Finding the best MTB grips for your mountain bike is very important. Along with the saddle and pedals, they are one of the main touchpoints on your bike.
You will be riding your mountain bike over some challenging terrain, so you must get grips that give you full control of the handlebars, as well as being comfortable enough to hold on to during long rides.
Best MTB Grips
- PNW Components Loam Grip – Best all rounder
- ESI GRIPS Extra Chunky Mountain Bike Grips – Best chunky grips
- Ergon GA3 Handlebar Grips – Best for ergonomics
- Bontrager XR Trail Pro MTB Grip Set – Best for a secure fit
- Corki Double Lock MTB Grips – Best on a Budget
PNW Components Loam Grip
The PWN Loam Grips are made of an ultra-sticky compound and ergonomic pattern to support your palms. The pattern helps to reduce vibrations and hand fatigue caused by long days out in the saddle.
With thicker strips on the outside of the grip, the contrasting design provides a structure designed to support the additional bodyweight pressing down on this area.
With a choice of 5 awesomely named colors (Safety Orange, Really Red, Blackout, Seafoam Teal, Cement Gray), you can get the right grip to match your bike!
- Ergonomic Pattern Design.
- The sticky and hard-wearing compound gives excellent traction even when wet.
Diameter: Avg. 30mm
Standard Grip Length: 133.5mm
Durometer: 25A Happy Camper Compound
Clamp Style: Closed End, single clamp
ESI GRIPS Extra Chunky Mountain Bike Grips
Best Chunky Grip
These extra chunky grips are perfect if you have larger hands or prefer a chunky grip to hold onto your bars. They have a 34mm diameter that leaves you feeling in full control on the trails. The 100% Silicon compound keeps your grip slip-free without the use of any fancy patterns.
Although they are a basic design, with no lines or patterns to help soften the grip and improve traction. These grips perform surprisingly well at dampening trail vibration and keeping your hands secure.
- Extra chunky design.
- Easy to install.
- The compound is sticky, but these are not the best grips in wet conditions.
Weight: 80 Grams
Standard Grip Length: 130mm
No lock clamp
Ergon GA3 Handlebar Grips
Best For Ergonomics
The Ergon GA3 MTB grips give you a tactile feel thanks to their super-soft, UV stable rubber compound. The ergonomic wing design gives you added wrist support and relief from hand fatigue.
This teardrop design is not for pure mountain bikers, who like the freedom to twist their hands around the grip for added control. These grips are a very comfortable addition for trail riding, cross country, or MTB touring.
- Perfect ergonomics for added wrist support, without being too bulky.
- Excellent traction, even in wet conditions.
- Not very versatile for those used to the classic cylindrical grips.
Diameter: Avg. 30mm
Weight: 125g pair
CNC Aluminium clamps
Bontrager XR Trail Pro MTB Grip Set
Best For a Secure Fit
The Bontrager XR trail pro MTB grips benefits from a dual lock, keeping them securely fastened to your bars. The tread and rubber compound gives you control and comfort.
The unique finned pattern conforms to your hand and reduces trail vibration. While the Nylon Corelock clamps, one on either end, increases stability and removes the risk of stipping your handlebars.
These are secure and comfortable, designed for those looking to throw your MTB around, and need to have the confidence that your grips will keep you in total control.
- High quality
- The dual lock ensures a secure fit
- You get a lot of friction from the unique pattern, but they do feel soft and spongy compared to grips with thicker strips such as the PNW Components Loam Grip
Diameter: 31 mm
Standard Grip Length: 130mm
Clamp Style: Dual Nylon CoreLock clamp
Corki Double Lock MTB Grips
Best on a Budget
There are cheaper grips on the market, but unless you want them to erode in your hand on your first ride, it is worth spending a little more money. These rubber grips feature a double lock, keeping them secure on your bars (something unique at this price point).
Although not as durable as more expensive grips on the list, these grips’ rubber compound does not rub off onto your hand on the first use.
If you are looking for an upgrade or expect to use your MTB in wet conditions, you are best putting your hand in your pocket and getting a more robust and sticky grip (Such as the Bontrager XR Trail Pro MTB Grip Set).
- Dual lock
- Comfortable rubber compound
- Wide choice of colors
- Not enough friction in wet conditions
- You will have to replace these more often than other grips on the list
Weight: 110g per pair
Standard Grip Length: 130mm
Clamp Style: Dual lock clamps
Getting the best MTB grips is very important to your overall riding experience, especially if you plan to take your mountain bike out in the rain. If you buy cheap, expect to buy twice. Your grips are what connect you to your bike and allow you to have full control.
Cheap grips will not only wear out quicker, but you also risk them being utterly ineffective in wet conditions. Not just from the rain, but also sweat, especially if you are cycling without gloves.
