Best mountain bike grips

Renthal Traction Ultra Tacky grips
(Image credit: Renthal)

Grips are one of three contact points a rider has with a mountain bike. You hang on for dear life on white-knuckle descents and sprints, and use them to guide your bike through winding singletrack and over rocks and jumps.

Just like shorts and shoes, everybody has their preference when it comes to grips, and what suits someone who wears a children's size large glove isn't going to be comfortable for another person who can palm a watermelon. 

Scroll down for a few of our favourite MTB grips.

 1. Lock on vs Slide on

Lock-on grips have hard plastic with a rubber grip moulded around it. As the name suggests they slide on to your bars with ease and are held in place by clapping lock rings — some only have one, others have two. Because you bolt them on, they offer a high level of security, and it takes a hell of a lot of force to make them slip. Even with the rubber coating around the inner sleeve, lock-on grips aren't as forgiving as their slip-on cousins.

Push on grips are made entirely of a rubber or silicone foam and usually offer a more plush feel and vibration dampening because they are in direct contact with the bar. To actually get them on your bars, you'll need hairspray, rubbing alcohol or an air compressor — make sure there are no children present when doing so as there will likely be an expletive or two uttered with gusto.

 2. Shape and texture

Grips vary in shape from perfectly round tubes to ovalised cylinders, and some even have supportive wings. Round grips seem to be more responsive, while broad flat surfaces help to spread pressure over a wider surface area and are more comfortable for some.

Some grips are totally smooth such as ESI's silicone grips, while others have deep grooves, some even verging on tread-like the Oury Lock-Ons. Channels cut into the grip help to move moisture mud and sweat away from your hands, though riders who regularly wear gloves tend to prefer smaller, less aggressive 'tread patterns.'

Just like tyres, the rubber compound plays a role in grip and durability. When brands use words such as 'sticky' or 'ultra tacky' to describe their grips, they will offer good purchase but these compounds tend not to be very hard-wearing. 

Best overall

(Image credit: Marque)

Marque Grapple

Lock-on grips in ten great colors

Marque's lock-on grips have a unique multidirectional grip pattern, which help you maintain full control to handle your bike confidently in all conditions. Thanks to alloy locking rings, they’re firmly secured in place, and will work with most handlebars with an outer diameter of 20-23mm.

Their tacky TPR rubber gives great shock absorption which helps prevent arm fatigue, letting you stay out for longer. The Grapples are available in ten different color and pattern options, so you can find the perfect match for your bike.


Ergon GE1 Evo grips

(Image credit: Ergon)

Ergon GE1 Evo

German engineering at its finest

A noticeably less radical design than the Ergon's GP1, the GE1 grips have an ergonomic design to take some of the stress off the muscles used for grip to reduce arm pump. With several compounds through a cut-out skeleton and a unique shape, create a wide contact area for your hand. 

Ergon also says angling the outer portion of the grip helps to gently remind you to ride with your elbows out; we're a little bit dubious of this claim. It can take a few rides to get the tilt just right but, when you do, the grips will leave you with happy, pain-free palms.

Large diameter

Oury Lock-on grips

(Image credit: Oury)

Oury Lock-on

Best for those with big hands

With big deep soft rubber lugs, the Ouray Lock-on grips eat trail buzz like seagulls eat chips, and the knobby blocks stick to your hand like velcro. The compound is soft, but not so squishy it twists or causes hand fatigue. 

With a reasonably thick diameter, they suit bigger mitts, and replacement clamps are available from ODI. Better still, the old school aesthetic suits everything from a rigid single-speed to a long-travel charger.


Race Face Half Nelson grips

(Image credit: Race Face)

Race Face Half Nelson

Best for pint-sized hands

At 28mm in diameter, the Half Nelson grips are pretty small and ideal for those with miniature mitts. Race Face doesn't use any ergo shaping and the exterior sees minimal channelling or knurling, save for the logo.

The grips feel firm, due in part to minimal rubber around the inner sleeve, but the compound is tacky, even when wet. Make sure you check the torque on the lock-ring bolts because they can move if you don't crank them down. 

Ultra grippy

Lizard Skins Moab grips

(Image credit: Lizard Skins)

Lizard Skins Moab

Like Slickrock for your hands

The pattern on the Lizard Skins Moab is actually a print of Utah's Delicate Arch, paying homage to the mountain bike heaven after which they are named. These grips provides pretty good grip too, even in the soaking rain without gloves.

With lock-rings on either end, they stay firm despite your best efforts to spin them, the only downside comes in the form of minimal vibration dampening.

Best fit

DMR Deathgrip grips

(Image credit: DMR)

DMR Deathgrip

The party mix of MTB grips

With a mixture of ribs, knurling and waffling, the DMR Deathgrip are a single-clamp lock-on grip that combines all your favourite patterns in one. The ribs around the forefinger and thumb provide a comfortable platform on the inside while waffling down below adds some grip for your fingertips – knurling supports the heel of your hand. 

For the BMX Bandits among us, they are also available with a flanged version. Be aware, the Deathgrips have a tapered core, so you'll need to tap the end with a rubber mallet to get them full onto your bars

Staff pick

Fabric Magic Grip

(Image credit: Fabric)

Fabric Magic Grip

Best for those who like ergo-shaped grips

Developed in collaboration with the 50To01 crew, the Magic Grip is an ergo grip with a ribbed ‘mushroom’ texture throughout. Measuring 32mm in diameter at the widest point, the ribs are supportive enough that they don't immediately deform when you give them a squeeze – offering impressive comfort, too.

The claim is unique in that the sleeve interfaces with the lock-ring using two prongs to eliminate any play, and the single lock-on eliminates the pressure point on the outside of the hand.

Best for kids

(Image credit: U-Joy)

U-Joy handlebar grips

Multiple color options

U-Joy handlebar grips can be used on either childrens’ or adults’ bikes, though we think they're great for kids because of their fun and bright color options. It’s the perfect way to give your kid's bike a fresh new look that matches their personality.

The grips themselves are pretty basic, with a traditional deep-set tile grip pattern, but they offer enough cushioning for comfortable hands, big or small, making for a great day out on the bike.

Colin Levitch
Freelance writer

Born and bred in Colorado, and now based in Australia, Colin comes from a ski racing background and started riding as a way to stay fit through the summer months. His father, a former European pro, convinced him to join the Colorado State University collegiate cycling team, and he hasn't stopped since. It's not often he pins on a number nowadays, and you'll likely find him in search of flowy singletrack, gravel roads and hairpin corners. Colin has worked at Bikeradar and is a regular contributor to Australian Mountain Bike and Cyclist magazines. 

Rides: BMC Team Machine SLR01, Trek Top Fuel 9, Ibis Ripley