How Do I Choose Handlebar Grips?

Mountain biking isn’t just about riding your bike and heading your way to your destination.

It’s also about choosing the right parts and components that will complement your riding style and personal preferences.

One of the most important parts to consider when building a bike are the grips.

The grip is the area that you hold onto your bike. This means that it should be comfortable and efficient in providing enough grip so that you can comfortably and efficiently ride your bike without falling off.

So, what are the things you need to consider when choosing one?

Read on to find out.

Diameter

The first thing to consider is the inside diameter of the grips. The common measurement is around 25 to 30 mm.

But most modern grips are measured with a 30 mm inner diameter. This ensures a proper fit between different handlebar brands, brake levers, and drivetrain shifters, knowing that they’re all installed on the handlebar.

It is also rare to find a grip that has a different diameter than this given range as most handlebars now have diameter measurement of 30 mm. But take note that there are also some handlebars that have a diameter of 35 mm, just like the Renthal Fatbar.

Length

Grip length is another consideration to make. It’s about getting that right enough space for your hands to move freely across the bar.

Cross-country bikes usually have shorter mountain bike grips so that their hands are less likely to move and are locked in place. This is helpful during climbs where you need to gain momentum by minimizing unnecessary body movements such as your hands.

Grip length on mountain bikes varies because enduro and downhill bikes have longer lengths. Nonetheless, the length measurement goes from 100 mm to 150 mm at the most.

There are also many riders who always slide their hands outward or inward when traversing rough trails.

Just find a length that works for your size and distance from your brakes and shifter. It’s all about riding comfortably and letting your index finger rest while you also control the brake lever.

Channeling

Channeling is another important consideration because this is where control depends on. This is more about the texture and pattern of the mountain bike grips so that the sweat coming from your hands won’t accumulate and put your hands at risk of sliding.

It’s best you choose friction style foam grips because these have open channels so that it can easily get rid of water and allow you to hold securely on the bars.

Most ergonomic grips that have a very smooth texture are very slippery when wet, especially if you have very sweaty hands or if you usually ride on muddy trails or while raining. But the smooth rubber grips or dual compound grips are more comfortable to hold on long distances.

Lock-on vs slip-on grips

There are two main kinds of grips, lock-on grips and slip-on grips. Lock-on grips have a bolt that you need to screw to install on your bars.

What’s great about these lock-on grips compared to the slip-on is that they are more secure and have a very low chance of slipping off your bars. This is because they are locked in by screws on your handlebar.

The first lock-on grips to appear had two rings on both ends. However, this has changed as more grip manufacturers started making grips that only have one ring on the side of the grip. This reduces the internal diameter and outer grip diameters range and creates a more snug fit.

On the other hand, slip-on mountain bike grips, which are also known as foam grips, silicone grips, and slide-on grips, are cheaper and are easier to install on your bike.

These are also referred to by many as traditional grips. They are called traditional grips because they are the first kind of handlebar grips in the market. Simply plug them straight onto your bars via the hole on their center, and you’re done.

Durometer

The durometer is also an important thing to consider when choosing bike grips. This measures how hard or soft the material used for the grips are.

However, most grip manufacturers don’t normally list the durometer measurement, but it’s usually around a 60a rating.

What’s also important to note is that the design and texture of the grips can affect the looks and impression of the rubber of the ergonomic grips whether it is soft or hard. This makes it hard to identify the durometer rating.

Brand

Some might say that taking the brand into consideration isn’t necessary. Well, it can be sometimes. But the brand is usually where you can determine the quality of a bike component.

Well-known brands like Renthal, Ergon, and RaceFace are some of the best brands when it comes to mountain bike components including grips.

Although they might come at a price. They’re totally worth it because they are made of high-quality materials, got pleasing looks, and ensures durability above anything else.

Price

Don’t settle for cheap grips. It might seem nice to buy an affordable grip that is less than the price of the branded ones. But there’s a good chance that they’re not as good when it comes to quality compared to the more expensive ones.

Don’t let price be the main determining factor of your choice, though. Just include it as a wise thing to consider when choosing one. It’s better to buy an expensive grip that lasts for years than a cheap grip that only lasts for a few months, or worse, weeks.

Riding discipline

Know your preferred riding discipline so you can choose the right grips that are perfect for the terrain you’re riding.

Softer slip-on grips are ideal if you are just going to ride for leisure or exercise. These are very comfortable but aren’t that secure when you ride on rougher trails. Shorter grips are better for cross-country, while long mountain bike grips are ideal for enduro and downhill.

Conclusion

Don’t just choose any grip out there for your bike. This is a very important component that you shouldn’t disregard.

It is where your control, safety, and maneuverability depend on. So, you better choose the right one for your riding style and purpose. When you do, then you’ll have an even better time riding your bike in the great outdoors.

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AUTHOR
Jomar Teves
A writer by day, a tech enthusiast by night, and a mountain biker at the weekends. After four years in business school and working for multinational clients, Jomar believes he can improve the world through his writings. Jomar has six years of experience as a writer and has a degree in entrepreneurial marketing. Some of his works have been published on Blokt, Clutch Points, and iTech.