Biker's hand on Race Face Mountain Bike Grips on bike
(Photo/Race Face)

The Best Mountain Bike Grips of 2022

Keep a solid grip on the roughest terrain. These are the best mountain bike grips of 2022.

While much attention is paid to more visible components like shocks, gears, and wheels, having the best mountain bike grips can make or break your ride. Slipping off your handlebars on bumpy terrain or losing your grip in the air can result in severe damage to your bike — and your body!

Disaster aside, soft compounds, well-placed contact points, and sizes geared toward large or small hands can help riders maintain a comfortable grip on their bikes during epic rides and long days in the saddle.

While looking for the best grips, we considered a wide range of shapes, textures, riding styles, and price ranges to find grips that would suit a variety of mountain bikers. Here are the best mountain bike handlebar grips of 2022.

To learn more about what characteristics differ between mountain bike grips, head to the bottom of this article for the buyer’s guide and FAQ. Otherwise, scroll down for the full list or jump straight to your favorite category:

The Best Mountain Bike Grips of 2022

Best Overall: Race Face Half Nelson Grip

Race Face Half Nelson Locking Grips

Race Face is well-known in the mountain biking industry. And the brand earns its reputation with the Half Nelson Grip ($27), providing excellent value at a friendly price point. The grip uses a metal lock ring to secure the grips to your handlebars, making sure they stay put until you’ve worn them out. The design is quick and easy to install.

The logo texturing along with the super-tacky rubber ensures a solid grip with or without gloved hands. And the topographic pattern creates moisture channels that prevent slippage when charging through a creek or on hot and during big or technical ascents — plus, the texture looks rad.

As a bonus, the soft rubber provides some give, making for a more comfortable ride. The handle isn’t too cushiony — it’s streamlined for a precise, athletic hold.

A lineup of nine vibrant tones is also available, so you can choose your favorite color to match your ride, accents, or apparel.

What customers said: “Yes, they’re gripped, especially with gloves. This is a good, solid, comfortable, and durable choice for long cross-country rides, even during hot, cold, dusty, or wet conditions. They don’t cause excessive blistering or wear quickly.” — Racey

Specs:
  • Length: 203 mm
  • Width: 29 mm
  • Style: Locking
  • Weight: 92 g per pair
  • Cushion: Light, low profile
  • Compatibility: Universal
Pros:
  • Sticky grip
  • Moisture channels
  • Precise silhouette
Cons:
  • Softer rubber sacrifices long-term durability
  • Not the most padded
  • For some riders, there’s not enough grip to go glove-free

Check Price at BackcountryCheck Price at evo

Runner-Up: Ergon GA3

Best Mountain Bike Grips: Ergon GA3

Ergon’s GA3 handlebar grips ($35) are built for long-distance hauls, thanks to their grip design. The flared rubber grip is designed to provide wrist support and conform to the shape of the rider’s hands.

The grip’s ergonomics allow riders to maintain control without a tight grip, which reduces rider fatigue. The tactful shape is friendlier for some folks who need to manage hand muscle, wrist, or forearm fatigue, strain, overuse injuries, or numbness. And the double-butted inner cores reduce vibration on bumpy singletrack and fire roads.

The soft rubber exterior of the Ergon GA3 sticks to gloves for great control on trails. And its UV-stable design prevents drying out and cracking due to sun exposure.

The grips come in two sizes, so riders with large hands and small hands can have a perfect fit for maneuvering, pulling the brakes, or cruising. Note: The design has a designated left and right side.

What customers said: “The mini wings are great to relieve hand pain and also due to the size, they feel like nice large grips.” — Darren Lutes

Specs:
  • Length: 136 mm
  • Width: 30 mm (size small), 32 mm (size large) plus the mini-wing
  • Style: Locking
  • Weight: 115 g per pair
  • Cushion: Moderate
  • Compatibility: Universal
Pros:
  • Added wrist support
  • Sun-resistant
  • Great choice for folks with smaller hands
Cons:
  • Unique shape not for everyone

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Best Budget: ESI Grips Racer’s Edge

ESI Grips Racer’s Edge

These simple and affordable grips ($17) are built for a smooth ride and all-conditions control. Made from vibration-damping silicone, these grips can help prevent numbness and pain in the hands during long rides and cancel out washboard gravel roads or rowdy and rocky singletrack descents ― all for just $17.

