If your handle grips are looking a little worse for wear then an upgrade can make a big difference to the feel of your bike.
Our list of best handlebar grips has been compiled by a team of expert testers who have ridden and reviewed the grips that we know are worth your hard-earned cash.
The best mountain bike grips, as rated by expert testers
Gusset S2 (Extra Soft Compound): £18
ODI AG-2: £30 / $35 / AU$55
Renthal Traction UltraTacky: £25 / $33 / AU$55
Deity Knuckleduster: £19 / $22 / AU$40
Race Face Love Handle: £23 / $25 / AU$36
Nukeproof Horizon Race: £20 / $30 / AU$39
Gusset S2 (Extra Soft Compound)
The diamond-cut pattern and raised finger strips keep your hands exactly where you want them. Immediate Media
Your hands drop neatly into place on the S2s, as the Extra Soft rubber sags a little under your weight. The diamond-cut pattern and raised finger strips keep your hands exactly where you want them.
They provide unparalleled damping and lessen wrist-jarring on big impacts. The single lockring means you can easily access the full width of the grip, with support over the whole palm.
However, there’s no escaping how quickly the Extra Soft Compound rubber wears down, with these showing signs of it after testing. But that’s the trade-off for their top-level compliance and feel.
Raised finger slots and large-diameter ends keep your digits in place. Immediate Media
Developed with Aaron Gwin, you’d expect these single-lockring grips to take a thrashing, and they don’t disappoint.
The AG-2s have a very direct feel, transmitting a reassuring amount of feedback through from the bar. Raised finger slots and large-diameter ends keep your digits in place, while the rubber compound used is forgiving enough to damp the buzz from rougher trails.
They’re the priciest on test, though – not a deal-breaker, but not ideal if you tend to wear out grips quickly. The smaller diameter in the thumb area sometimes left us wanting more support for the inside of our palms.
Renthal Traction UltraTacky
The ‘traction ridges’ stop your hands slipping on flat landings. Immediate Media
Renthal’s UltraTacky lock-ons offer so much purchase that even a layer of dust or grime doesn’t affect grip. The ‘traction ridges’ stop your hands slipping on flat landings. Plus, the super-soft rubber compound helps dampen trail chatter and vibration when things get rough.
The large twin lockrings won’t be to everyone’s taste, though. They sit taller than the rest of the grip and, if you’re used to hanging your hands off the end of the bar, you may find the outer ring a little intrusive under the meaty outer edge of your palm, especially on bigger impacts.
The Knuckledusters are new-school grips that combine a single lockring with an internal conical sleeve. Immediate Media
The Knuckledusters are new-school grips that combine a single lockring with an internal conical sleeve, to give a solid hold on the bar while still allowing you to use its full width.
Coupled with the waffle design on the underside, the upper mushroom pattern provides decent comfort. At 32mm in diameter, they’ll suit riders with larger hands.
With each flange of the mushroom pattern standing independently, the grips can feel vague when you start to push harder. This can be fixed by holding on tighter, but doing so often leads to early arm pump.
Race Face Love Handle
These double-lockring grips use a mushroom pattern under the palm for comfort. Immediate Media
These double-lockring grips use a mushroom pattern under the palm for comfort and have a knurled underside that gives plenty of purchase. Flipping them puts the knurled section under your palms for even more feedback through the bar.
One of our first test pair had a lockring drop off, but the problem hasn’t recurred with our second set. These grips are noticeably the slimmest on test, tapering down to 28mm, and give the most feedback through the bar, which won’t suit everyone. They take longer to bed-in than we’d have liked too.
Nukeproof Horizon Race
The outer ring has a metal end cap, which helps to protect the grips from crash damage. Immediate Media
There are lockrings at each end of the Horizon Race grips to hold them in place, secured with 2.5mm Allen bolts. The outer ring has a metal end cap, which helps to protect the grips from crash damage.
While the grips themselves only come in black, the rings are available in a choice of six anodised colours.
With a ring on each end, the grips are very long (143mm), so you may have to move your controls inboard to fit them, making your bar feel narrower. The rubber isn’t particularly forgiving on the hands, with the mushroom sections not providing the cushioning you’d hope for.