1. Best overall
11. Best wet weather
As one of the three key contact points a rider has with their mountain bike, grips may seem like a small thing but they're actually incredibly important. Investing in the best MTB grips will not only help you to hang on to your handlebars for dear life on white-knuckle descents and sprints, but they also offer superior hand-grip while guiding your bike through winding singletrack and over rocks and jumps.
Just like the best mountain bike saddles and best mountain bike shoes, everybody has their preference when it comes to the best MTB grips, and what suits someone who has small hands isn't going to be comfortable if you have big hands.
Our experts have tested how a range of the best MTB grips handle in both wet and dry conditions, assessing their texture, grip, size, price, and durability. Scroll down for our complete round-up. The ODI Reflex came out as our best overall grip, closely followed by the super-sticky Gusset S2 Extra Soft Compound grip.
There is a lot of choice when it comes to grips, so if you're not sure what you're looking for, skip to the bottom of the page where we explain how to choose the best MTB grips for you.
Best MTB grips
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The quick list
Best MTB grip overall
The multi-faceted design leads to a great all-round performance with the perfect mix of grip, shock absorption, and comfort.
Best super-sticky MTB grip
Excellent grip with a very tacky compound and zoned control features, and at a good price.
Best eco-friendly MTB grip
Fat, super-tacky, high control grip made using 100 percent recycled rubber.
Best for comfort
Best MTB grip for comfort
A comfy high-end grip with plenty of padding that works well for long-distance trail cruising.
Best super-soft compound
Best super-soft compound MTB grip
The ultra tacky compound gives excellent wet or dry grip, and it comes in nine different colors.
Best narrow profile
Best narrow profile MTB grip
A classic, slim-profile grip, and the soft compound version eliminates the breaking-in period.
See the next 9 grips ↓
Best ergonomic MTB grip
Made from a hard-wearing grip material, and with an ergo shape to reduce arm pump.
Best lightweight MTB grip
A silicone tube that's lightweight, offers plenty of vibration damping, durability, and heaps of purchase even when wet.
Best for big hands
Best MTB grip for big hands
Great for bigger mitts with a thick diameter, and the grippy compound absorbs plenty of trail buzz.
Best for small hands
Best MTB grip for small hands
The small diameter is great for miniature mitts, and the super tacky compound gives a firm grip.
Best wet weather
Best wet weather MTB grip
The low profile but sticky pattern offers good grip, even in the soaking rain without gloves.
Best directional grip
Best MTB grip for directional grip
With an ultra tacky compound and directional ridges that make a noticeable difference in grip.
Best multi-pattern MTB grip
Varying patterns, including ribs, knurling and waffling, are matched to your hand's anatomy.
Best color range
Best MTB grip for color range
With a tapered ergo design, and available in enough colors to match any bike.
Best mushroom texture
Best mushroom texture MTB grip
With an ergo shape and a ribbed mushroom texture throughout for increased control.
1. Best overall
ODI's Reflex combines the best parts of the brand's wide catalog of grips. The key aim is comfort, which ODI sets out to achieve with three different areas of the grip, all using its proprietary grip compound to offer superior damping properties and longevity. The main upper part of the grip uses a raised section that sits under your hands, the lower section incorporates a wider ribbed area designed to help improve grip and lessen arm pump, and there's a waffle section closest to the brake lever.
In our testing we were very impressed with the ODI Reflex grips. We found the waffle section is just the right size and offers a good compromise of having just enough squish without being vague feeling, and the padded top section was firm and comfortable, and made a difference to the amount of arm pump we were getting.
Check out our ODI Reflex grips review for more detail.
2. Best super-sticky
If you're looking for a soft compound grip, the Gusset S2 Extra Soft is an excellent option that uses a very tacky VEXK3 compound for great performance in the wet and cold, as well as other riding conditions. An eccentric design puts more rubber under your palm for cushioning, and the diamond ‘tread’ pattern is also bigger here to add some more damping. Ribs and a smaller file pattern enhance fingertip grip when pulling on the bars.
While we rate the Extra Soft version, Gusset also offers a Standard S2 version that has a harder wearing rubber, but all the same features.
Want more detail? Check out our Gusset S2 Extra Soft Compound grip review for more.