Whether you’re sweaty, muddy, or soaked with rain, the solid construction of the Racer’s Edge will offer a reliable hold. These grips don’t just stick to your hands; they also stick to your handlebars — and they won’t slide or spin. Many riders find the silicone also conforms to their hands over time and develops an unbeatable custom feel.

Also, these grips are offset, meaning they’re slightly thicker on one side. You’ll want to make sure the thicker end is facing your palms to maximize performance. Heads up — install the bar plugs first.

What customers said: “I come back to this grip every time because they are worth the weight! They are comfy and provide that little bit of small bump forgiveness that cross-country forks are so incredibly bad at dealing with while not being overly spongy feeling out of the saddle when you are cranking down the watts. Not everyone is a fan of foam grips but for those that are, the ESI options are the best out there.” — Ankit Sachdeva, who’s put ’em “through the wringer”

Specs:
  • Length: 130 mm
  • Width: 30 mm
  • Style: Slide-on
  • Weight: 48 g per pair
  • Cushion: Light, low profile
  • Compatibility: Made for 22mm bars; fits down to 19mm bars
Pros:
  • Affordable
  • Very grippy
  • Slimmer profile for dropping grams
  • Nice option for smaller hands
Cons:
  • Thin
  • Can make hands sweaty
  • Not the best choice for larger hands
  • If you need thicker grips, look elsewhere

Check Price at BackcountryCheck Price at Jenson USA

Best in Mud: ODI Rogue Grip

ODI Rogue Grip

For slippery conditions, ODI’s Rogue Grip ($30) provides excellent grip and stability. When plowing through a muddy trail, the extra-large raised pads add friction to your grip, and the deep grooves channel away dirt and debris, ensuring a solid grip no matter how messy the trail. Plus the deep blocks provide high cushion for the ultimate shock absorption in rough terrain and at high speeds.

The Lock-On Grip System makes sure the grips do not slip, so you can crank on your handlebars with abandon, while the snap-on end plugs keep mud out of your handlebars. Under the hands, the rubber feels soft.

Bonus: You can personalize your grips — ODI will laser-etch up to 15 characters onto the Rogue’s clamps.

What customers said: “These are very good grips. They’re super easy to install, have a nice diameter for my hands, and there are nice big knobs to aid in grip.” — Lewis W.

Specs:
  • Length: 130 mm
  • Width:  Unavailable
  • Style: Locking
  • Weight: 114 g per pair
  • Cushion: Thick
  • Compatibility: Unavailable
Pros:
  • Debris-clearing channels
  • Grippy texture
  • Good choice for folks with large and extra-large hands
Cons:
  • Raised pads can feel awkward underhand

Check Price at BackcountryCheck Price at Amazon

Best for Downhill: DMR Brendog DeathGrip

DMR Deathgrip

When ripping downhill, a solid grip on the handlebars is the difference between a ride to the bottom of a hill and a ride to the emergency room. DMR takes this into account with its collaboration with pro rider Brendan (Brendog) Fairclough.

As the name suggests, DeathGrips ($24) go the extra mile to ensure a solid handle on the bike. A combination of waffle and knurl patterns and a flange on the interior help keep riders’ hands in place no matter the terrain (or lack of it). We also liked the tapered core, which helps keep the grip in place without the need for an outer lock ring.

The depth runs on the deeper side of the spectrum, and the material feels buttery. Riders cover miles with or without gloves in comfort. Overall, the quality is high for the price.

