Best Mountain Bike Grips

Top 10 Best Mountain Bike Grips

Best Mountain Bike Grips

The contact points of your bike are highly based on personal preference when building up your bike.

Everyone has their favorite saddle, pedals, and grips. Over the years I’ve sampled quite a few different grips to find a set that I liked the most.

Bike grips come in a myriad of colors, textures, and thicknesses. I thought it would be a good idea to share my opinion on the best grips that I have found that work well for mountain biking.

Made In The USA – It also just so happens that almost all of my favorite bike grips and those chosen by many riders on the forums and top racers are made by companies that manufacture their grips in the United States.

What is the difference between a Lock-On grip and a non-Lock-On grip?

  • A Lock-On bike grip usually has an inner plastic liner that the rubber grip is mounted to at the factory. This liner is attached to metal lock rings that have set-screws that tighten against the handlebar to keep it in place. To remove the bike grip you just loosen the screws and take the grip off.
  • Ergonomic bike grips are heavier than their non-Lock-On counterparts. They also tend to cost a bit more.
  • A non-Lock-On bike grip sometimes called a slip-on or push-on bike grip has to be pushed onto the handlebar. There are a myriad of ways to performs this action, which usually involves some kind of lubricant (hairspray, saliva, etc) to get the rubber grip to slide onto the handlebar. Another method is using an air compressor to blow air under the bike grip and allow you slide the grip on the bar.

Which is better Lock-On vs. Non-Lock-On?

In my mind this is an easy question to answer. Lock-On grips are superior to slip-on/push-on bike grips. Once installed properly a Lock-On grip will stay in place and not rotate or twist.

Slip-on bike grips are prone to slippage (because they are only relying on the tackiness of the rubber grip against the bar) when used on mountain bikes and can become a hazard when loose or even can come off during riding.

This is especially something to worry about when riding in wet conditions. Lock-On grips are also more easy to install and remove to use on another bike.


The Best Mountain Bike Grips (Non-Ergonomic)

RANKNAMEBUY
#3ESI ChunkyGet Chunky
ESI Racers EdgeGet Racers Edge
Lizard Skins PeatyGet Peaty
ODI Cross TrainerGet Cross Trainer
#1ODI RogueGet Rogue
ODI RuffianGet Ruffian
ODI Troy Lee DesignsGet Troy Lee Designs
#2Oury GripsGet Oury Grips

The Best Mountain Bike Grips (Ergonomic)

RANKNAMEBUY
#1Ergon GP1 ComfortGet GP1
#2Ergon GA3 All MountainGet GA3
#3Ergon GS1Get GS1

The Best Mountain Bike Grips (non-ergonomic)

ESI Grips – Chunky and Racers Edge – made in California

ESI bike grips are some of the most lightweight mtb grips you can buy. They don’t have any grip pattern to them but the silicone material they are made out of has a ton of grip. They have a lot of cushion in the Chunky version and not as much in the Racer version. Whichever version of ESI grips you choose, you won’t be disappointed.

While they’re not lock-on grips, if installed properly they will perform extremely well.

What ESI Says:

Recommended for grip shift and riders looking for the best shock absorbing grip in the industry!

  • 60 Grams
  • Standard Grip Length – 5 1/8″
  • 32mm
  • Weight plus or minus 5%
  • 1 Set of Bar Plugs Included

ESI Chunky
ESI Chunky
Check Latest Price: ESI Chunky     Check Latest Price: ESI Racers Edge

Lizard Skins Peaty – made in Utah

One of the most winning downhill mountain bikers of all time got his own signature bike grip a while back. The Peaty grip is a very thin grip but works well. The lines throughout the grip pattern hook up well on gloves. Like Ruffians these gloves do not have any cushion to them.

What Lizard Skins Says

Ride like a pro with the Steve Peat inspired Signature lock-on grips. Lock-on grips are designed to easily slide onto the handlebar and clamp with the rings to ensure it is secure and won’t slip during the most intense rides. Providing a sturdy ride, the patented lock-on design eliminates unwanted movement to maximize the rider’s control and comfort. Lock-On Grips include the grips, clamps, screws and plugs. 

