testers who opt to ride bareback).

best mountain bike grips

The Big Q: what colour to go for?

How to find the best mountain bike grips:

We’ll admit, there’s no glamour associated with these components. They aren’t as sexy as a set of carbon wheels or the latest 160mm suspension fork but without them your ride won’t go very far. Along with your pedals, your handlebar grips represent one of the only points of contact your body ever really has with your bike (your saddle being the other one).

They are your first line of control and your first line of comfort. You can happily compromise on most parts and still mainly enjoy a ride but get your choice of grip wrong and your enjoyment can go out of the window.

Along with your saddle, grips have to be one of the most personal components on your bike, just because you’ve got hold of them most of the time when you’re riding. Every rider has a grip they prefer so to match all of our taste, there are hundreds of different shapes and sizes, compounds and colours available. The seven are also different but they have one thing in common – they lock on. This means you can fit them easily, take them off again to access other handlebar hardware and they won’t come loose, no matter hard to twist or how bad the conditions get.

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.

Dimension

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.