What customers said: “From the moment I used these on my downhill bike, I’ve never wanted any other grips. These are sick, soft, and grippy! I got another pair for my trail bike. I will rock these until I stop riding.” — Anonymous

Specs:
  • Length: 140 mm
  • Width:  31.3 mm
  • Style: Locking
  • Weight: 120 g per pair
  • Cushion: Moderate
  • Compatibility: Universal
Pros:
  • Extremely grippy
  • Durable
Cons:
  • Harder to apply than other grips

Check Price at AmazonCheck Price at Jenson USA

Best Single-Clamp Lock-On: PNW Components Loam Grips

 Best Mountain Bike Grips: NW Components Loam Grips

At the start and end of the day, the material feels tacky. Our favorite aspect of PNW Components’ Loam grips ($19) is the balance it strikes — both the pattern and the rubber manage to serve multiple functions. The varying patterns are a great example.

Thin horizontal strips near the thumbs add traction and give some cushioning. A thicker mountain pattern cushions the palm from trail vibration, while two broad ramps (dubbed by the brand as the “fins”) wick water away while riding in wet conditions.

The Loam’s rubber compounds find a happy medium between materials soft enough to provide grip and absorb vibration and firm enough to provide stability on the trail. When you install the grips, there’s a specific left and right option. You’ll want the clamp bolts toward the rear of the bike, which helps make adjustments smoother.

What customers said: “These grips slap. They look and feel buttery smooth. I bought a pair for my bike and damn they are sexy, sexy. They soak up a lot of the vibrations, too. Stop second guessing. Just buy these.” — Joshua M.

Specs:
  • Length: 133.5 mm
  • Width:  30 mm outer diameter
  • Style: Single-clamp
  • Weight: 90 g per pair
  • Cushion: Light, low profile
  • Compatibility: Nearly universal including those with a 31.8 mm or 35 mm center clamp size
Pros:
  • Moisture-regulation
  • Vibration damping
Cons:
  • Stiffer than other grips on this list

Check Price at REICheck Price at Backcountry

Best of the Rest

Lizard Skins Lock-On Oury

Lizard Skins Lock-On Oury

At $32 per set, the Oury grips made by Lizard Skins offer that plush cushion some riders are looking to grab. Made with super-soft rubber, the design delivers premium comfort while also providing a solid control point. The material absorbs vibration and chattering on rough terrain.

The tacky material stays sticky even in a downpour or damp conditions. A large gallery of plug, ring, and grip colors means you can style out your grips in countless combinations. Riders looking for deep cushion can also check out the Oury single-sided lock-on set or the slip-on design.

What customers said: “They are the best, and I love the gooey feel. They have more girth than most grips, and I’ve been running them for years — every bike of mine gets these. Get them!” — Scott Baker

Specs:
  • Length: 127 mm
  • Width: 22.25 mm on the inner diameter; 32 mm on the outer diameter
  • Style: Locking
  • Weight: 200 g per pair
  • Cushion: High cushion
  • Compatibility: Universal
Pros:
  • Super cushioned
  • Soft
Cons:
  • Handling is not as precise compared to athletic designs
  • Tad pricier
  • Weight is a bit higher due to boosted material mass

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Deity Knuckleduster

Deity Knuckleduster

Aside from an amazing name, the Deity Knucklebuster ($24) provides a close-gripping handle and ample stability beneath the palms. The toned silhouette offers just enough cloud sensation under the hands without being too squishy.

The trail-facing bolts of each single-clamp features loc-tite for security that won’t break down. In a unique approach, the grip pattern features a tri-blend. Beneath the palm is a chevron pattern for comfort.

A section of wide ribs with short gaps is placed toward the outer end to prevent side-to-side slippage. On the underside is a stretch of recessed waffle pockets for hold that doesn’t lead to friction-triggered hotspots.

To properly install, tap the end of the grip until it completely sits onto the handlebar. For tight fits, a drop of isopropyl alcohol can help lubricate the process, followed up by tightening the hardware.

What customers said: “These are my favorite grips for my trail bike. I love the half-waffle design. They are super grippy and have a moto feel.” — Kelly H.

