When you’re crouched down on the saddle and pushing hard on the pedals you to get your bike rolling forward, you only have three points of contact with it, your backbone on the saddle and your hands on the grips. These are the gates through which all the shocks deriving from bumps on the road or other impacts can penetrate into your bones, so it is vital that there is some kind of protection there to stop you from getting injured.
The handlebars of the bike are also the first tool you can use to control its movements, so you need the best mtb grips available not only to keep your shoulders from harm but also to keep maintaining a good feel for the road, without it getting muffled. By reading this article you can take a good look at what are the best mountain bike grips on the market, so you can make an informed decision and confidently select the perfect accessory to accompany you on all future rides.
How To Choose A MTB Grip– Buying Guide
Slide-On vs Lock-On
When it comes to mounting the grips on your handlebars, as you may have guessed from our mtb grips review, there are two main options at your disposal, slide-on grips or lock-on ones. Slide-on models, as the name suggests, are installed by simply pushing them onto the handlebars, sometimes with the help of a compressed air gun. Once they are there, they either stay in place on their own or can be secured by using glue or wires. These kinds of grips are usually made entirely of rubber and may risk slipping slightly when they get wet. Lock-on grips, on the other hand, have a plastic core that wraps around the handle and that can be tightened around it with a screw. This makes for a more secure hold on the bars but there is less space for rubber, so the grips might feel harder than some of the other models. Lock-on grips tend to be better resistant to water infiltrations but also slightly heavier than slide-on brakes, especially those that have two lockrings or metal parts.
Most grips on the market will use a significant percentage of rubber in their construction, as this material is tough yet soft and comfortable to hold in hand. Some grips may even be entirely made out of it, but rubber does tend to wear out relatively quickly, so you might want to consider some tougher options. Many grips feature a combination of rubber with some other material, such as polyurethane, to provide a stronger compound that can last longer and sustain a greater amount of wear and tear. The top of line at the moment is Kraton, which blends the softness of rubber with the toughness of plastic to provide long lasting life. In lock-on grips, you will likely find aluminium or tough plastic thrown in the mix, since these are used for the locking mechanism that keeps the grips securely fastened to the handles.
Profiles vary widely throughout the range of different mtb grips that are available. Their end goal is the same, to make your hand feel comfortable while gripping the handles and allow sweat and moisture to be channeled away from your skin. This is vital to ensure that the grip stays effective even if the weather takes a turn for the worse, so you don’t lose control of your bike. The patters you can find range from big and small square blocks to fancy hexagons, so you’ll have plenty of choice to select which one feels better in your hand. The width of the grip is also something that is likely to vary widely throughout the range, and you have to decide whether you prefer a thinner or thicker profile based on what feels best for you and how you are used to riding. A thick grip will protect you better from shocks and bumps, while a thinner grip lets you feel the road more clearly and govern your bike accordingly. Numerous excellent options exists between these two opposites, so you shouldn’t have any problems in finding something that fits you just right.
Having a grip whose shape fits well with your hands is crucial for a successful and enjoyable riding experience, since having your hands correctly positioned will reflect itself on the position of your whole body. Much of this is due to saddle height as well, but a nicely contoured grip that forces you to consider the consequences of how you sit on your bike is a welcome addition for anyone wanting to take their skills to another level. We recommend that you order several different grips and then return the ones that don’t feel good, since it’s hard to evaluate just how well they fit in your hand without actually holding them. Once you’ve managed to find one that perfectly fits the bill, it will take some time to get used to but you’ll probably start seeing results already after the first few rides.
On a pair of mtb grips, length is something that needs to be tailored to your specific needs. This is especially true depending on if you have twist gears on the handlebars, in which case you might need to focus your search on the grips whose length will not compromise their operation. Some models can also be cut without too many issues so you can make them fit exactly where they need to be and avoid moving the shifters out of place. However, before it comes to that, we recommend taking some time to measure your bike’s handlebars so you can select grips that don’t need any adjustments and let you get on with your riding without too many complications.
Ergonomics And Comfort
An ergonomic feel is a must have for any good mtb grip. This means that the grip adapts to the shape of your hand when you squeeze, and this can be a life saver once you’ve spent long hours pedaling on bumpy roads or trails. A grip that fits nicely in your hand will actively contribute to reducing palm fatigue during the whole ride, helping greatly to distribute the energy from the impacts evenly across the body instead of letting it concentrate in the forearms and the wrists. This, alongside with a correct position of your body on the bike, helps in significantly reducing the risk of injury. Having an ergonomic grip will make your rides much more comfortable than what you are used to, so we warmly recommend you take the time to try squeezing your new grips to see how they feel before you head out on the trail.
Some grips come open only at one end, while other don’t and need to be covered. This may seem like a small detail but can be of critical importance in the event of a fall, since the exposed ends of the handlebars risk seriously injuring the rider. If the grips you purchase resemble a cylinder with no bottom, we strongly recommend that you get yourself a good pair of bar plugs, if they did not come included in the purchase. If your budget is really tight, or you simply feel lucky, you might try to get away with wine corks for a while, but if you’re serious about the sport you’ll clearly see the need to have a good pair of bar plugs on the end of your grips.
Q: Are ODI Grips Good?
ODI is one of the best know companies that manufactures grips, not just for bicycles but also for motorcycles, and you don't get to be that famous if you don't have anything to show. So yes, ODI grips are an excellent option for anyone looking for mtb grips, but as you have seen in our article there are plenty of other brands that live up to the challenge.
Q: What Are Lock On Bike Grips?
Lock on bike grips are regular bicycle grips that are fastened to the handlebars thanks to a screw. This is used to tighten either a locking mechanism or a plastic sleeve that can be found on the inside of the grip to fasten it securely around the handlebars. Lock on bike grips may be slightly heavier than slide on grips, the other option, but are usually better at keeping out water.
Q: Are All Mountain Bike Grips The Same Size?
Mountain bike bars come in two different diameters, 25.4mm, the standard size, and 31.8mm, the "oversize". Therefore, when you select your mtb grips you need to know the diameter of the bars of your bike so you can pick a pair that fits. Some models feature adjustable bar plugs that let you fit the same pair of grips on handlebars of different sizes.
Globo Surf Overview
When you’re preparing your gear to go biking, it’s easy to get distracted by the more fancy and alluring gadgets out there, such as the latest bike computers or technical garments. A good pair of bike grips, however, may well make a much greater difference on your enjoyment of the ride rather than the latest and greatest heart rate monitor. In our article we have shown you what are the best options available for you on the market today. Take your time and choose wisely, since a bike grip that fits you and your riding style might well be as valuable as a good helmet.