  • Length: 130 mm
  • Weight (with plugs): 112 grams
  • Diameter: Small (30.5 mm)
Lizard Skins Peaty
Lizard Skins Peaty

Check Latest Price: Lizard Skins Peaty

Custom Lizard Skins Grips

  • Lizards Skins offers a pretty nifty custom grip creator on their website. You can pick the inside and outside lock-ring colors, end cap color, and have them custom etched with up to 14 characters.
  • While the colors and designs won’t make you go faster, they will make mountain biking more fun.
Lizard Skins custom lock-on grip creator
Lizard Skins custom lock-on grip creator

ODI Cross Trainer – made in California

The Cross Trainer grip design is one that I tried on a whim. Initially I thought I wouldn’t like these mtb grips but I ended up enjoying the swishy ribbed grip feel. They are an in-between grip diameter, not thick and not too thin. They turned out to be an awesome set of lock-on grips. It’s probably best to use these without gloves.

What ODI Says

Soft comfortable rib patterns interlaced with a thicker criss-cross pattern for a soft feel without a loss in control. Great for riders who train and race on the same bike.

PRODUCT FEATURES: 

  • Alternating rib patterns for a soft feel while maintaingin a small diameter
  • Thicker Criss-Cross pattern provides traction across the grip
  • Larger ribbed pad can be placed on either side for extra shock absorption where you need it most
  • Lock-On Grip System = 100% Slip Free performance
  • Includes new Snap Cap™ End Plugs
  • 130mm Length
ODI Cross Trainer
ODI Cross Trainer

Check Latest Price: ODI Cross Trainer


ODI Rogue – made in California

The ODI Rogue is my personal favorite bike grip and I think it’s one of the best mountain bike grips you can buy at any price. It’s reputation is it’s one of the best lock-on grips for the past several years.

They are thicker and offer more padding than a lot of grips out there. I find the blocks that make up the grip pattern give good traction.

What ODI Says

For those who prefer to have more grip to hold onto, the Rogue grips provide extra large pads constructed of our proprietary compounds designed to provide the ultimate in shock absorption. 

PRODUCT FEATURES: 

  • Extra large raised pads provide excellent shock absorption
  • Deep grooves help channel away dirt or debris
  • Lock-On Grip System = 100% Slip Free performance
  • Includes new Snap Cap™ End Plugs
  • Grips available in Black and Lime Green
ODI Rogue
ODI Rogue

Check Latest Price: ODI Rogue


ODI Ruffian – made in California

The ODI Ruffian is a classic grip. The raised diamond texture and thin grip diameter are its hallmarks. The tiny little diamonds grip gloves like sandpaper offering just the right amount of grip.

These bike grips are for those that want a thin feel and not much padding. Many riders feel you can use these without gloves and still have plenty of comfort when mountain biking.

What ODI Says

The leading choice of top riders around the globe!
The Ruffian grip combines an ultra narrow knurled surface and Lock-On Grip System technology for the ultimate in control.

PRODUCT FEATURES: 

  • Rugged knurled pattern for maximum traction
  • Ultra narrow racing profile
  • Lock-On Grip System = 100% Slip Free performance
  • Includes new Snap Cap™ End Plugs
  • Available in 7 Colors: Black, Lime Green, Aqua, Bright Blue, Bright Red and Pink, Purple
ODI Ruffian
ODI Ruffian

Check Latest Price: ODI Ruffian


ODI Troy Lee Designs – made in California

This is a relatively new bike grip design. They are on the thinner side of the spectrum in grip diameter. What I like most about the TLD mtb grips is the small flanges on the bar end. They give you that old school BMX style grip feel without being intrusive to shift and brake controls.

What ODI Says

We’ve enlisted the help of our good friends over at Troy Lee Designs to help put an artistic spin on a quality design. After hundreds of drawings and designs, we’ve developed the most innovative grip yet. Troy’s the kind of guy that will make you throw all of your conventional processes out the window in order to make something for the World’s Fastest Racers. With that, we introduce the ODI / TROY LEE DESIGNS LOCK-ON MOUNTAIN BIKE GRIP. Quality and Innovation that can only be found by combining two World Leaders. 

