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Best MTB grips 2022: Comfort, control and cool colours

Looking to boost comfort and control on your MTB? A new set of handlebar grips are a cheap and easy upgrade

Handlebar grips are one of the most crucial contact points between you and your bike. Choosing the best MTB grips for your style of riding and your hands can give you greater control over your bike, improve comfort and ensure a grippy, tactile connection to your machine in even the worst conditions.

Best of all, a new set of grips is one of the simplest upgrades you can make as they’re cheap and very easy to fit, yet it’s a change that can have a huge effect on how much you enjoy using your bike – and how it feels to ride. Here we’ll discuss how to pick the best MTB grips for you and suggest some of our favourite grips to suit every rider.

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The best MTB grips: At a glance

How to choose the best MTB grips for you

What type of grips are best for me?

This is a tricky question. Some people get on better with thicker grips, some with thinner. Some like them squishy, while others prefer something firmer. While most of this comes down to personal preference, smaller hands tend to suit thinner grips while big hands are better suited to thicker ones.

If you suffer with pain from vibration, thicker or ergonomic grips can sometimes help. That said, grips that are too thick for your hands can actually cause more discomfort, so there’s no guaranteed cure other than trying some different grips and seeing which suits you best.

It’s also worth considering your handlebar position when it comes to hand pain or discomfort. Most MTBs these days have riser bars with a given amount of backsweep and upsweep, and this means that rolling the bars a few millimetres forwards or backwards can dramatically change how evenly your weight is borne by your hands.

Which features should I look out for?

Lock-on collars: Most grips now lock into place using a metal collar on one or both ends. A rigid plastic inner sleeve inside the grip then allows them to slide easily into place before being secured via a small Allen key. In the old days, grips were made in one piece and had to be floated on using a solvent, which made them prone to coming loose in wet weather. Despite the increased cost and weight, the collar system is a drastic improvement. However, if you like to hang your hands over the end of the bar, look for a design with an inner collar only; otherwise, you’ll be in for an uncomfortable time.

Texture: Most grips will offer some kind of surface texture to improve traction. This is particularly important when it rains. Close-knit textures can feel nice under your hands but will wear out quicker than more chunky patterns. Many grips mix things up with one pattern on top for your palms and another on the underside to aid grip.

Diameter: You can try and match this to your hands, but personal preference also plays a part. Small hands often suit narrow diameter grips, but plenty of big-handed riders like them too. Generally, thinner grips give you a feeling of direct connection to the bike. However, as they don’t provide much depth of rubber, they can be harsher than fatter models.

Material: Different materials significantly impact the feel of your grips. Are they soft and squishy? Or hard and more prone to transmitting vibrations? Do they provide adequate traction? Or get slippy with the addition of rain or sweat? Brands sometimes use the same formulas across their products, but others vary it from model to model. It’s worth considering a grip with a sticky or “tacky” compound if you like to ride without gloves, as some grips can become dangerously slippery with sweaty hands.

How much do I need to spend?

You can find a great pair of MTB grips for under £10, and you can potentially spend as much as £30. Assuming they don’t wear out too quickly, there’s little reason to claim that paying more gets you something life-changingly better.

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The best MTB grips to buy in 2022

1. DMR Death Grips MTB Grips: Best all-round grips

Price: £23 | Buy now from Chain Reaction Cycles

We’re big fans of these grips designed by none other than MTB legend Brendan “Brendog” Fairclough.

These models mix three distinct textures without looking or feeling overdesigned. The central part employs a tried-and-tested diamond knurl, while horizontal ribs underneath give your fingers something to cling to. Finally, around the inside is an inch of finned “mushroom” texture and you can take your pick between flanged and flangeless versions, depending on your preference.

They fit easily and lock on securely thanks to the inner locking collar. At 135mm in length, they come in thick or thin diameters. Available in a massive range of colours, you should have no trouble finding a combo you like.

Key specs – Overall length: 134mm; Usable length: 124mm; Locking collars: Single; Diameter: 29.8 or 31.3mm; Other features: Multiple compounds available

Buy now from Chain Reaction Cycles

2. Santa Cruz House MTB Grips: Great MTB grips for all kinds of riding

Price: £20 | Buy now from Stif Cycles

Santa Cruz’s House grips come in two thicknesses and a ton of colours. The design feels great, too: using a medium-soft compound and an all-over diamond pattern with quite a pronounced texture, the underside of the grip’s outer part is then bulked up with a series of ribs.

They measure a lengthy 137mm including the single collar and provide 125mm of usable space. They come in either 30 or 32mm diameters to suit bigger- or smaller-handed riders.