Specs:
  • Length: 132 mm
  • Width: 32 mm outer diameter
  • Style: Locking
  • Weight: 101 g per pair
  • Cushion: Light, low profile
  • Compatibility: Universal
Pros:
  • Unique texture provides a solid grip
  • Tapered shape helps secure grip on handlebars
Cons:
  • Not compatible with bar ends or plugs

Check Price at Jenson USACheck Price at Backcountry

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose Mountain Bike Grips

Slide-On vs. Lock-On Grips

Lock-on grips are composed of a rigid interior covered by a rubber compound outer. They secure on handlebars with a locking collar — a metal ring-shaped clamp on one or both ends of the handlebars with an Allen bolt, which locks them in place and prevents them from sliding around.

This also allows the diameter of the inside of the grips to be a bit wider than the diameter of the handlebar, so it slides over the handlebar easily. This is in contrast with a slide-on grip, which has a smaller interior diameter than the handlebar, using friction to keep the grips in place. A slide-on grip is a simpler design, consisting of a rubber compound tube that slides over the handlebar.

Lock-on grips are easier to install and are generally more secure. However, they’re also heavier and tend to be more expensive than slide-on grips, as they have a rigid tube core and metal collars. This core also makes some lock-on grips incompatible with carbon fiber handlebars.

Slide-on grips are compatible with any handlebar material. Because they lack an internal core and collars, they tend to be much lighter than lock-ons. That said, they are more difficult to install, sometimes requiring lubrication. They’re also more difficult to adjust and can slide around if not properly secured.

If your priority is security and ease of application, lock-on grips are the way to go. But if cutting weight and saving money are first and foremost, slide-on grips are the better option.

Man riding S20 Mountain Bike with in Steamboat Springs
(Photo/Pearl Izumi)

Shape & Length

Choosing the right shape and length can depend on the rider’s anatomy. Most grips are somewhere between 130 mm and 140 mm in length. But there are shorter 90mm options for riders with small hands or who use grip shifters, as well as 150mm grips for riders with larger hands.

The most basic and common shape is the plain gauge grip, which has the same thickness throughout the length of the grip. Riders who downhill often or who simply prefer a better grip tend to go with this option, especially with the flange (a rubber disk near the inside of the grip) to help prevent the hand from sliding off.

For cross-country riders, ergonomic grips feature a flat section near the outside of the grip to add support for your hand or wrist, which can come in handy (no pun intended) on longer rides.

An extension of this is the integrated bar end, which is a short bar that points forward from the end of the grips, which allows riders a second hand position.

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Bar Plugs

Bar plugs and bar end caps are designed to protect the handlebars and grips during a crash or when riding through tight terrain. Generally made of plastic or polymer, they fit within the handlebars to keep debris out, provide some protection, and add stability to lightweight carbon fiber handlebars.

Material

The vast majority of the grips on the market are made up of rubber compounds. The types and amounts of rubber in the compounds vary between makes and models, but they are designed to provide a combination of grip, cushioning, and padding.

Silicone foam grips are popular for cross-country riding and touring, as they provide the most comfortable cushioning, but less so for technical riding for their lack of grip and durability.

Patterns

The texture and pattern of each design are unique. Some grips combine multiple templates in targeted spots below the hand, at the outermost edge of the bar, beneath the fingers, or where mud and rain could drop or splay.

For instance, the Deity Knuckleduster blends chevron, rib, and waffle patterns. The chevron feels comfortable to some riders. The ribs, separated by narrow gaps, prevent side-to-side play. And waffle pockets are designed to prevent hotspots.

On the other hand, the Lizard Skins Lock-On Oury has ubiquitous big blocks of thick cushion all the way around. The PNW Components Loam Grips feature special side-by-side rainbow-shaped columns meant to draw water away and off the handlebars if it starts to downpour. Other designs are totally smooth with no lines or divots at all. 

Ultimately, patterns are a very tactile choice, and the best option is determined by each person’s personal preference, hand shape, and size.

PNW Components Loam Grips on mountain bike
(Photo/REI)

Thickness

The amount of cushion in a grip design is as important as the pattern and also comes down to personal preference.

Close-fitting, slim, less-cushioned designs provide an athletic feel under the palms. Some riders prefer a more sensitive, aggressive touchpoint and responsiveness.

At the other end of the spectrum, thick and well-cushioned grips offer comfort. Pillowy blocks and ribs can help prevent fatigue on long, tough rides or for less experienced riders. Cushioning can also help support some riders if they have hand or wrist ailments.

