Fitting the right grips on your mountain bike is pretty important, its a crucial contact point which could lead to hand pain or arm pump if you get it wrong. We've tested a number of grips and bring you the 'best in test', these are the ones we've been most comfortable using and have provided us with the best grip for longest.
[Updated 23rd February 2022]
The best grips you can buy
The Loam Grips from PNW are seriously impressive performers for the cash. They're grippy, really nicely shaped and feature a Goldilocks compound – not too sticky, not too solid, but just right. There's very little to grumble about.
Deity's Knuckleduster grips use a mixture of different waffle and ridge patterns to provide a lock-on grip that's very comfortable in use and offers decent traction. They're reasonably priced and available in a load of colours, but the rubber isn't as sticky as the best out there.
These Dread Lock grips (endorsed by the hirsute Tinker Juarez, geddit?) have a super plush compound and offset design which aims to balance padding without over bulking the grip. They're great for comfort on bigger distance rides or for trail riding for those that don't mind a chunkier grip, though they do come in at a higher price point.
DMR Deathgrips handlebar grips are the product of a collaboration with DMR and Brendan Fairclough. We tested a thin version of the super soft, flangeless ‘Race Day’ edition which proved to be super grippy and comfortable but a little bit delicate to knocks and bumps.
ODI's updated Longneck V2.1 grips use the classic ribbed pattern beloved by BMXers with a single-sided lock-on clamp and a super soft compound material. They're super secure and very comfortable without being overly bulky; retro done right.
These extra thick grips from Ergon are aimed at riders with large hands or want high damping. The tapered design aims to make it easier to grip the bars, and coupled with a super soft, UV-stable rubber, they are a comfy pair of all-mountain trail grips.
Taking cues from those BMX riders and dirt jumpers, these Fabric AM Lock-On grips are sleek and sophisticated enough for the rider who obsesses over clean lines on their bike. While the Fabric AM grips are a beautiful thing, and the slim fit complements the exceptional grip and comfort in terms of combatting fatigue, the need for a bar-end plug on a lock-on grip is disappointing. It also looks a bit cheap, especially after it takes a few knocks.
The Supercaz Grip Zips are a good length and we loved the fact that they fitted with only one Allen key plus there are no bar-end plugs to lose out on the trail. All-in-all, they’re great for a quick pimping-out of the bike, and they’re decent enough for most trail riders wanting a fit-and-forget system. However; if you ride a lot, particularly in gloves, then you may want something with a bit more control.
Renthal's Push-On grips offer a slender profile with improved feel and a bit more comfort, but they're much more faff to fit than lock-on grips. The Ultra Tacky compound does offer unprecedented levels of grip in the wet, even if it is rather fast wearing. It's a high tack grip with an ultra-slim profile and plenty of cushioning where you need it most. You’ll need to front up from Grip Glue though because none is included, which does add extra cost.
ODI Elite Pro grips in fluorescent orange can’t be ignored from the get-go, with a “waffle” pattern at the front, and a blend of bells and whistles throughout. The ODI Elite Pro grips aren’t a cheap pair of grips, but they’re only a couple of quid more expensive than the competition, but the more we used them, the more we realised that the price tag covers actual design engineering, not just marketing hype.
The Elite Flow grips feature offset padding, a single clamp (using the V2.1 Lock-On System) and rubber covering in a knurled pattern with a half-waffle design on one side. We have used these grips on a variety of trails from forest singletrack, trail centre loops, the odd race and even to laps at Bike Park Wales.
During this time we have ridden in all weather conditions and even on one forgetful day; gloveless, and can report that the ‘Soft Pro Compound’ from ODI provides good traction in all conditions whether our hands were wet, dry, muddy or sweaty. If you are looking for a slimmish grip, with great traction for all-around trail riding you’d do well to grab a pair of these grips.
The Ergon GA3 grip is a blend of traditional shaping and full-on winged grip, with what Ergon dubs a Miniwing. It’s comfortable, grippy and they’re great if you don’t wear gloves – but if you’re not a fan of chunky grips, you won’t get on with these.
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