Not thinking much about the grips on your mountain bike? Well, that might be a bigger deal than you think.
Bike grips are one of the three contact points you have with your bike, and they have a big impact on how skillfully you can maneuver your bike, especially on trails. A really good pair allows you to ride for hours without getting that ever-familiar hand strain.
So, yeah, they might be a bit boring to look at, but good grips are crucial if you want to land the best tricks and ride for hours on end pain-free, regardless of your biking style.
I’ve put in the hours and tested countless bicycle grips across dozens of mountain bikes and have whittled it down to the shortlist below of the best grips on the market nowadays.
At A Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Mountain Bike Grips
If you’re in a hurry, you can jump straight into our top picks (these are the mountain bike grips that most people buy).
- ODI Ruffians Top Pick
- Lizard Skins Moab Runner-up
- Ergon GE1 Evo Runner-up
Top 8 Best Mountain Bike Grips 2020 – Our Reviews:
1. ODI Ruffians
The ODI Ruffians are, in my opinion, one of the best all-around grips you can buy right now for your bike. They are insanely popular and for good reason.
These lock-on grips are super slim so they suit pretty much any type of hand. There is subtle knurling and waffling around the entire grips which provide added traction.
The Ruffian comes in two rubber types, soft and hard rubber compounds, so you’re sure to find something that suits you.
- Very comfortable, especially the soft rubber version
- Very durable
- Attractive design
- Outer lockring limits how much of the Ruffian’s you can actually grip
2. Lizard Skins Moab
The Lizard Skins Moab provides exceptionally good rubber grip, with or without gloves on and even if your hands are wet, which is one of the things that make them almost as popular as the ODI Ruffians.
Much like the Ruffians, the Lizard Skins also have a very low profile and have high-quality locked rings on either side, so good luck trying to spin them. These bad boys really stay in place, like they’re supposed to.
They feature a gorgeous arch pattern that pays homage to Utah’s Delicate Arch. The Lizard Skins also comes in a variety of colors but the most popular is a now-iconic striking bright red.
Lastly, the best part about this is that some proceed shares go to support the Moab Trails Alliance, a non-profit organization taking care of trails and expanding cycling opportunities in Grand County.
- Exceptionally good grip, with or without gloves
- Very high-quality lock rings
- Little vibration damping for your bike when riding
3. Ergon GE1 Evo
The Ergon GE1 Evo’s are German-engineered MTB grips and are easily one of the most comfortable slide-on grips you can buy right now. I used them for several hours in our tests and detected very little if any hand or arm strain.
This is mostly thanks to the thoughtful ergonomic slide on grips design that the Ergon GE1 Evo’s have to make sure that stress is taken off the body, and specifically the muscles, and goes a long way in reducing arm pump.
One of the things I really love about these Ergon grips is their shape that allows for a much wider area to place your hand when compared to competing MTB grips.
- Ergonomic shape allows for longer riding without pain or discomfort
- Wider area, especially for slide-on grips, for more freedom with gripping
- Due to the somewhat unique aesthetic, it takes some riders some time to get used to riding with them and some find it hard to get the angle right
4. DMR Deathgrip
The DMR Death grip mountain bike grips, much like the Ergon GE1 Evo, brings something truly new to the table.
For the Ergon, it was the ergonomic aesthetic, while for the Deathgrip, it’s combining a range of textures in one MTB grip, which includes ribs, knurling, and waffling.
As it turns out, there’s a lot of method to the madness. Each different texture on these single clamp lock-on grips actually serves a different purpose when you’re riding.
The result? A very effective, all-around single clamp mountain bike grip that allows for super comfortable riding as all the different textures work seamlessly together as you ride.
The grip comes in different thicknesses, with the most popular grips available being the 32mm diameter version and the 30.5mm version. There’s also the choice between flanged and non-flanged.
Of course, there’s a dazzling array of color choices to pick from.
- Several textures working together to provide an excellent grip
- Very good all-around single clamp MTB grip that works well despite your riding style
- Range of thickness choices for handlebars
- The several texture design takes some getting used to
- Not the best choice for small hands and that could be a dealbreaker for some
5. Deity Knuckledusters
The Deity Knuckledusters are very new school, cleverly combining a single lockring with an internal conical sleeve. This allows you to grip the mountain bike bar really well while letting you use the full width of grips—and that is simply impressive.
