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The Best Mountain Bike Grips of 2023

Keep a solid grip on the roughest terrain. These are the best mountain bike grips of 2023.

Biker's hand on Race Face Mountain Bike Grips on bike(Photo/Race Face)
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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 2023.

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. You can also see how each grip stacks up head to head in our comparison chart.

Editor’s Note: The team revisited our MTB Grip guide for an update on September 25th, 2023 adding solid entries from Supcaz, Wolf Tooth, and PNW components.

The Best Mountain Bike Grips of 2023


Best Overall Mountain Bike Grip

Race Face Half Nelson Grip

Specs

  • Length 203 mm
  • Width 29 mm
  • Style Locking
  • Weight 92 g per pair
  • Cushion Light, low profile
  • Compatibility Universal
The Best Mountain Bike Grips of 2023

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
Best Budget Mountain Bike Grip

ESI Grips Racer’s Edge

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
The Best Mountain Bike Grips of 2023

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
Best Mountain Bike Grip For Racing

Supacaz Grizips

Specs

  • Length 110 mm
  • Width 32 mm
  • Style Locking
  • Weight 140 g per pair
  • Cushion Light, low profile
  • Compatibility Universal
The Best Mountain Bike Grips of 2023

Pros

  • Easy installation
  • Combination grip pattern
  • Great handling

Cons

  • Less padded than others in this guide
Best Foam Mountain Bike Grip

Wolf Tooth Components Fat Paw

Specs

  • Length 135mm long
  • Width 36mm installed diameter | 9.5mm uninstalled wall thickness
  • Style Slide on
  • Weight 110g
  • Cushion Thick
  • Compatibility Universal
The Best Mountain Bike Grips of 2023

Pros

  • Great cushioning
  • Myriad of color options

Cons

  • Difficult to install
  • Some control tradeoff for comfort
Best Ergonomic Mountain Bike Grip

Ergon GA3

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
The Best Mountain Bike Grips of 2023

Pros

  • Added wrist support
  • Sun-resistant
  • Great choice for folks with smaller hands

Cons

  • Unique shape not for everyone
Best Mountain Bike Grips for Extra Coverage

PNW Components Loam XL

Specs

  • Length 133.5mm
  • Width 34mm
  • Style Locking
  • Weight 120g
  • Cushion Moderate
  • Compatibility Universal
The Best Mountain Bike Grips of 2023(Photo/PNW Components)

Pros

  • Great moisture management
  • Good vibration damping

Cons

  • Stiffer than others in this guide
Best New Mountain Bike Grip

Lizard Skins Strata Single Clamp Lock-On

Specs

  • Length 135 mm
  • Width 32.25 mm
  • Style Locking
  • Weight 118 g per pair
  • Cushion Light, low profile
  • Compatibility MTB, BMX, ATV, PWC
The Best Mountain Bike Grips of 2023

Pros

  • Crosshatch pattern provides ample grip
  • Tacky dual-density construction

Cons

  • Not good for riders who over-grip

Comparison Chart

Mountain Bike GripLengthWidthStyleWeightCushion
Race Face Half
Nelson Grip
203 mm29 mmLocking92 g per pairLight, low profile
ESI Grips Racer’s Edge130 mm30 mmSlide-on48 g per pairLight, low profile
Supacaz Grizips110 mm32 mmLocking140 g per pairLight, low profile
Wolf Tooth Components Fat Paw135 mm36 mmSlide-on110 g per pairThick
Ergon GA3136 mm30 / 32 mmLocking115 g per pairModerate
PNW Components Loam XL133.5 mm34 mmLocking120 g per pairModerate
Lizard Skins Strata Single Clamp Lock-On135 mm32.25 mmLocking118 g per pairLight, low profile

Why You Should Trust Us

In order to find the best mountain bike grips available today, we mounted every grip we could get our paws on and hit the trails to test the cushioning, control, and robustness of each. The GearJunkie staff is composed of a number of trail hogs who love to crank out long days, and we put our collective experience together to test the best of the best mountain bike grips.

In considering which grips to test, we surveyed our trail partners, scoped out parking lots, and handled a lot of handlebars to get a feel for how each grip fits into the market. Then, we put in the work climbing, descending, and mashing about on our bikes to test the durability, texture, and feel of each grip.

The mountain biking market constantly changes, and our testing follows that trend. As new mountain bike grips hit the market, rest assured that we’re putting them to the test and will update our guide accordingly.

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose Mountain Bike Grips

Slide-On vs. Lock-On Grips

Lock-on grips have 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 a bolt, which locks them in place and prevents them from sliding or rotating.

This also allows the diameter of the inside of the grips to be a bit wider than the diameter of the handlebar, so it installs over the handlebar easily. This contrasts 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 with 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 move if improperly 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.

Mountain Biker on Steep Terrain
(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, 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 offer support to increase comfort and fight fatigue 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 outboard hand position.

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 durability to the ends of lightweight carbon fiber handlebars.

Material

Most 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 durability.

Silicone foam grips are popular for cross-country riding and touring, as they provide comfortable cushioning, but less so for technical riding because of 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 spray.

For instance, some trips blend chevron, rib, waffle, and other 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. These mountain bike grips can often require mounting in a specific orientation to work best.

On the other hand, other grips have the same pattern all the way across and around. And 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 in Action
(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 more enjoyment for less experienced riders. Cushioning can also help support some riders with hand or wrist ailments.

Price

Grips range in price with simpler designs that are close to $17 and high-end, ergonomic, and texturized options at up to $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 chassis 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 a 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 uncertain about a certain texture of grip, 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 long, but riders with large hands can find grips up to 150 mm. For smaller hands, there are grips as short as 90 mm.

As far as the 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 can be shaped for an enhanced, more naturally feeling grip on the bars for some riders. Some find non-round grips to offer needed support, sometimes accommodating for hand or finger injuries.

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, terrain, and crashes. If you’re navigating technical or rocky terrain and occasionally rub against boulders and cliff faces, and if you 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 lay 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 the material over time, so rain, sweat, oils from your hands, and direct sunlight can 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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