3. Best eco-friendly
Grip powerhouse ODI joined forces with Bjorn Bikes to produce an eco-friendly grip that uses 100 percent recycled offcuts from ODI’s United States factory, giving a super soft, tacky and damped grip feel with less impact on the environment. The blocked profile and extra material depth adds extra grip and reduces vibrations traveling into the palms, whilst leaving the thinner sections under the fingers to provide more precise feedback.
The good level of trail damping does come at a little sacrifice in weight, and the larger 31mm grip diameter might be too big for those with smaller hands.
We've tested the ODI Bjorn grips, so check out the review if you want to read more.
4. Best for comfort
The Dread Lock grip looks simple, with a smooth profile and a gently contoured surface, but it is a well-thought-out, comfortable alternative for XC and long-distance riders. It's an offset design, so there is more padding on the top section of the grip for improved vibration damping, with a thinner area underneath that features ergonomic finger cutouts. They use ODI’s AIRE compound, which is a foam that has similar properties to a foam silicone grip but is harder wearing while still being soft to the touch.
In our tests we found the simple shape and soft-feeling foam compound made for a very comfortable setup. They didn't feel as big and bulky as we'd initially feared, partly due to them being offset so your fingers aren't stretching around the grip but also because the grip compresses a small amount when riding. They've lasted well and are far more robust than a classic foam grip.
For more detail, check out our ODI Dread Lock grips review.
5. Best super-soft compound
The PNW Loam grips come in lots of color options so you can match them to your bike. They feature tapered sleeves, which help them to tap into place securely once you lock in, and they have a slight flair against the clamp. The ribbed tread features multiple chevrons towards the inside of the grips, while the outer is ridged at an angle.
They're made from an ultra tacky compound called 25a Duro 'Happy Camper', which offers excellent grip and stiction. In the hand they feel relatively firm, compared to a fully mushroom-style grip, but they offer all the support you need when you're rallying hard.
Read more of our thoughts on the PNW Loam grips within the wider components review.
6. Best narrow profile
Easily one of the most popular MTB grips on the market, the ODI Ruffian is a lock-on grip you will find on many gravity rider's bars. The slim profile suits a wide range of hand sizes, and once they're bolted on, they will remain play-free for many moons. The rubber sees light knurling and waffling on the underside for added traction.
ODI offers the Ruffian in soft- and hard-rubber compounds. Although the soft compound doesn't last quite as long as its firm cousin, it’s still hard-wearing and doesn't have the breaking-in period that can leave you with sore palms.
7. Best ergonomic
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 cutout skeleton and a unique shape, the GE1s 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.
8. Best lightweight
Arizona-based ESI was the first brand to make silicone foam grips and has inspired copycat versions from most other grip makers. Basically, the ESI is a silicone tube that's lightweight, offers plenty of vibration damping, durability, and heaps of purchase even when wet.
ESI makes them in a range of shapes, though we tend to prefer the Chunky version. With a slightly ovalized form, the 32mm of padding seems to offer the right balance between damping, comfort and bar control.
9. Best for big hands
With big, deep soft rubber lugs, the Oury 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. Lizard Skins offers customization options, allowing you to choose the bar end style, collar color, and even engrave a message into the colors. Better still, the old-school aesthetic suits everything from a rigid single-speed to a long-travel charger.
10. Best for small hands
At 29mm 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 channeling 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.
11. Best wet weather
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. They provide 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, and the only downside comes in the form of the minimal vibration damping.
12. Best directional grip
Available in a range of compounds, Renthal's Traction grips use ridges that are spaced into zones to accommodate your fingers. The back of each ridge has a square edge, to increase grip when wrenching back on the bars, while the front edge lays flat so as not to dig into your palm. Renthal says its 'Ultra Tacky' compound continually produces and renews a sticky-surface coating.
With the directional nature of the ridges, they are left and right specific, and getting the angle just right to match your hands in the attack position can take a bit of time.
