Mountain biking is an outdoor sport that consists of riding over a variety of rough terrains.
As the danger level is slightly higher than road biking, it requires the use of a mountain bike that will be able to provide extra durability.
Besides the correct bike, another important piece of equipment you’ll want to have is a pair of grips, which are lengths of rubber that are placed over the handlebars. They’re designed to provide more grip and help you to feel more stable.
A high-quality pair of grips will make your riding experience all the more enjoyable, as well as offering an extra level of safety. They’ll ensure that you are able to ride for many hours without getting hand fatigue, while also making sure that you’re in control while steering over bumps, uneven trails.
But, there are many different types of grip on the market, and we’re here to help you choose the right one! Here at ___ we’ve been busy selecting some of the leading MTB grips on the market right now.
Below, you’ll find a detailed review of each one, as well as a helpful buying guide to help you make the final decision.
So, sit back, relax, and prepare to discover the MTB grips your biking collection is missing!
In a hurry? Check out our top pick
If you’re pressed for time, turn your attention to the RaceFace Half Nelson Locking grips enough.
Besides being award-winning (and racking up an impressive amount of 5* reviews online, might we add) these grips are well-known for being one of the slimmest, well-padded, and supportive grips on the market.
Wondering what sets them apart, though? Well, they don’t feature any hard outer clamps (so, no palm bruises here), contain a unique ridge pattern that will be able to tackle even the wettest of conditions and feature firm padding that offers just enough support so that you avoid palm fatigue, all the while being able to still feel the trail below your bike’s wheels.
We highly recommend them.
OUR TOP PICK
Blending durability with affordability, the RaceFace Half Nelson Locking Grips are one of the most well-known mountain bike grips on the market - and one of the most popular!
For starters, the RaceFace Half Nelson is an award-winning grip that is super slim (only 28mm in diameter), which makes it a lot easier to hold.
They boast a firm but padded exterior, which means that they’ll provide a good deal of shock absorption while still allowing you to intuitively ‘feel’ the trail track.
Ideal for use in all weather conditions, these grips consist of a soft and durable material that is described as being ‘tacky’.
This type of material is perfect for mountain biking because the softer design will offer a spongy feel to help absorb vibrations, reduce fatigue by raising the comfort level, and be able to withstand a few knocks and bumps.
Their unique ridge design will help to optimize control, while the embossed ‘Raceface’ logo across the top will offer an additional level of grip.
Each pair features a face sniper lock so that you can safely secure them in place, while the topographic moisture channels will help to wick away rain and sweat.
Raceface has covered all bases!
Locking grip design
Some users have stated that they can be difficult to unlock
Another great pair of mountain bike grips (and our runner up) is the MARQUE Grapple Mountain Bike Handlebar Grips.
Boasting a unique grip pattern, these affordable grips feature an innovative multidirectional grip surface that will help the user to feel more secure and confident while handling the bike.
They have been made with tacky TPR rubber which will not only be able to absorb shock and reduce vibrations but will also be able to withstand the wettest of weather conditions.
Thanks to their simple design, these grips are lightweight and slim. They consist of a single aluminum lock-on locking ring design that will keep the grips secure, all the while reducing the overall weight.
The slim profile has also been embedded with microcavities to improve the grip and to provide additional comfort.
Plus, measuring in at just 130mm long, these grips have been carefully designed by MARQUE to fit all standard straight mountain bike handlebars that fall anywhere between 20-23 mm.
They’re a great choice for anyone that prefers a slim, streamlined grip design, as opposed to a thicker rubber kind.
Unique multidirectional grip pattern
Locking ring design prevents rotation
Hardly any padding
If you prefer locking grips to different kinds of mountain bike grips, a great option to consider is the FIFTY-FIFTY Double Lock-On Mountain Bike Grips.
Setting themselves apart from other grips on the market, these mountain bike grips feature an innovative double-lock on design, which consists of a ‘double’ clamp design that will be able to offer twice the amount of security as normal locking grips, all the while preventing slipping during even the most intense of rides.
Plus, to make sure that you’re totally comfortable throughout the ride, these grips are made of a super-soft compound rubber that will be able to absorb shock and keep your hands feeling comfortable and free of fatigue, whether you’re wearing gloves or not.
They also contain a textured non-slip surface ridge pattern that will help to improve your control by offering extra grip.
These grips have also been designed to remain tacky even when exposed to sweat or water, so they’re ideal for use in even the most grueling mountain biking sessions, or the rainiest!
Another great feature of these grips by FIFTY-FIFTY is that they are easy to install. They feature integrated end plugs, so all you’ll need to do is remove your old ones and fasten these into place.
They’re a great choice for mountain biking enthusiasts of all levels.
Available in multiple colorways
Offer great grip and remain tacky in the rain
Lower shock-absorbing capabilities than competing grips
On the lookout for a pair of mountain bike grips that will provide the most comfort? If so, the SOLODRIVE Ergonomic Mountain Bike Grips should be on your radar.
Designed with comfortability in mind, these mountain bike grips have been designed to specifically reduce hand pain, numbing of the fingers, sore wrists, and aching forearms, all thanks to the ergonomic design.
This design consists of a palm pad that is situated on the inner edge of the grips. It has been slightly raised above the rest of the grip surface in order to alleviate the pressure of the forearms and help to relieve the ulnar nerve, all the while encouraging the hand and wrist to position themselves in a more natural position.
Another feature that stands out to us is that these mountain grips consist of a textured non-slip surface that will help to provide optimum grip.
