After you buy your mountain bike, you can switch out the traditional handlebar grips for grips from a third-party manufacturer. Grips don't just help you stay balanced on your bike -- they also help improve your bike handling and also guard against common injuries like blisters. With dozens of mountain bike grips available, picking the right grip can be frustratingly difficult. Thankfully, trusted third-party mountain bike experts have chosen some of the best-performing grips on the market.
Ergon GX1 Grips
Ergon's grips, designed specifically for cross-country mountain racing bikes, earned the recommendation of "Cycling Plus" magazine for one specific reason: they feature flared ends. This gives your hands a larger platform upon which to hold, thus eliminating the pinching of your hand's ulnar and median nerves to reduce numbness and tingling. Plus, they're made with ultrathin rubber and lightweight aluminum clamps to keep weight down to just 134g a pair -- perfect for people who want to shave speed-reducing weight wherever possible.
Odi Ruffian Lock-On Grips
The grips designed by Odi were named one of "Mountain Bike" magazine's top 25 favorite biking products. They praised its extra-durable lock-on design -- it "practically welds the grip to the bar" -- which will prevent dangerous grip slips on your ride. The magazine concludes that buying these grips is the best money you'll ever spend on your mountain bike.
Scott Lock-On Pro Grip
These are "great grips for trail/all-mountain riding," reports "What Mountain Bike" magazine. The magazine reports that it kept its test grips for a year because they were so impressed with it. Features include ultra-thin yet durable rubber, securing screws that have a more natural fit and feel than most other screws used by other grip companies, and a half-waffle pattern on the rubber that's comfortable enough to use without wearing gloves.
Oury Grips Mountain
These grips come recommended by "Bicycling" magazine, thanks in part to its use of a "deliciously soft compound" that lets you use them without gloves. And if you can't decide between lock-on or traditional grips, these might be your answer. While they're not originally lockable, the manufacturer has added deep grooves in the rubber that lets you use zip ties to secure them to your mountain bike's handlebar.
Superstar Components Supagripa Lock-On Grips
These grips are truly superstars, according to "Mountain Biking UK" magazine, which says they'll work just as good as premium products despite costing less than $10. Features include aluminum locking collars, which help secure it to your mountain bike, plus a multi-design pattern that enhances the gripping feel. And while these alternating patterns make them intended for use with only gloved hands, the magazine states that they'll give you a great hand even in slippery, muddy mountain bike conditions.
- "Mountain Bike"; 25 Perfect Products; Editors of Mountain Bike; June 2010
- "Bicycling"; Gear & Bike: Oury Grips Mountain; Editors of Bicycling; July 2010
- "Cycling Plus"; Review: Ergon GX1 Grips; Dan Joyce; March 2009
- "What Mountain Bike"; review: Scott lock-On Pro Grip 2010; Justin Loretz; November 2009
- "Mountain Biking UK"; Review: Superstar Components Supagripa Lock-On Grips; Ian Collins; January 2010