There are hundreds of grips on the market, but our expert testers have picked the very best options for small hands, big hands, gloved hands or gloveless.

Mountain bike grips have one very important job to do: keep you holding on, even if things get rowdy on the trail. How they do this is actually quite sophisticated, with specially developed rubber compounds and multiple tread patterns.

There’s more going on than just sticking you to the bike too. The best grips cushion you from the trail, increase your confidence, let you tailor the position of your bars, and colour match your socks if you so wish. But with so many grips out there on the market, it’s hard to know which is right for you. If you’re pushed for time, the best deals for our recommended grips are in the widget below. Otherwise, scroll down to find out more about the best mountain bike grips we’ve tested and why we’ve rated them.

And while you’re here, to get the ultimate control and comfort check out our best mountain bike gloves buyer’s guide too, and our guide to the best mountain bike handlebars.

DMR’s Deathgrip is a crazy-paving of designs that comes together beautifully in your hand.

1. DMR Deathgrip

Best overall mountain bike grip

Diameter: 29.8mm or 31.3mm | Length: 133mm | Weight: 117g | Rating: 10/10

Reasons to buy:

  • The Deathgrip is one of the best grips, but it’s surprisingly good value too
  • The traction is superb, whatever the weather and works well gloveless too
  • Developed with Brendog (Brendan Fairclough), ergo the coolest grips around
  • Amazing range of colours and patterns, plus there are two grip sizes

Reasons to avoid:

  • The Firm version is very harsh and not for gloveless riding
  • Needs hammering on (don’t actually use a hammer!)

The strength of the DMR Deathgrip is not that it was designed with the help of Brendan Fairclough, AKA Brendog (although that must have helped). No, what’s really important is there are multiple grip patterns placed just where you need them: Ribbed where your thumb joins your forefinger for extra cushioning; waffled under your fingertips for ultimate grip, and knurled everywhere else for cushioning.

The Deathgrip is also eccentric, meaning there’s more rubber under your palm than on the other side, helping comfort without making the whole thing too bulky. Choose between flanged, for that full-on moto feel, or flangeless if you need direct access to shifters and dropper post levers. There are also two diameters to fit different hand sizes, a rainbow of awesome colours, and an ultra-sticky Race compound for those who like to ride gloveless.

Read our full review of the DMR Deathgrip grips

The Ergon GE1 EVO are a fettler’s dream, use them to fine tune your effective bar position and improve control.

2. Ergon GE1 EVO

Best for adjustability and fine tuning your hand position

Diameter: N/A | Length: N/A | Weight: 105g | Rating: 10/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Improves control by altering your position on the bars
  • Improves comfort too, because the rubber can be placed just where you need it
  • Rotate to get the perfect wrist angle, for maximum confidence

Reasons to avoid:

  • Slightly less cushy than the original GE1
  • Expensive

Ergon GE1 EVO grips are pretty unique because they let you change the sweep of your handlebars. That means you can effectively adjust the angle of grips in relation to the bar, simply by rotating them. Turn them towards you 180° and the bars will wrap around your body by a few millimetres more – turn the other way and they’ll move away from you.

The idea is to tailor the fit to your individual hand size and body position. So if you ride too far off the back of the bike, rotating your grips forward will help pull your weight back towards the front. And aside from the adjustability, the textured rubber is comfy and grippy with plenty of padding to reduce shocks and harsh vibrations. Ergon offers the GE1 Evo in a Slim version for smaller hands and a Factory option for ultimate soft tackiness.

Read our full test review of the Ergon GE1 EVO grips

ODI Reflex grips

The ODI Reflex grips are built for comfort, but not at the expense of control.

3. ODI Reflex grips

Best for hand pain and arm pump

Diameter: 33.5mm or 34.5mm | Length: 135mm | Weight: 108g | Rating: 10/10

Reasons to buy:

  • High level of comfort and vibration absorption
  • Premium quality construction that seems to last and last

Reasons to avoid:

  • Possibly too large for some hand sizes

ODI set out on a mission to rid the world of hand pain with its new grip, the Reflex. The goals were to damp down vibration and reduce arm pump, thereby improving overall ride comfort. ODI wanted to do all this without reducing control or introducing any vagueness to your steering.

It’s a chunky old grip, and takes cues from plenty of other top designs. You get a raised grid palm, a ribbed mushroom panel on the inside, and a waffle pattern under your fingertips. All this adds up to lots of lovely cushioning, with the size of the grip and the offset padding working especially well on long rides.

Read our full test review of the ODI Reflex grips

Burgtec Bartender grips

Burgtec’s Bartender Pro is super soft, mushy, and shock-absorbing.

4. Burgtec Bartender Pro

Best for shock absorption

Diameter: 31.5mm | Weight: 103g | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Durable and hardwearing
  • 3mm bolts less likely to round out

Reasons to avoid:

  • Slightly firmer rubber compound
  • Collars fall off when you remove the grip
  • Some vagueness and extra hand rotation in the wet

The Bartender Pro gets a single collar lock-on while the main grip area uses skinny rubber ribs separated by narrow channels. The grooves give your finger purchase, while the mushroom-style ribs provide the comfort and shock absorption. They are on the spongier side, which has its drawbacks when it’s wet, as you do get more hand movement when wrenching on the bars, but on rough descents they really help reduce fatigue.