PRODUCT FEATURES: 

  • Grooved Channels prevent mud and water buildup
  • Overmolded flap gives added protection on outside clamp
  • Unique Undercut pads give slim comfortable feel with the ultimate amount of grip
  • Custom flanged design provides hand support with more usable grip surface
  • Etched inside clamp provides clocking system to assist on installation
ODI Troy Lee Designs
ODI Troy Lee Designs

Check Latest Price: ODI Troy Lee Designs


Oury – made in Arkansas

The Oury bike grip is an iconic grip design used by bicyclists and offroad motorsports riders. The grip design is thick and chunky but provides lots of grip. I’ve also found that the Lock-On design version seems to be a bit more softer than the slip-on version. Oury knows what it means to go mountain biking.

What Oury Says

The ultimate standard in grip comfort and beauty.  Anti-vibration large pad pattern offers grip comfort, eliminates numbness and slipping for any size hand.  Made in the U.S.A.

Specs:

  • 4.5″ long (114 mm)
  • 7/8″ I.D. (22.25 mm)
  • 1.26″ O.D. (32 mm)
  • 5 ounces (141.5 grams)
Oury Lock-On's
Oury Lock-On’s

Check Latest Price: Oury Grips


The Best Mountain Bike Grips (ergonomic)

Sometimes a standard mtb grip design doesn’t work for you. A lot of riders have wrist issues that can be aided by the use of ergonomic grips. These mtb grips have a more contoured shape to fit hands and support your wrist differently. When installing these grips make sure you try several angles to find the best fit for your riding style and bio-mechanics. These are the ergonomics grips that I have found work the best for me and my riding buddies.

You can see in these illustrations from Ergon how an ergonomic grip may alleviate pain for you.

Ergon grip detail
Ergon grip detail
traditional grip detail
traditional grip detail
Ergon wrist placement
Ergon wrist placement
traditional grip wrist placement
traditional grip wrist placement

 


Ergon GP1 Comfort

The GP1 is a pretty large ergonomic mtb grip but I feel that it offers the most wrist support. The grip textured sections offer good traction but the weight is a little high. It’s a favorite among hardcore MTB’ers and it’s easy to name it one of the best mountain bike grips for ergonomics.

What Ergon Says

Comfort driven mountain bikers rely and require unmatched pressure relief. Grips of the GP Series prevent numb fingers, aching hands and forearms.

The original ergonomic grip. The GP1 sets the Worldwide standard in ergonomic comfort, materials, and quality. The GP1 eliminates numb hands, aching fingers, and tired forearms. The uniquely shaped grip body is made from 100% German, TÜV-certified rubber compounds of the purest quality – with infused Medical-grade white mineral oil for improved flexibility and durability. A forged aluminum clamp allows the grip to be adjusted for perfect fit, can be easily readjusted, and eliminates twisting once installed. (Carbon bar compatible).

Ergon GP1
Ergon GP1

Check Latest Price: Ergon GP1


Ergon GA3 All Mountain

Gr179a01 Black

One of the best mountain bike grips, the GA3 All Mountain’s are a round grip with a slightly ergonomic bump out for the palm.

It’s got great feel for the rubber density and lots of tackiness. The locking mechanism is firm and does a great job at preventing them from rotating around.

This is a great grip for those with small hands that still want an ergonomic grip.

What Ergon Says

The All-Mountain/Gravity Grip with excellent grip and a super soft UV-stable rubber compound. The GA3 combines pressure relief with a high degree of freedom.

The best of both worlds. The new all-mountain comfort grip. This concept combines the relief benefits and wrist support of ergonomic wing grips with the freedom of movement of rounder MTB grips. Experience gained with the GA2 showed that the ergonomically optimised shape allows for low gripping forces; textures are adapted to the grip zones of the human hand; wall thickness of the inner core double butted to increase damping comfort. The excellent grip is typical for Ergon. The super soft, UV-stable rubber compound is exclusively manufactured in Germany for Ergon! This allows greater control even on demanding trails. The inboard clamp allows even more gripping area at the end of the bars, it is completely secure and carbon bar friendly. With replaceable endplug.

