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MTB Grips – What’s Important to Know

MTB grips are available in many different designs and materials and have a significant influence on how your bike handles and how comfortable you are whilst riding. But which MTB grips are the best? Read on to find out more about the different options available and the important features of mountain bike grips. We’ll also explain what you should pay attention to when making your purchase. Read more

Handlebar Grips for Mountain Bikes – Why Are They So Important?

Whether you race or tour, you still manoeuvre your bike with the handlebars and have the grip in your hand at all times. That's why grips are the most important points of contact on mountain bikes and e-mountain bikes - next to the saddle and pedals. After all, a rider can only get a firm grip on their mountain bike if they’ve mounted the right grips on the handlebars.

When buying MTB grips, you should look out for how they fit your hands, how grippy they are and how much they absorb shocks. The fit should be perfect to avoid any unnecessary friction and pressure points. Shock absorption is important to minimise shocks and vibrations. A grippy surface ensures better control and hold on the bars, even in demanding situations or wet conditions. What’s more, a handlebar grip should sit firmly and securely on the MTB and be as durable and hard-wearing as possible.

As you can see, there are quite a lot of demands on a part that’s actually rather unassuming. That's why there are now countless different models available, some of which differ significantly, especially in terms of fit. The good news: handlebar grips are not super expensive and are easy to install, so you can greatly improve the bike’s handling and riding experience with little effort, simply by using the right grips.

MTB Grips at a Glance – The Different Types Available

At first glance, all handlebar grips appear the same: they are made of rubber, stick on the end of the mtb handlebars and should provide the rider with some kind of hold. The differences between the types can’t really be seen, but are clearly noticeable when it comes to riding your mountain bike from day to day. The main question that arises with all bike grips is: do I want grips to slide on or do I prefer grips that are locked in place? For mountain bike riders, there is one clear answer: handlebar grips locked on with clamps are guaranteed to be tight, do not twist, and are also much easier to mount and remove than slide-on grips, which only stay on through static friction. This means that mounting and removing these simple slide-on grips is rather difficult, and if they’re not properly in place, the grips tend to twist in wet conditions, if not before.

The second important decision to make is: do I want ergonomic or conventional grips? One thing is clear: riders who have problems with their hands – those who get numb fingers or painful palms after a while in the saddle, for example – should definitely try ergonomic grips. There are, however, also people who get along much better with conventional grips, as it’s also clear that not every hand is a good fit with every ergonomic grip. You can read more on fit in the next section.

In addition to these important questions – lock-on or slide-on, ergonomic or not – there are also some special grips to choose from for more specialised requirements, such as handlebar grips with integrated bar ends, or shorter grips for mounting together with twist shifters or bar ends.

Mountain Bike Grips at a Glance

  • Slide-on grips (without a clamp): these conventional bicycle grips are mounted by simply pushing them onto the handlebars.
  • Lock-on grips (with a clamp): grips featuring clamps are always secure and are therefore the better choice for MTBs due to the high demands when riding off road.
  • Ergonomic grips: ergonomically-shaped handlebar grips improve comfort, but this only applies if they fit perfectly in your hands.
  • Special grips (with bar ends for example): there are special grips available for special requirements, for example grips with integrated bar ends or shorter grips that you can use with twist shifters or bar ends.

A Buyer’s Guide to MTB Grips – Which MTB Grip is Right for You?

As different as MTB grips are, there is one thing that goes for all: they have to fit your hands. As such, the first thing you should pay attention to is the outer diameter, i.e. how thick the grips are. Many manufacturers offer different grips in different thicknesses, and sometimes even one model in a variety of thicknesses. The rule of thumb is: the smaller your hands, the smaller the grip diameter, the larger your hands, the larger the grip diameter, but of course to a certain extent, it's also a question of preference. There are people with large hands who get along well with small grip diameters, and people with small hands feel comfortable with normal or particularly large grip diameters.

Once you’ve found the right diameter, the second criterion to think about is the grip shape. There is no right or wrong here, rather, this decision is simply a matter of taste. There are countless different ergonomic shapes and designs. Generally speaking, if you have problems with your hands when riding, such as numbness or pressure, you should try out a few different ergonomic grips. The important thing here is that the grip should feel right for you and not restrict your handling or control of the bike. It’s also important for ergonomic grips to be mounted correctly: follow the instructions in the grip’s manual to make sure that it’s in the correct position, otherwise an ergonomic grip can do the opposite of what it’s supposed to and make your problems worse. Shock absorption is also something you should think about: whilst highly shock-absorbing grips filter vibrations, they can also result in a less precise feel for your bike. Once again, it’s worth trying out a few different grips here, because at the end of the day, it's a matter of personal taste.

And when it comes to mounting grips onto your handlebars, no matter the grip shape and thickness, they’ll fit onto virtually any kind of handlebars. Most handlebar models have an outer diameter of 22.2 millimetres at the ends and every grip has an internal diameter of 22.2 millimetres.

The Right Grip for You

  • Thickness: handlebar grips come in different thicknesses, that is to say, with different outer diameters. As a rule of thumb: the bigger your hand, the thicker the grip should be.
  • Shape: if you’re having trouble with your hands when riding, try a pair of ergonomic grips.
  • Shock absorption: if you have sensitive hands or are looking for maximum comfort, you should try some grips with lots of shock absorption.

MTB Grips – A Summary

Grips are crucial components for optimal comfort and control on your mountain bike, so make sure the grip diameter is right for your hands and suits your personal preferences when making your purchase. If you experience pain, pressure points or numbness while riding, you should try out some different ergonomic grips. And generally speaking, lock-on grips are a good choice for mountain bikes because they are always tight and secure. In any case, you can find all the key information about thickness and shock absorption in each MTB grip’s product description on the BIKE24 site.