13. Best multi-pattern
Designed by Brendan Fairclough and Olly Wilkins, the DMR Deathgrip has been created for everything from all-mountain to downhill use. With a mixture of ribs, knurling and waffling, the Deathgrip is a single-clamp lock-on grip that combines a selection of rubber 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 riders out there, they are also available in a fully 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 fully onto your bars
14. Best for color range
Made using the Deity TRC rubber compound, the Knuckledusters offer support and grip for both your palm and fingers. If you ride with your hands out on the end of the grip, you'll appreciate the rubber extending over the end.
Measuring about 32mm in diameter, they are on the larger end of the spectrum and come in enough colors to match any bike.
15. Best mushroom texture
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.
A unique feature is that the sleeve interfaces with the lock-ring using two prongs to eliminate any play, while a single lock-on helps improve comfort on the outside of the hand.
How to choose the best MTB grips
Why do I need handlebar grips for my mountain bike?
The best MTB grips have a range of important functions to improve your riding experience. A decent, sticky set of grips will make sure you keep a good hold on your handlebars on fast descents, whatever the weather, and give you superior control through tricky terrain. Grips can also make your ride more comfortable, with various models providing shock absorption and reducing arm pump.
What are lock-on grips?
Lock-on grips have hard plastic with a rubber grip molded around it. As the name suggests, they slide onto your bars with ease and are held in place by clamping 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. However, even with the rubber coating around the inner sleeve, lock-on grips aren't as forgiving as their slip-on cousins.
What are slide-on grips?
Slide-on grips are made entirely of rubber or silicone and usually offer a more plush feel and vibration damping, 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 it, as there will likely be an expletive or two uttered with gusto.
Are all MTB grips the same size?
Grips vary in shape from perfectly round tubes to ovalized 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.
However regardless of which shape you opt for, there are varying measurements that you'll need to be aware of when buying some new MTB grips.
Usually grip width is measured in diameter, and this tells you what size/thickness they'll have, which is useful to know if you have particularly big or small hands. It tends to range between 25-40mm, with most coming in around 30-32. The diameter width indicates the kind of performance you'll get from them as well. For example, thicker grips will provide a more plush, comfortable ride due to the enhanced vibration damping they'll likely provide. However, their larger size will also likely cause a bit more strain on your hands while gripping them, which could cause them to fatigue sooner. Meanwhile more narrow grips won't be so cushy, but they'll offer the best grip and control because they're essentially easier to get your hands around.
As you might have guessed, this is the measurement for how long the MTB grips are, from end to end. They tend to range between 128-140mm in length, with 130-135mm being the average size. This is useful to know if you're swapping out some old grips but really like the current positioning of your brake levers and shifters. Measuring the length of the exposed handlebar (or previous grips) will tell you what you need to look for.
Why do MTB grips come with different textures?
Some grips are totally smooth such as ESI's silicone grips, while others have deep grooves, some even verging on tread-like, 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 tires, 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.
What's wrong with the grips that came with my MTB?
There's nothing wrong with them per se, so there's no reason to immediately swap them out when you get a new bike, unless you know that you want a specific kind of performance. The grips that come with most mountain bikes tend to be quite basic and they'll always wear out eventually. At some point or another, you're going to need to buy some more.
When will my MTB grips need replacing?
There's no clear-cut answer for this, as it will all depend on how often and how hard you ride your bike. All MTB grips will wear out eventually, and you'll know when yours are nearing their end because the rubber will become so sticky it starts to attract dirt. The grippy texture – or 'tread' – will wear away and become less prominent, and in some cases the grips might even tear.
It's not just about wear and tear though; if you're experiencing discomfort in your hands while you ride, whether it's sore spots, hot spots, numbness or tingling, or you're developing blisters or calluses, then you should try a new pair.
If I have MTB grips, do I also need MTB gloves?
While the answer to this is technically no, if you're riding on trails, or any kind of terrain that's challenging, it's always sensible to wear a pair of the best mountain bike gloves. Not only will they protect the skin on your palms in the event of a crash, but gloves will improve your grip when things get damp or sweaty. Many of them are armored specifically to pad the most vulnerable parts of your hands, so it's a very good idea to wear a pair.
How we test MTB grips
We ensure to run the grips we're testing for as long as possible (at least several months) in a range of riding conditions to see how they perform in different weather/temperature/trail scenarios. We've also run many of the best grips here to total destruction in long term tests and our own personal bikes.