Despite their single inner collar, the House grips still promise maximum retention thanks to a taper-lock core. This clever design uses an internal sleeve that narrows towards the end of the grip, increasing the length held against the bar. Long, stylish and great in mixed conditions, these are an excellent pick for all types of riding.

Key specs – Overall length: 137mm; Usable length: 125mm; Locking collars: Single; Diameter: 30 or 32mm; Other features: Snap-on ring

Buy now from Stif Cycles

3. Renthal Traction MTB Grips: Best for gloveless riders

Price: £27 | Buy now from Chain Reaction Cycles

If you like to ride gloveless or want maximum traction in the rain, these could be the grips for you. Made by motocross legends Renthal, you’ll get approving nods from gnarlier riders, along with all the control you’ll ever need.

Pleasingly low-key looking, the grips feature a soft compound and a broad horizontally ribbed pattern. Locking at either end for maximum security, they’re 130mm in length and feature a relatively short 110mm of usable space.

Coming in several colours and four different compounds, the softest two compounds offer up dependable grip even in the wettest, muddiest conditions.

Key specs – Overall length: 130mm; Usable length: 110mm; Locking collars: Dual; Diameter: 30mm; Other features: N/A

Buy now from Chain Reaction Cycles

4. ODI Ruffian Lock-On Grips: Classic, thin MTB grips

Price: £27.99 | Buy now from Chain Reaction Cycles

These massively popular and long-serving grips from ODI feature a knurled pattern all over. Perhaps a little fast-wearing on account of their thin diameter and soft compound, they still have many fans.

They feature collars on both ends, and while this won’t suit riders who like to hang their paws over the bar’s edge, it does mean there’s practically no chance of them moving. A good choice generally, they’ll calm the nerves of anyone who’s experienced a grip slipping on landing a big jump or whipping through a particularly twisty corner.

Key specs – Overall length: 130mm; Usable length: 120m; Locking collars: Dual; Diameter: 30mm; Other features: N/A

Buy now from Chain Reaction Cycles

5. Oury V2 Slip-On Single Compound MTB Grips: Best MTB grips for plush comfort

Price: £14 | Buy now from Tredz

With strong old-school BMX vibes, these deep and plush-feeling grips from Oury are splendid if you want something really soft and squishy. Although they’re also available with locking collars, we’ve selected these conventional slide-on versions because their lack of a solid inner core offers the greatest comfort.

These updated V2 versions lose both the raised lip on the outside and the inner flange on the classic models, but the incredibly soft rubber and thick ridged design makes them incredibly good at dampening down trail buzz. They’re plenty grippy enough with gloves, but bear in mind that they can get slippery with bare, sweaty hands.

Top tip: If your bars don’t have plugs in them, you can pop a penny down the end of the grip, then chase it with a bit of clear varnish spray or hairspray to lock them to the bar.

Key specs – Overall length: 135mm; Usable length: 135mm; Locking collars: None; Diameter: 33mm; Other features: Slip-on (no locking collars)

Buy now from Tredz

6. Ergon GA2 MTB Grips: Best MTB grips for sore hands

Price: £28 | Buy now from Tredz

Ideal for soothing sore paws, Ergon makes a range of ergonomically shaped grips that offer a possible solution if you suffer from pain in your hands. These GA2 grips are among its MTB-specific models and come with a less pronounced profile than other designs in the range.

Subtly shaped to fit your palm, the GA2s are designed to reduce any discomfort caused by gripping the bars. Made with hardwearing rubber, they’re very comfortable, if a little expensive.

Using a single collar on the inside, they come in both fat or standard diameters: the standard GA2 is 30mm thick, while the GA2 Fat boosts the grip diameter to 33mm.

Key specs – Overall length: 125mm; Usable length: 115mm; Locking collars: Single; Diameter: 30mm; Other features: Variable diameter

Buy now from Tredz

7. Nukeproof Neutron Knurled Lock-On MTB Grips: Best budget MTB grips

Price: £14.99 | Buy now from Chain Reaction Cycles

These grips aren’t dirt cheap, but neither are they excessively expensive. A solid budget option, they get on with the job and come with a classic knurled pattern.

At 142mm long, they provide plenty of space, and their 31mm diameter strikes a happy medium: they’re likely to be a hit with riders looking to balance comfort and control. The soft yet durable Kraton rubber also means that they strike a good balance between squish and longevity.

Employing collars at either end boosts security, so you’re unlikely to find they work loose, while a range of colours will help match them to your bike. Arriving with a set of sturdy push-in end plugs, they make a solid case for saving your pennies for something else.

Key specs – Overall length: 142mm; Usable length: 122mm; Locking collars: Dual; Diameter: 31mm; Other features: Soft A25 Kraton rubber

Buy now from Chain Reaction Cycles

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