Besides your saddle, you will have the most interaction with your grips out of all the parts on your MTB. Hundreds of designs, shapes, and sizes will fit your bars, try not to get too hooked up on aesthetics. You should pay close attention to the following three features when looking at what MTB grips are right for you.
The compound is what you are really paying for on the best MTB grips. If you have ever ridden a cheap mountain bike with thin rubber grips, you will know how annoying it is when you take your hands off and notice that it has come off all over your hands.
The most durable compounds will not rub off onto your hand, no matter how hard you thrash your MTB on the trails!
The best compounds are “sticky” without leaving unwanted residue on your hands or gloves after use. They give you enough friction to be in full control, without being so soft that they will crumble away in your hands.
PNW Components Loam Grips have discovered the perfect compromise with their “Happy Camper Compound.” It strikes a balance between ultra-soft (super comfortable, but can crumble and wear too quickly) and harder compounds (Not very comfortable, as they do not give any vibration dampening).
The pattern on grips is there to add more than just a pretty design. A good quality pattern will increase friction, allowing for superior handling and improved comfort by adding a thicker layer of rubber between your hands and the bumps on the trail.
Similar to the treads on your tires, companies take the R&D of their grip patterns very seriously. In reality, you will not notice a difference in performance, whether the design is a diagonal line or zigzag. The compound and thickness of the tread are more important.
You could opt for a grip without any pattern, such as the ESI GRIPS Extra Chunky Mountain Bike Grips. Keeping with the tire comparison, these are like riding on slicks. Expect less friction, especially in wet conditions!
Most grips will come in at a length of around 130mm, more than adequate for most people’s hands. If you have unusually large hands, you may have to look for something a little wider.
The larger the diameter, the better comfort you will get from your grips. Having a more substantial grip feels better in your hands and gives you more control over the bars.
The thicker the grip, the better they will be at dampening out the trail’s vibrations, saving your hands and wrists from fatigue if you are out on your bike all day.
Will All These Grips Fit My Handlebars?
Fortunately, all modern handlebars are made of similar dimensions, which means that the width of your bar does not restrict you to what kind of grip you can have. Slip-on grips may require a little hard work and coercion to install, rather than the modern lock clamp style grips.
How Do I Remove the Current Grips on My MTB?
If you already have grips with a lock clamp, it is your lucky day. You can simply undo the bolt and slide the grips right off.
Slip-on grips need a little more persuasion, especially if it has been a while since they were replaced and have become stuck. You can use a screwdriver or small knife covered in WD40 or GT85 to pry the grip from the bar. Be careful not to damage your bars; however, you do not have to be too precious as you are only going to cover that section up again with your new grips.
Are MTB Grips Easy to Install?
Most MTB grips will simply slip onto the ends of your bars. However, the traditional slip-on silicon grips may require a little more effort. Nowadays, they are being replaced by a new generation of lock-on grips.
A downside of the slip-on grips is that they tend to revolve around the bar, especially in wet conditions. The newer grips with lock clamps, secure the grips to your bars, ensuring that they do not rotate. The new lock clamp system also makes the grips simpler to remove. If you change your cockpit often, then the lock clamp grips added versatility would make your life a lot easier.
You can get double clamp grips for added security, such as the Bontrager XR Trail Pro MTB Grip Set. The addition of a second lock will not only make your grips more secure. It will also protect your bar ends from being ripped off in a crash.
Top tip: If you opt for the slip-on grips (such as the: ESI GRIPS Extra Chunky Mountain Bike Grips). Put hairspray inside the grip and on your bar before installation to prevent rotation and keep your grip secure.
How Often Should you Replace Your MTB Grips?
There is no defined shelf life for your MTB grips. However, you will notice when you are starting to lose traction, especially in wet conditions. A visual check will show you if the pattern has begun to wear, which is a good indication it is time to replace your grips.
You should not have to replace your grips more than once every six months. Of course, this depends on the quality of the compound on your grips. If you want to avoid replacing them every few months, it is worth investing in a high-quality grip built to last.
Do all Grips Come With Bar Plugs?
The best MTB grips will come with bar plugs, or at least come with a full cover that protects the end of your bars. The bar plugs are essential, especially if you end up crashing.
The bar plugs will protect you from further injury caused by the exposed bar ends, in addition to helping to protect your bars from damage (vital if you have carbon bars)
Top Tip: If you have lost your bar plugs, or your new MTB grips did not come with replacements. You can use a wine cork as a quick fix until you get some new ones.
I’ve spent way more time in the bike trade than anyone should reasonably want to. In that time I’ve wanted to make cycling jargon and marketing easier to cut through to help people get the bike of their dreams.
When I’m not writing about bikes, I can be seen out bikepacking on single speed bikes or teaching kids how to ride.