Mountain bike grips are an important part of bikes because this is where you gain control of the bike. It’s also the only part that you hold on to your bike for the longest time.
Many riders place little importance on their grips. Because they say, “it’s just a grip.”
Well, it is, but there’s more to this than just being a component where you hold onto.
That’s where all the specifications come in.
And one of the most common subject bikers love to talk about is the length of their grips.
So, what’s the average grip length? And how long should grips be?
That’s what this article is going to talk about.
Here, we’re going to discuss the different lengths ideal for each mountain biking discipline. We’ll also show you the pros and cons of having long or short grips.
Grip Length According to Bike Discipline
Cross-country bikes are the lightest kind of bike and are geared towards uphills and travelling across long distances for hours at end.
Trail bikes are made for the trails, obviously, and can do well both on uphills and downhills. They’re more for leisure. Then there are the enduro bikes which are race bikes made for extreme downhills, but are also capable of uphills thanks to their 1x and 12-speed drivetrains.
On the other side of the spectrum are the downhill bikes, which are made for the roughest of trails. They’re made for extreme mountain biking and going through seemingly impassable downhill trails.
So, where do the grips come to play here?
Cross-country bikes are made for uphills and covering distances. This means that it should be light, comfortable, and geared towards ensuring utmost pedaling efficiency and comfortable body position for the rider.
This is why cross-country bikes usually have shorter grips which measure around 100 mm to 120 mm. However, the 100 mm grips are more common with XC bikes.
It’s because these bikes don’t need to be capable of traversing technical trails, knowing that these need longer grips to make it easier to turn the bike around.
Shorter grips also make the bike more aerodynamic because there’s less rubber that creates air resistance when you’re riding on high speed fire roads. And although it doesn’t weigh much, the shorter grips also means lesser weight.
Take note that mountain bikers, especially those who ride cross-country, are very particular of weight. Many even call them weight weenies because of their obsession towards becoming as light as possible along with their bikes.
Trail bikes are designed for offroad and trail use. They work great on flat terrain, so this means that they’re neither great on uphills and downhills. This is why they have an average grip length of 100 to 120 mm.
Additional rubber is needed to make it easier for the rider to traverse technical trails. Take note that the hands usually shift when going around tight corners or going over some rocks and small roots.
But the thing is, these bikes are just made for leisure. They aren’t made for races or competition, so it’s safe to say that bikers who have trail bikes don’t place much importance on grip length.
They just get whatever grip they have as long as it’s comfortable to hold and provides enough grip on their hands.
Enduro bikes are just like downhill bikes, which is why they share many similar parts and components with their dowhill counterparts.
Enduro bikes are beefed up trail bikes made for racing. They can go through very rough and hard downhill trails, but they are still capable of climbing uphills because they have single-crown forks.
Hence, enduro bikes have longer average grip length of around 120 to 130 mm. They need these so that the rider can easily traverse technical sections of the trails. Fast turning and precise maneuvers are needed.
And in order to do this, you need to have enough space for your hands to move around. It might seem too particular, but that’s the way it is, especially if you’re riding hard and fast on downhill trails.
Most mountain bike grips for enduro are lock on grips. Lock on grips are ideal instead of grip shifters and push on grips or slide on grips that have soft rubber because these are more secure thanks to the locking bolts.
Downhill bikes have longer mountain grips, which spans around 120 to even 150 mm in length. This is needed because the rider should have as much control as possible from the bike.
Longer grips give this high level of control because the hands can move freely and adjust its positioning. This is important because your hands can move slightly once you land on the ground after hitting a jump or a drop.
Some of the best mountain bike grips are those made for downhill mountain bikes. They are handlebar grips that have a lock on grip design and larger diameter grip for maximum control while getting rid of the arm pump.
You also don’t need any aerodynamic flow because there’s just none of it when you’re riding steep downhill sections on rough trails with huge boulders and roots.
What you need is the skill and maneuvering efficiency to stay on your bike and go as fast as you can without crashing or falling off with the help of your mountain bike grip.
Benefits of Long Mountain Bike Grips
You have higher levels of control with longer grips because your hand can move freely. You can adjust your hand position whichever way you like so you can be more accurate with your cornering and turns.
You have a better grip with long mountain bike handlebar grips because you have more sticky rubber to hold on to. Rubber is great when it comes to providing enough grip to your hands. You need to hold tightly onto your bike to have a better riding experience.
Long grips means that your hands are more likely to stay stuck on the bars because there are lots of rubber grip you can hold on to.
What is the average mountain bike grips length?
The best mountain bike grips length is 130 mm. However, this varies depending on brand and discipline. Cross-country bikes usually have 100 mm grips, while enduro and downhill bikes go around 120 mm to 150 mm at the most.
There is no specific or right answer on how long should your grips be. You just need to know your riding discipline, riding style, and personal preferences to get the right one. But trust us, the best is to start on a 130 mm mountain bike grip and work your way from there.