Top 10 Best Mountain Bike Grips

Best Mountain Bike GripsThe 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. 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 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 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 grip you just loosen the screws and take the grip off. Due to the lock ring hardware Lock-On grips are heavier than their non-Lock-On counterparts. They also tend to cost a bit more.
  • A non-Lock-On grip sometimes called a slip-on or push-on 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 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’s are superior to slip-on/push-on grips. Once installed properly a Lock-On grip will stay in place and not rotate or twist. Slip-on 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 Non-Ergonomic Grips

The Best Ergonomic Grips

The Best Mountain Bike Grips

ESI – Chunky and Racers Edge – made in California

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

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 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.

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.
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 grips but I ended up enjoying the swishy ribbed grip feel. They are an inbetween grip diameter, not thick and not too thin.




ODI Cross Trainer

ODI Cross Trainer

Check Latest Price: ODI Cross Trainer


ODI Rogue – made in California

The ODI Rogue is my personal favorite grip. 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.

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 grips are for those that want a thin feel and not much padding.

ODI Ruffian

ODI Ruffian

Check Latest Price: ODI Ruffian

ODI Troy Lee Designs – made in California

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

ODI Troy Lee Designs

ODI Troy Lee Designs

Check Latest Price: ODI Troy Lee Designs

Oury – made in Arkansas

The Oury 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 version seems to be a bit more softer than the slip-on version.

Oury Lock-On's

Oury Lock-On’s

Check Latest Price: Oury Grips

The Best Ergonomic Mountain Bike Grips

Sometimes a standard 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 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

The GP1 is a pretty large ergonomic 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.

Ergon GP1

Ergon GP1

Check Latest Price: Ergon GP1

Ergon GS1

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

Ergon GS1

Ergon GS1

Check Latest Price: Ergon GS1

Specialized XC Contour

I also really like the XC Contour grips from Specialized. They have tacky rubber and diamond grip pattern that offer a lot of traction. The flanges are also not very large on these grips and feel more sporty  and less clunky compared to larger ergonomic grips.

Specialized XC Contour

Specialized XC Contour

Check Latest Price: Specialized XC Contour

I hope this selection of grips has given you some new options to try if you’re unhappy with your current grips. What grips are your favorites? Let me know in the comments.

Commission Disclaimer

Any links to retailers from this article provide a compensation commission back to 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 Responses

  1. Blake says:

    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. Shorter grips might be designed for grip shift system. Bar ends don’t really matter. Just buy a standard sized grip.

  3. Ignatius says:

    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?


  4. 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.

  5. Nick dj says:

    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

  6. TIm says:

    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.

  7. Damien says:

    I want a pair that are comfortable and won’t hurt my hands when I am riding

  8. Thicker grips or Ergon grips can help with comfort. Rogues from ODI and ESI chunky’s are good choices for thicker grips.

  9. Coder says:

    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.

  10. Annemarie says:

    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!

  11. David says:

    This is where I found the best grips in my opinion.

  12. Luke says:

    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.

  13. Jay says:

    I have a friend who lost an eye to handlebars without bar ends.

  14. Lisa says:

    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?

  15. Brian says:

    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.

  16. Lexi says:

    Thank you for this article. It was very helpful!

  17. I haven’t heard of them, they aren’t well know. thx for sharing.

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