They’ve also been designed to withstand the wet, muddy conditions that mountain biking can bring, and will remain sticky even when exposed to water and dirt.
Not only that, but thanks to the soft and durable rubber compound, these grips will allow you to enjoy even the longest of mountain bike rides without feeling any pressure - gloves or no gloves.
They’re a great option for bikers that enjoy long or intense sessions and need a pair of grips that will prevent achiness.
Ergonomic and comfortable design
Quick and easy to install
Will remain sticky when exposed to mud or water
Not everyone will like the raised design of the grips
If you’re on a budget and looking for a pair of mountain biking grips that aren’t going to break the bank, we think that you might like the Caija-H Mountain Bike Grips.
Though these grips might be from a lesser-known brand, they offer similar features to that of some of the more premium MTB grips on the market.
The Caija-H Mountain Bike Grips have been designed with a base diameter of 20-22mm, which will fit any standard mountain bike.
They feature a double clamp lock-on system and an aluminum C-ring which is not only super easy to install but will keep the grips in place without any twisting, slipping, or rotating.
Ideal for longer mountain bike rides, these grips also feature a soft material coated around the exterior that will help to absorb shock and prevent hand fatigue and numbness.
This is ideal for cyclists who prefer to regularly mountain bike, and need grips that will be able to prevent any prolonged aches or pain.
Plus, to instill confidence into the user, these grips feature a highly effective ‘zig-zag’ ridge design which will provide a great grip, even when exposed to rain or mud.
They’re also available in a range of different vibrant colors, so you can bet that there’s one to suit your individual bike, too!
Additionally, though some have found them to be a little bulky, they offer excellent value for money and consist of a durable material that is sure to serve you for a respectable amount of time before needing to be replaced.
They’ve got our seal of approval.
Best MTB Grips Buying Guide
There’s plenty of features that you’ll need to take into consideration before purchasing your shiny new MTB grips.
To help you out, we’ve created a mini-guide below that outlines all of the most important criteria:
The type of grip
In a nutshell, there are two types of grips that you can choose from. The first is slide-on grips that are able to stay in place via friction, or sometimes they get secured with wires.
In contrast, lock-on grips are the other kind of grip and offer feature locking rings and plastic sleeves under the grip that are able to hold them and fasten them securely in place.
Both have their advantages and drawbacks. For example, slide-on grips often have a tendency to twist or rotate if they get exposed to rain, or if dirt embeds itself under the grips.
This can lower their performance and lower their efficacy. On the other hand, though lock-on grips are unlikely to rotate if exposed to external factors, they are usually bulkier and weigh more than slide-on grips.
The bolts used to lock the grips can also sometimes get blocked from mud and dirt, which can make it harder to insert their key to remove them.
Generally, lock-on grips are far the most popular choice among riders as they tend to be more reliable, don’t require much maintenance, and are difficult for thieves to steal as they require a key to remove them.
The material of the grips is another factor to take into consideration before making a purchase. Grips that are made of silicone tend to be the most lightweight kind.
However, silicone grips are not overly durable and are prone to get damaged easily, so they might not be the best for mountain biking! Though they may be more comfortable and soft against your hands, they will likely wear out faster.
On the other hand, grips that are made of ‘harder’ materials may last longer, but they often come with little to no shock absorption capabilities, which could mean that you’re more likely to experience hand fatigue throughout the bike ride.
Another point to note is that even though you want your grips to be able to offer some protection from vibrations, you don’t want them to be so thick that you can’t feel what’s going on beneath you!
For safety reasons, you’ll want to still be able to ‘feel’ the trail beneath you, as this will naturally make you have more control and be able to better understand the conditions of the trail.
There is a wide selection of grip designs to choose from on the market. Some are designed to work best with gloves, while others are designed to be used with only your bare hands.
During your search, you’ll have likely already come across grips that have unique ridges, as well as grips that vary in their degrees of thickness.
Regardless, all grips are designed to provide you with a better overall feel, as well as being able to absorb shock and reduce the vibrations from the trail.
The original ‘waffle’ design is one of the most popular designs and is known for being able to withstand wet weather the best. Some grips feature ‘ridges’ that help to increase your control and optimize performance, while others feature an ergonomic shape to increase the comfort level.
The best way to decide which design is best for you is pretty simple - all you need to do is take a look at your hands! If you have smaller hands, we recommend avoiding longer grips, as these may cause you to position your hands too far away from the brake and gear levers.
On the other hand, using grips that are too short for you may cause you to lose control. Before making a purchase, we recommend checking out the size dimensions, so that you can be sure that the grips are a good match for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best grips for mountain biking?
There’s plenty of great options available to you.
However, as a rule of thumb, the best grips for mountain biking should fit comfortably when you hold them (they shouldn’t be too long or short) so consist of a durable material that will be able to withstand the rigors of mountain biking, and they should offer some shock absorption capabilities so that you can enjoy the ride without any hand fatigue or pain.
Are lock-on grips better?
All grips work to serve the same purpose; they help to give you control, all the while making steering and braking that much easier.
Although, grip designs do split opinions on which is best, and lock-on grips tend to come out on top.
This is because lock-on grips are a lot easier to install, harder for thieves to steal, and can be exposed to water or the rain without any chance of rotating or slipping around if they get wet.
Are MTB grips all the same size?
No, in fact, all grips (not just MTB) differ in size in order to provide the user with a more personalized fit.
The internal diameter of each pair of grips on the market will be standardized in order to fit the standard side of a mountain bike handlebar, but the actual lengths and outer diameter sizes will vary from brand to brand in order to provide bikers with a more ‘custom’ fit.