This new Race Face Chester grip has, hands down, the tackiest rubber i've ever tested

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 9

Race Face Chester grip


  • • 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
  • • Loads of colour options


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


The Race Face Chester is one of the softest mountain bike grips I’ve ever tested


Price as reviewed:


Enter Race Face’s new Chester grip, which the brand reckons is its most advanced grip ever. In part that’s down to an all-new tread design, but perhaps more importantly an all-new rubber blend that is its softest ever. 

Let’s not forget how important grips are to mountain biking. Those twin tubes of rubber mounted on plastic sleeves and bolted onto each end of your handlebars are one of only two contact points you’ve got with the bike when descending. The best mountain bike grips give you a rock-solid connection to the bike.

Race Face Chester need to know

  • Super-soft rubber lock-on grip
  • Comes in 31 or 34mm diametre options
  • Ridged pattern for ultimate comfort
Race Face Chester grip

The Chester has been designed to offer supreme comfort and control on the bike

Design and specification

Chester’s rubber is thicker than most grips use, for extra damping and isolation, with the palm zone using Race Face’s softest ever durometer rubber measuring a super-low 20a on the Shore scale. This comfy squidgy blend aims to offer more grip, comfort and reduce hand fatigue and there are also two width options of 31 or 34mm available.

Most mountain bike grips are a constant diameter from brake lever side to bar end side, but like the Ergon GDH Team Grip and ODI Elite Pro Lock-On Grip, these new Race Face grips have a special profile. There’s a slightly thicker zone inside where the thumb loops round and then a thinner middle palm area that continuously grows in width outwards towards the bar tips. Designed like this, the Chesters have an almost concave dip just where the thumb connects with the index finger and a fatter ridged section under the outer edge of the palm. This is actually in contrast to both the Ergon and ODI grips that have  slightly thicker middle and thinner ends.

Race Face Chester grip

The Race Face Chester uses rubber so squishy it can feel like your hand is floating on the grip

Aside from the changes in diameter, Race Face’s mushroom-style grips also change tread pattern, from a thicker concentric ridge zone in the thumb pad area to a more angled ridges outwards under the palm to “absorb sweat and provide lateral support with a more compliant feel,” Race Face says.  

Underneath this angled area are rubber ridges running lengthwise to form a finger box section underneath to stop your digits from twisting or slipping off when you’re pulling or gripping hard.

With all this focus on function and tread, the brand hasn’t forgotten that a lot of us care about form too. There are nine clamp colour options and even a pair with gum-wall rubber too; presumably for those matching their tyre sidewalls.

Race Face Chester grip

Underneath the Race Face Chester grip are raised ridges to help your fingers find purchase


Race Face’s claims of extra comfort really stack up here. The Chester has loads of damping and squidge and none of the harshness that you can get with grips with a thicker plastic sleeve and less absorbent rubber, like I get with DMR Deathgrips.

The finned design might not be for everyone though as, more like a Burgtec Bartender, there is quite a bit of ‘wobble’ and a couple of mm of movement in the ridges. This contributes to a slightly less sturdy and fixed locked on feel than the Ergon GD1s I love, which doesn’t use such pronounced ribs. 

Chester durability has been impressive: they’re showing signs of wear as I’ve used them a lot, but I haven’t worn the bar ends portion through prematurely or abraded the finger boxes ridges away too easily like you can on many grips. 

I like how the Chester comes with a ‘worn in’ feel where your hands naturally want to settle

I was a bit sceptical at first about the shape being cut away where the thumbs loops round, but I actually really liked it once I realised it didn’t eat into comfort or damping. The raised part inboard of the thumbs almost acts like a super soft flange too and you can rest your hand into the inside section for extra control and stability when leaning and riding dynamically. It reminds me of the padded doughnut shaped grips I used to have as extras on my BMX as a little kid. I also like how the Chester grips come with a shape that already has that ‘worn in’ feel of old grips where your hands naturally want to settle.

The finger ridges are more flexible underneath than I’d like though, and I also had to turn the grips to quite a precise position to get the finger ridges lined up in the right place for my hands. Once you’ve got the latter figured out and set though, it’s a non-issue.


If you love a soft and plush grip that’s super tacky and works a treat bare handed, the Chester is a superb option. It feels like it’s already worn in and very comfy from new, but might not be the best choice if you’re after a more precise and solid feeling base and don’t like the slight wobble that ridged grips can offer.


Weight:110g (31mm)
Sizes:31mm or 34mm diameter, 136mm length
Colours:Nine clamp colours or gumwall grip with black clamp