Check latest price: Ergon GA3 All Mountains


Ergon GS1

The GS1 is more racey than the GP1 MTB Grip. I have used it much longer. It isn’t as large as the GP1 but still offers good wrist support. These bike grips can make long rides a lot more comfortable if you have wrist pain with traditional bike grips. It may feel a bit too big if you have small hands.

What Ergon Says

The grips of the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team, the most successful marathon team of the last decade. The GS Series combines high damping properties with steering precision. Comfort is ensured during long rides through strategic pressure distribution and stable wing flex.

Piloted to two Marathon World Championship titles and the Leadville 100 course record! The Ergon GS1 combines comfort and support in a lightweight package for endurance athletes. The exclusive German produced rubber compound enables precise steering and control, all while still maximizing optimized damping features. The grip provides ideal comfort over long distances through ultimate pressure distribution and ride tuned flex. The GS1 is available in various Twist-Shift options. Carbon bar compatible.

Ergon GS1
Ergon GS1

Check Latest Price: Ergon GS1


Summary

I hope this selection of best grips has given you some new options to try if you’re unhappy with your current bike grips.

MTB grips are very subjective and specific to the rider. Hand size, sweatiness, palm width, and a bunch of other factors affect what one person may like. So it’s tough to nominate the best mountain bike grips for everyone. But here’s the list of the ones I liked the most.

What grips are your favorites to go mountain biking? Let me know in the comments.


Commission Disclaimer

Any links to retailers from this article provide a compensation commission back to OldGloryMTB.com for referring customers to their site that buy products. This helps keep us out on the trails checking out new gear to write about here on the site.

17 thoughts on “Top 10 Best Mountain Bike Grips”

  1. What do I have to take into considertion if I have bar ends? Measured my grips at 135mm from end to the bar end. Some of these are listed as 115mm to 130mm

  2. I have always had a problem with hand numbness. I guess ergonomic grips would help, but I’m afraid that the same efect that would help with this would be against bike control in All-Mountain use (descending and technical zones).
    Would this be so?

    Cheers

  3. I think Ergon’s or Specialized’s grips would work fine for you. Might have a little time to get used to them but plenty of people use them for AM riding.

  4. Bought a used bike with the Ergon grips on which I thought would hamper control and so would remove when I got home. But one ride was all I needed to know that no control was lost, but the hammering my wrists and hands were getting was greatly reduced. I honestly would not ride far without them now and they were kept and installed on my new bike when I swapped. Expensive but worth every penny. Try some

  5. Carefully remove your bar-ends then install your new grips of choice. Now find the nearest trash receptacle and throw those things away. Bar ends are absolutely useless.

  6. Except that it’s nice not to have mud getting packed into your handlebar every time you lay the bike down, or worry about getting stabbed by a sharp bar end if you lose control on a steep descent and go OTB.

  7. Bar ends plugs are pretty important. Fall the wrong way without a plug and your bars work like cookie cutters–they will take a core biopsy of whatever you fall on. I am very pleased to have had bar ends when i fell chest first on to mine. ALWAYS have plugs!

  8. Bar ends are different than bar end plugs. one fills the end of your handlebar so you don’t get dirt in them and the other is a useless thing that extends from the ends of your bars to do something. I don’t know what.

  9. I’m specifically looking for grips that would help alleviate pressure at the UCL mcp jt of thumb. I had a dislocation with surgery. Severe pain at the base of thumb on bar when I brake. Thumb stabilizer is worthless. The smaller grip allows more control when doing technical climbs and rocks rather than the larger thickness grip but the small grip and traditional angle caused more pressure at the base of my thumb. any recommendations for brand and type of grip for this situation?

  10. All people looking for ergonomic grips should try out the ESI Chunky before going Ergon. I used to get the pinched ulnar nerve and started using Ergon’s. The Ergon’s worked but they are clumsy beasts and expensive. The ESI Chunky’s are about $18 and when positioned right (there is a thicker side) provides all the same relief but without the awkwardness of Ergon. Forget the price tag, i’d pay triple for the ESI’s and still have them on all my bikes.

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