Larger 3mm diameter bolts help reduce the risk of rounding out, and there’s a palette of wild colours and patterns to choose from to match, or clash, with your bike.

Read our full test review of the Burgtec Bartender Pro grips

Race Face Chester grip

The Race Face Chester grip is soft as Labrador-endorsed toilet tissue.

5. Race Face Chester

Grips with the softest rubber

Diameter: 31mm or 34mm | Length: 136mm  | Weight: 110g | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Extremely comfortable and cushioned (even in thinner diameter)
  • Super tacky and grippy rubber blend
  • Last OK despite how soft they are
  • Ends don’t pop out too easily

Reasons to avoid:

  • Finger box zone ridges not as stable as some
  • Ridged grips tend to wibble a tad while riding

A fresh grip from Race Face, and one that’s found fans already here at MBR. Available in two thicknesses, the thinner 31mm diameter will work for most riders, while the 34mm option is suited to large hands. What’s common between both sizes is the soft rubber compound and the finely tuned tread, that uses different patterns for specific jobs. In that respect it’s a little like a DMR Deathgrip, albeit not quiet as aggressive in terms of depth and edge sharpness of some textures. It still provides excellent cushioning and good security, while standing out for its comfort and ability to be ridden without gloves.

Read our full test review of the Race Face Chester grips

best mountain bike grips

Renthal’s Traction Ultra Tacky makes your hands feels like they’re covered in tree sap

6. Renthal Traction Ultra Tacky

Best sticky grip out there

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

Reasons to buy:

  • Super sticky in all weathers
  • Ideal for glove-less riders

Reasons to avoid:

  • Double-collar design can cause discomfort to the heel of your palm
  • Rubber wears fast

This grip is all about the rubber. Everything else about it is pretty mediocre, but the rubber is like velcro for your hands. The twin-collar design is outdated and can cause palm pain among riders who ride with their hands slightly overhanging the ends of the handlebar.

Equally, the tread pattern is far from sophisticated and there’s little padding to speak of. But this So sticky they’re like riding with your hands glued to the bars. If you ride without gloves, these are worth trying out.

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

Deity Knuckleduster

The Deity Knuckleduster is a bit like a toned-down Deathgrip.

7. Deity Knuckleduster

Best thick grip for big hands

Diameter: 32mm | Length: 132mm | Weight: 100g | Rating: 8/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Kevlar-impregnated rubber is long lasting
  • Slightly thicker than most at 32mm
  • Secure, single clamp fixing

Reasons to avoid:

  • Ridged pattern might also be a bit squirmy for those that value maximum precision

Deity’s Knuckleduster comes on lots of Specialized models, and the fact we never feel the need to swap them on test bikes speaks volumes to their comfort and grip. The surface mixes chevron ridges under the outer palm for shock absorption, thin radial ribs sit under the thumb and forefinger, and a deep waffle pattern across the underside gives your fingers excellent purchase.

The Knuckleduster is a touch fatter than most grips, which makes them especially suited to large hands. But even average-sized hands will enjoy wrapping around these grips.

Read the full review of the Deity Knuckleduster grip here

sdg thrice

The SDG Thrice is not perfect, but the price means it’s a bit of a bargain

8. SDG Thrice

Best value grip for under £15

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

Reasons to buy:

  • Cheap
  • Light
  • Colourful
  • Grippy

Reasons to avoid:

  • Firm raised ends may annoy

The SDG Thrice cuts costs and undercuts the competition by integrating the lock-on clamp into the moulding for the grip base, before adding the rubber over the top. It works pretty well, and also saves weight, but doesn’t look quite as sleek as an alloy collar.

SDG uses a gel compound for the the padding, with a mushroom pattern for the inner thumb/forefinger zone, and raised SDG logos to provide cushioning. Both comfort and grip are good, as long as you don’t ride with your hands towards the end of the grips. Here, the harder rubber flange transmits more shock to your palms. Considering the price, and the weight, SDG has done a good job with the Thrice.

Read our full test review of the SDG Thrice 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 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 (or no-gloves for some testers who opt to ride bareback).

best mountain bike grips

The one question we can’t help you with: Which colour to choose!

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.

Most lock-on grips use a single clamping collar on the inner edge, and a tapered bore to grip the outer edge of the bar

Why you should buy a grip with a lock-on clamp

This type of grip has a collar that can be tightened around the handlebar, usually with a small bolt. 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.

What is the best rubber compound for a grip?

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 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.

What’s the best tread 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.

Should I go for fat or thin grips?

Choose a width and length suitable for your hands. Fatter is better, as you get more padding and less shock and vibration. But too fat and you’ll lose feel and control, as your hands won’t be able to fully wrap the bar. 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.