Each Deity Knuckleduster is primarily made of a TRC rubber compound which extends right the way to the end of the grips, so no awkward end plugs here.
They feature a waffle-like design on the bottom as well as a mushroom-like pattern. The combination of the two textures provides impressive comfort perfect for long riding sessions.
These MTB grips are 32mm in diameters so are best suited for those that have bigger mitts.
- Clever ergonomic design makes for exceptional handlebar grips
- Combination of textures for added comfort and improved grip
- Lots of sound damping for handlebars
- Best for bigger mitts
- Not suitable for those with smaller mitts, better for those with larger hands
- From our experience, the outside grips tend to get chewed up really quickly
6. ODI Elite Pro
Next up we have the ODI Elite Pro’s which are a really unique pair of MTB grips, but what makes them so different?
Well, they put markedly more rubber in your palm with quite a bit less on the underside of the grip where your fingertips usually lay.
You’re probably wondering what the point of this is. Well, it gives you the best of both worlds—fatter grips without all the added bulk that usually comes with it.
The grips feature a strong waffle pattern on the front which provides a very impressive solid grip despite it not combining textures and tread patterns like a lot of its rivals.
Often riders are put off by the Elite Pro’s price tag that’s slightly higher than the competition but hey, an Elite pair of MTB grips will understandably come at a bit of a price premium, right?
In the case of these grips, in my opinion, the price is worth it as the quality shows. The rubber is of a much higher quality than most grips we tested and the attention to detail on the grips was consistently high throughout.
- Very good, strong handlebar grips
- Fat grip without the added bulk
- Large number of color options
- More expensive than competitors
7. Race Face Half Nelson
Up until now all of the MTB grips we’ve reviewed have been for large or regular-sized mitts, but those of you with slightly smaller hands, you haven’t been forgotten and will not have to endure subpar grips. Enter, the Race Face Half Nelson grips.
These grips have a diameter of 28 mm which makes them ideal for those with smaller hands.
Thankfully, the smaller size doesn’t come at the expense of an inferior grip. The Half Nelson’s provided excellent, firm grip in our tests in multiple environments, including when our mitts were wet.
Their firm grip is even more impressive due to the fact that they have very little texture to them. No intense waffling or knurling here.
- Small diameter, excellent for small hands
- Excellent, firm silicone grips
- Strong, durable hard plastic end cap lock rings
- Provides very little vibration damping on handlebars
- Minimal choice of colors which could be a deal-breaker for some
8. Oury Lock On
Last, but by no means least, we have the Oury Lock Ons.
They provide an exceptionally solid grip while having a compound that is surprisingly soft but without being overly squishy. They seemed to have nailed the compromise between softness and grip quality, and we like it.
I used this lock-on grip for a considerable time during tests and detected little to no twisting and very little fatigue, even after a while riding.
The Oury grips are very much the opposite to the Half Nelsons reviewed above, in that these rubber grips are best suited for those with bigger hands due to their thick diameter.
- Very good lock-on grip quality on handlebars
- Soft compound lock-on grips
- Absorbs a lot of vibration
- Only really suited for those with big hands
So, there you have it guys. After dozens of hours of testing the products, I’ve provided a detailed breakdown of what I deem to be the best MTB grips you can buy right now.
Whether you want a pair with heavy and detailed texture for your mountain biking adventures like the Death Grips, or ones with minimal textured detailing like the Ruffians.
There’s something for those with smaller hands too, namely the Race Face Half Nelsons, or for those with bigger mitts, for whom we recommend the Oury Lock On’s.
If you’re not worried about using the whole surface area of the grip, then the ODI Ruffians would suit you fine, but if you insist on wanting to use the entire grip then we recommend the Deity Knuckledusters.
Overall, all of the grips in the shortlist above offer a solid, reliable grip that will keep you mountain biking for hours, doing tricks you couldn’t before, and all without any hand fatigue or arm pain. I’m confident you’ll find what you’re looking for in this list of best grips and hope it’s one of the better reviews you’ve read.
If you’d still want to check out other brands or models though, I recommend ESI Chunky. ESI Chunky grips are lock-on grips advertised as the thickest on the market and are definitely a good choice for adventurous bikers taking on extra tough trails.