It’s easy to get too caught up in how many carbon parts you have and what tires you bought not so long ago (and probably need replacing). But we tend to forget that we interact with the grip throughout 99% of mountain bike riding. A set of good grips will keep your hands in their place, reduce the effects of vibrations and make your ride all the more comfortable. Here are our top 5 choices of the year, which do just that!
Note – We have excluded foam grips from this list as while they are lightweight and can feel comfortable in the dry, they become dangerously slippy in the wet and break apart much more easily with time and crashes.
A solid ergonomic grip without any funky or oddly shaped patterns. The Ergon GA2 allows your hands nestle into just the right spot as soon as you touch it. The grip is soft (and quite smooth) without gloves on. However, this smoothness isn’t as advantageous when your hands are sweaty as it can get a bit slippery when exposed to moisture. With that in mind, it’s still a great ergonomic fit that effectively minimizes hand fatigue on most trails. The compound they have chosen also gives a lot of damping comfort (bearing in mind the thickness), which allows you to feel more in control through less strain on your forearms. It is also worth noting that as well as being avaliable from chainreaction and wiggle, these grips are also avaliable with next day delivery from Amazon and were voted ‘Amazon’s Choice’ through the number of positive reviews.
The Renthal is slick, simple and coated with the stickiest rubber in the industry. Built with the primary intention of being as grippy as a grip can possibly be it also damps vibrations very well. These grips use stainless steel bolts and end caps and have forward-facing finger ridges, along with back-facing palm ridges. Additionally, these were a top choice for 4x riders who wanted to have a maximum pull grip in gate starts. The Renthal Traction UltraTacky serves this purpose perfectly, with its unbeatable (but fast wearing) rubber compound and bidirectional ridges, which makes it one of the go to race day grips for many riders. Buy on wiggle [US]
The most instantly noticeable (and probably the best) thing about the Elite Flow is the defined waffle pattern with anchors on the underside. This seems to be the best done of all the waffle pattern grips we’ve tried – and certainly adds an extra dose of confidence to your grip, making it feel much more reassuring. Furthermore, the internal strips of sticky rubber create more friction on the bar. This will stop it from twisting and will keep the grips in place in spite of the end cap only being tensioned by a machine screw at one end. At each end, there is a small (but barely noticeable at a glance) flange surrounding durable plastic caps that allow you to lean against it a lot more comfortably than you would against a hard aluminum ring, preventing blisters and creating a more comfortable all round grip. The user of plastic furthermore makes this grip the lightest on here (if small savings make a difference to you). Buy on Chainreactioncycles
The aim of the DeathGrip’s design was to create a grip that goes well with just about any bike. The ‘Kraton’ compound combined with ‘Classic Knurl’ pattern makes it the perfect all-weather grip. Your hands will keep reliably stuck to it no matter how wet they are. This thick waffle is great to pull back on big gaps and helps offer rest for fatigued hands, suiting a slightly looser grip. The grip fits your thumb in comfortably and the mushroom pattern is soft and malleable. Beyond the (debatably) slightly ugly flanges, we couldn’t find any downsides to this well developed and refined grip. Buy on Chainreactioncycles
Chromag Palmskin grips (best with no gloves)
The Chromag Palmskin is easily the best grip for gloveless riders. The soft and ribbed full mushroom surface adds extra comfort by deforming around your hand as you grab the grip. Its ridges channel moisture away, eliminating one of the greatest enemies that all grips face. If you’re looking to use these with a pair of gloves, use the thinnest you can find. Additionally, the ribbing will allow your hand to float above the handlebar a touch better than with any other grips out there. So if you’re looking to go for some pleasant, precise but cushioned gloveless trail riding, look no further than the Chromag Palmskins. Buy on Chainreactioncycles