Price

Grips range in price with simpler designs that are close to $17 and the high-end, ergonomic, and texturized options up toward $35.

The higher cost typically means the design features a lock-on grip versus a slide-on. The grip could also be more cushioned, and the grip could be ergonomically shaped. The design might also feature a more complex pattern or multiple patterns combined for various functionality and feel.

FAQ

What Are the Best Mountain Bike Grips?

That depends on the type of terrain you generally ride. If you tend to ride more technical terrain or prefer downhill, control is going to be at a premium, as you’ll be cranking on the handlebars to find the perfect line. Grips with a lock-on design are a great choice here, as they don’t tend to slip.

Also, look for grips with an aggressive tread pattern. They’ll keep your hands from slipping off and will drain away moisture and any debris that you kick up.

For longer rides, comfort is king, so look for a less aggressive tread and more padding. As a softer, lighter slide-on grip is a good way to go, consider a silicone foam grip. An ergonomic grip or integrated bar ends will help take pressure off of your wrists on long rides as well.

How Do I Choose a Pair of Handlebar Grips?

Selecting the best handlebar grips for your setup broadly depends on the type of terrain you ride, your ride style, and your hand health.

Firmer grips offer a more athletic, responsive connection to your frame and a more sensitive reading of the terrain beneath the tires. Softer material provides more cushion, absorption, and comfort, which can be preferred for longer rides, certain hand or wrist injuries, or just be personal preference.

Each grip also has a unique pattern that helps with dispersing moisture and debris, as well as stability and slip prevention. If you’re not sure if you’ll like the way a texture feels, stop by your local bike shop to get your hands wrapped around some of the available patterns.

What Size Mountain Bike Grips Do I Need?

Most grips are 130 mm to 140 mm in length, but riders with large hands can find grips up to 150 mm. If you have grip shifters, 90mm grips will accommodate the extra space the shifters will take up on the handlebar.

As far as diameter is concerned, a grip that you can’t fully wrap your hand around is too large, as you’ll pump your arms out trying to maintain a grip on it. But a grip that’s too small limits your contact with the grip.

Riders with smaller hands should opt for grips in the 29mm to 30mm range, while riders with larger hands should go with 32mm to 34mm grips.

Are There Ergonomic Mountain Biking Grips?

Mountain biking grips are ideally more athletically shaped for a close handle and reactivity in quick-changing terrain, but there are designs that achieve premium ergonomics with that singletrack functionality.

On our list, one of the best choices for ergonomic mountain bike grips is the Ergon GA3. The flared rubber grip looks like a small wing beneath the palm, which is designed to provide wrist support and conform to the shape of the rider’s hands.

Ergon GA3 grip on mountain bike
(Photo/Ergon)

Are MTB Grips Universal?

As far as fitting a bike goes, most grips are designed to fit a handlebar’s 22mm diameter, with some variance. Grips come in a wide range of shapes to accommodate all types of riders and mountain biking styles. It all depends on how deep into the weeds you want to get with your type of riding.

Most plain gauge grips will do well in any mountain biking situation. But if you want to cater your grips to how you ride and how comfortable you want to be, there are myriad options to choose from.

How Long Do Mountain Bike Grips Last?

The longevity of grips depends on user care, ride style, and terrain. If you’re navigating technical or rocky terrain and occasionally rub against boulders, cliff faces, and drop your bike — or worse, take a tumble — that’ll definitely chip away at the grip material.

If you’re a bikepacker, dropping or setting down the bike or leaning your bike upright against a fence post with that heavy load will cause stress on the material over time.

If you have a tendency to lie your bike flat on the ground, lean your bike at a sharp angle, or lay your bike in the back of a truck bed versus upright in a rack, that’ll also cause wear and tear to the grips.

The natural elements also break down material over time, so rain and direct sunlight will bit by bit decrease the product’s life. Of course, the more miles you cover and the more aggressively you ride, the faster the grips will break down.

In short, a new pair of solid grips should last years versus months.


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