Mountain bike grips: everything about MTB handles

MTB handles are also called mountain bike grips. There are an incredible number of different types of MTB grips. From various sizes and patterns to colors and materials. In fact, there are even shock-absorbing handles. In this guide I tell you everything you need to know about MTB grips.

Features of MTB grips

The grips of a mountain bike are different from those of a road bike or a city bike. As I mentioned in the introduction, grips can be shock absorbing. Something that helps you a lot while mountain biking, but not when making kilometers on the asphalt. View below a number of characteristics of good MTB grips.

  • Offer a lot of grip
  • Are extra easy to confirm
  • Shock absorbing
  • Are there for different weather conditions
  • Provide comfort

Everyone has different hands. There is therefore no unequivocal answer to the question of what the best mountain bike grips are. However, in many cases they must meet the above factors. Whatever hands you have.

mount mountain bike grips
MTB handles are often easy to assemble. ©

Why good mountain bike grips are so important

For some reason, the grips of a mountain bike are not always seen as an important part. And that’s a shame, because a small upgrade can already provide a big improvement in comfort. Everyone has different hands. And that means that everyone can have their own preference for mountain bike grips. Grips are just as important as good MTB gloves.

If you have handles that do not match your driving style, hands and/or sitting position, this can result in complaints. For example, you can get cramps in your hands, pain in your wrists or tingling fingers. That is not only the only reason why the right handles are important.

For example, wrong or bad grips can lead to unsafe situations. You can lose control of the MTB handlebars in wet weather or even shoot your hands off the handlebars when you want to take a hit.

Factors that play a role when choosing MTB grips

But, what are the right MTB grips? The best choice doesn’t just depend on your hands. The weather conditions in which you often mountain bike also play an important role. And what about the underground? If you only drive on flat routes, you benefit less from a lot of grip than when you race off-road through stone gardens.

Ergonomic MTB grips

You have probably heard of ergonomic grips for a mountain bike. These handles are shaped and can provide more support for the hands. However, ergonomic MTB grips also have drawbacks. Because while they can provide more control over the handlebars, it can also result in tired wrists while mountain biking.

Different materials for handles

Mountain bike grips come in different materials. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, one material is very light, while the other material molds itself to your hands.

Rubber handles

The most common grips are made for rubber. When you buy a new mountain bike, grips made of this material are usually fitted as standard. With rubber handles have a long life and can take a beating. In addition, rubber is elastic and will, for example, tear less quickly.

mountain bike grips
Rubber MTB grips. ©

Silicone grips

If you are looking for lightweight grips, you will quickly end up with silicone grips. Silicone grips are very light and mold to your hands. As a result, they offer a lot of comfort while cycling. Well-known handles made of this material are ESIgrips, which are available in many different colors and thicknesses.

Foam mountain bike grips

Finally, there are also MTB grips made of foam. These handles are also very light, just like the silicone variants. You can squeeze nicely in these handles, because they are very soft. It is not smart to go for foam grips if you often mountain bike in the rain. The material is water-absorbent, so they act like a kind of sponge.

This not only reduces grip, but also allows them to slide off the handlebars. However, they are a lot cheaper than other materials.

Different attachments for mountain bike grips

It is very important that mountain bike grips stay on your handlebars. Under any circumstances. Fortunately, there are smart attachments that allow you to mount the handles properly and firmly on the handlebars. I list the various confirmations.

  • Lock on handles: the easiest attachment. These handles have a clamping band that you can screw on.
  • Slide on grips: these are simply slid over the handlebars.

Buying MTB grips: you should pay attention to this!

Are you looking for new handles after reading my guide? Then there are a number of things you should pay attention to. For example, not only the material and the fastening are important; also the size of the handles. I have listed the most important buying tips for you.

  • Choose the right material, take into account different weather conditions!
  • Go for mountain bike grips with a lot of grip.
  • Are you assured of a good confirmation? Then go for lock on handles!
  • Do you quickly suffer from pain in your hands? Then consider ergonomic MTB grips.
  • Pay attention to the right size*

* There are mountain bike grips in different sizes: from S to L. The right size depends on the circumference of your hand. It is best to measure your hand circumference by measuring your hand from the tip of your middle finger to the bend at the thumb.

Mountain bike grips size chart

Have you measured the correct size of your hand circumference? In the table below you will discover the correct size.

Hand CircumferenceMTB Grip size
< 13 centimetersSmall
13 – 14.5 centimetersMedium
>14.5 centimetersLarge

FAQ: frequently asked questions about MTB grips

What is the difference between rubber and silicone grips?

Mountain bike grips made of silicone mold to your hand, while rubber does not. In addition, silicone grips are also easier to keep clean. Rubber grips have a longer life.

Are lock on handles better than slide on grips?

Handles with a lock on attachment have a clamping ring that can be screwed on. This allows you to attach the handles more firmly than slide on handles; you slide this over the steering wheel.

Are foam grips a good choice?

There are many foam handles available. Foam is a great choice if you’re looking for lightweight, soft grips. However, foam is a less good choice if you often mountain bike in wet weather conditions. Foam has the property to absorb moisture.

What are the best mountain bike grips?

The answer to this question depends on your hands (hand circumference), your driving style and the weather conditions. Check out my buying tips on this page to discover the best mountain bike grips.

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